I undertook a Level 2 Home Survey inspection of a 1980-5 built detached bungalow, being sold by the daughter of an older person who had been moved to a care home. The daughter only became aware of this work when sorting through his papers, which revealed the receipted invoice, and an installer’s uninsured warranty. During the premarketing process several estate agents warned her that this could have an impact upon saleability and sale price, and she decided to obtain an estimate for its removal. She appointed a well established removal contractor from the Manchester area.
The rough costs were:
Original foam application £2500.
Removal using a pressurised “dry ice” process £3500.
Increasing the depth of the existing quilt insulation to current standards £1500.
My inspection noted:
The original contractors had not protected the galvanised steel gang plates prior to spray application.
The original application had been part sprayed over a metal flue pipe connected to a traditional gas fire.
Despite remedial treatment, there remained residual foam particularly in more difficult to reach areas,
There was sporadic damage to the bitumen felt underlining, which had been “repaired” with duct tape or similar. It was not possible to say whether some or all of that damage predated the foam spray application.
Protimeter readings to reasonably accessible roof timbers were 14.5% or less.
AND of greatest significance to the future performance of the roof – the foam removal process had rendered the foam to stringy almost woolly particles which were blocking the eaves ventilation insect mesh, and had not been cleaned therefore impeding natural ventilation of a cold roof.
My client decided not to purchase. I did report the issue to Trading Standards, but as far as I am aware little or nothing was done about it.
I strongly recommend that you promote the RICS Consumer Guide on Sprayed Insulation Foam to your clients, presented to ISVA 2023 Conference by Sam Piplica of RICS, and the inspection protocols of the Property Care Association also promoted in my opening presentation at the same conference. I can provide PDF copies of those documents for you if you email me separately at firstname.lastname@example.org
As this method of roof insulation can be part funded by a Government Grant, advertising and cold calling is rife at the moment. The problem is that much of this sprayed foam insulation is manufactured in the UK but under license from a large U S corporation with very deep pockets and expensive lawyers, so you need to be careful how you report to clients on this issue, hence the referral to the RICS Consumer Guide in particular.
Thank you for using the ISVA members forum. By exchanging ideas and experiences we can improve our shared technical knowledge, improve outcomes for our clients, and help mitigate potential client complaints and PII claims. The forum is a resource worth using.
ISVA Council Member.