Who can check cavity wall insulation?

A cavity wall insulation surveyor is a professional who carries out non-intrusive inspections of properties with cavity walls to help homeowners resolve problems like dampness and mould. They assess many factors such as saturation of insulation, slumping and bridging for moisture between the external and internal wall skins. Their detailed surveys and reports give unbiased recommendations on how to correct the issues. In cases where something has gone wrong with the installation, they also help with compensation claims for failed insulation.

Whether your property has traditional solid brick walls or cavity wall insulation surveyor wall construction, it is worth considering installing insulation to reduce energy bills. Local government initiatives and grants are helping homeowners make the most of this opportunity. However, a survey is essential to ensure the quality of the work and avoid the potential issues associated with poor installation.

As an independent chartered building surveyor, I regularly inspect properties that have had cavity wall insulation installed. The majority of these properties were built since the 1930s and have a cavity between the outer and inner walls. Cavity wall insulation is installed by drilling small holes and pumping in the insulation. Unfortunately, this work is not always carried out to a high standard and poor workmanship can lead to a number of issues, including bridging for moisture between the walls, penetrating damp, condensation and mould growth.

Cavity insulation has been a popular way to stop heat from escaping buildings constructed since the 1930s, and in the UK is now compulsory for new builds. However, it can cause a number of problems for homeowners, including penetrating damp and mould. The key to preventing these issues is ensuring the installation is carried out by an experienced contractor and is done so correctly. A professional can identify the signs of poor work and can provide solutions to rectify these issues before they become a major problem.

Surveyors evaluate many aspects of insulation during the inspection process, including: wall condition, moisture levels, thermal performance, compliance with regulations and pest infestation risks. They also consider the presence of vents, boiler flues, driveway levels and oblique chimney breasts and suggest ways to prevent these problems from occurring in future.

A common issue is the penetration of moisture into the internal walls through gaps, caused by poor or damaged mortar and brickwork, which can then lead to a variety of damp-related problems, including penetrating damp and condensation. If this evidence is spotted during an inspection, it can be investigated further by a damp specialist.

Another important aspect to consider is the condition of the cavity wall ties, which are used to hold the two wall skins together when cavity wall construction is utilised. The ties are made of steel and are at risk of corroding and becoming damp due to the conditions they are exposed to, as well as from being filled with insulation, which can affect their structural integrity. In addition, if the ties are not fitted properly, they can be crushed by the insulation, leading to a loss of their ability to hold the two wall skins together.