Different Types of Houses

Linked semi-detached:A linked semi-detached property are houses that share no common walls, but typically liked together by a garage.

Detached:A detached house is classed as a single family home, also called a single-detached dwelling. Detached houses stand alone.

Semi-detached:A semi-detached house is a single family dwelling house, which shares one common wall. Semi-detached houses are usually like a mirror image.

Bungalow:A bungalow is a type of building that only has one story; some bungalows are accommodated with extra rooms in the loft space.

Terraced:Terraced houses are houses built in a row and share sides walls also looked mirrored. In some areas there known as row houses or linked houses.

Town house:A town house is a tall narrow terraced house, which usually has 3 or more floors.

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Types of Wall Cavity Insulation

Rockwool cavity wall insulation:Rockwool insulation is the most common insulation used for domestic type properties. This insulation generates heat and is spun to produce a fibre material. Rockwool insulation is blown into the cavity, filing the gaps between outer walls of the building completely. This insulation does absorb waterso it is essential an active damp course is in place, the damp course is not bridged and brick face and mortar are sound with no damage. It can be used brick to brick or concrete block to brick as long as the cavity width is 50mm or more.

Polystyrene bead cavity wall insulation: Polystyrene beads are also used as cavity wall insulation; these are pumped into the wall mixed with an adhesive which will then bond the beads together to prevent them from spilling out the wall. This type of insulation is also used in narrow cavities. Polystyrene beads can allow any damp to move down the beads and be released so as not to soak and hold damp and transfer moisture into the property.

Foam cavity wall insulation: Expanding foam is used as cavity wall insulation; it requires holes drilled into the mortar joints of the brick wall as small as 8mm. Foam insulation is ideal for engineering bricks as larger holes would damage these types of brick due to larger holes being made for other types of insulation. Polystyrene beads are thought to be the best material followed by Rockwool.

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WALL TIES

Cavity wall ties are used to tie internal and external walls together for strength, the walls are constructed of brick and concrete blocks. Wall ties are placed in the cavity wall during construction. The end of the wall ties are designed to lock into the cement.

Wall ties which are metal components are unseen in all cavity walls, they are crucial to the stability and structure of the cavity wall. Additional wall ties are used around the window and door openings.

Partial insulation systems require specialised wall ties or clips to keep the insulation in position. The wrong installation may lead to water damage or damp forming within the cavity wall which could then lead to structural damage and health hazards.

Over time, cavity wall ties mayhave deteriorated due to moisture within the brickwork and insulation, with this happening it can result in walls becoming bowed or collapsing or the structure of the house reshaping. Any cracks appearing in the cavity walls will need to be investigated before severe damage is caused.

If you think you have problems with your wall cavity insulation, blocked or siliconed off air bricks, condensation, damp, cold spots or any other issues, and you’ve had wall cavity insulation installed in the last 15 years, give us a call today and see if we can help.

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LANDLORDS AND CAVITY WALL INSULATION PROBLEMS

Many private and social landlords have experienced an increase in the number of tenants complaining about damp and mould in their homes. With many cases making local headlines it is an issue that landlords need to address. As a landlord you have a legal obligation to your tenant, and if a tenant suffers ill health or discomfort or loss due to damp, you could face a compensation claim from your client and their solicitor. Over the past years, landlords may have been sued for housing disrepair when the ultimate liability could be down to the cavity wall insulation which was not linked at that time.

We offer a tailored solution for landlords of all sizes to help put their properties right and tenants happy.

The insulation boom

The cause of many of these damp issues appears to be a failure in Wall Cavity Insulation (Cavity Wall Insulation); much of it installed through grant funded programmes. Schemes such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) which ran from 2008 -2012 and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) launched in 2013, led to a huge increase in properties being insulated, most fitted free of charge. Subsequent failures in the insulation have led to a suspicion that many of the installation firms were more interested in installing quantity rather than quality. We have heard stories of poorly trained employees attending properties, drilling a hole and ‘filling’ the cavity with absolutely no experience and no supervision or checking taking place afterwards, and the installation being done on the back of a pre-survey which was carried out by a door-to-door salesman, often students and untrained individuals who have little or no industry knowledge or qualifications.

Failure of cavity wall insulation

There were tens of thousands of properties that should never have been fitted with cavity wall insulation in the first place, which could now be at threat from damp and mould. Some had pre-existing damage to the exterior walls such as damaged bricks or pointing or visible cracks in the wall that allowed damp to affect the insulation, while other properties had compromised damp proof courses which could be directing moisture into the insulant rather than out of the house, and some properties had no active damp course at all.

Our surveyors have also identified partially clad properties that had gaps in the insulation which caused cold spots on interior walls. There were even properties installed of non-standard construction methods, such as concrete slab and steel frame, which were never designed for CWI.A lot of properties our surveyors have inspected have absolutely minimum amounts of insulation installed which is a recipe for trouble.

The BBA issued guidelines for pre-checks and qualifying properties, but it seems many contractors flouted these checks and went ahead with installation purely for the financial benefit and knowing the checking of such was very rare if at all.

Most serious of all is that the health of the people living in these damp homes could be affected. If you or a family member has had signs of respiratory disorders like asthma since the insulation was fitted, this could be a direct result and your claim could encompass a provision for personal injury.

Support for landlords

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If you believe your tenanted property has a problem with damp of any kind, and have had cavity wall insulation fitted in your properties, fill in the contact form and let us know.

Free survey inspection of your property portfolio from a GDA / DEA qualified and experienced surveyor as well as a dedicated claims handler who understands the whole process and manages your review process and keeps you updated in real time.

There’s no fee to you for the surveyors’ inspection and report; there’s no fee from us for our service, and your specialist solicitor works on a No Win No Fee service, so you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain.

We manage all aspects of the review and reporting and recommend one of our specialist panel solicitors, leaving you free to manage your properties.

Successful claims could result in substantial compensation allowing you to put your properties right.

Call us FREE PHONE 0800-8-654321 to enquire about your free surveyor inspection

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WHAT IS WALL CAVITY INSULATION?

If your house was built after the 1920s, it is likely to have cavity walls. Older houses are more likely to have solid walls. If your home was built in the last 10 years, it was probably built with insulation installed at the time.

If you can see the brickwork on the outside of the house, look at the pattern of the bricks. If your home has cavity walls, the bricks will usually have a regular pattern like this:

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If your home has solid walls, the bricks will have an alternating pattern like this:

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If the brickwork has been covered by render, you can also tell by measuring the width of the wall.  Examine a window or door on one of your external walls. If a brick wall is more than 3000mm thick, (from the outer wall to inner wall) then it probably has a cavity; a narrower wall is probably solid. Stone walls may be thicker still but are usually solid.

If your house is a steel-frame or timber-framed building, or is made from pre-fabricated concrete, different rules apply for insulation and this should be surveyed by a specialist before and if any insulation is fitted.

Modern technology tells us that up to 40% of our home energy heat can be lost through a cavity wall if not insulated. A Government backed scheme aimed to help fill these cavities with insulation and keep our homes warmer while reducing the amount of energy needed to warm our homes, and have a better impact on energy saving.

The product itself is really good, if the property is suitable and the installer has done proper pre-checks and installation, the difference can be outstanding. Millions of homes had the cavity wall insulation installed and it is estimated up to 3 million homes may be at risk of serious damp issues or even structural issues and health risks where the installation was not carried out to the agreed specifications.

If a cavity is not filled 100% compact, void areas can gather moisture and lead to damp. Where a cavity is not fully clean and cleared of debris, this can bridge the gap and again introduce moisture and cause damp. The lack of ‘brushing off’ a cavity that joins a neighbour’s property means insulation may seep out into the next door cavity and lead to voids in your walls, or cross contaminate if different materials are used. An active damp course should be in place to keep the damp to ground level and not reach the cavity wall insulation as this can soak and travel up the walls causing damp. There are many other reasons why incorrect installation can cause damp and other problems.

Those who installed the cavity wall insulation should have carried out a pre-survey assessment to ensure the property itself was suitable for cavity wall insulation and subsequently assessed that there were no hazards present that could cause failure and problems of the cavity wall insulation later down the line.

The good news is that most cavity wall insulation firms had to register the installation with CIGA – Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, which then offered a 25-year guarantee for the insulation.

The bad news is that it can cost a considerable amount of time, money and work to rectify a bad installation.
Wall Cavity Claims is a legal services company who offer a free survey to assess your cavity wall insulation and ensure it was installed correctly, and if not, we have access to specialist panel solicitors who work  No Win No Fee. 

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