05 October 2020

Be reassured with RETROFITcheck

Back in 2017 PAS:2030 underwent a substantial overhaul, meaning that all cavity wall installations required an independent check of pre-installation building inspection (PIBI). It stipulated that 100% of installations must have a pre-check with at least 1 in 10 properties physically inspected to ensure they were suitable for cavity wall insulation.

The initial reaction from the supply chain, was somewhat understandably negative. Why do we need this? I can’t wait that long between the survey and the installation. It’s just another piece of unneeded bureaucracy!

However, despite such initial reticence, the process has actually been hugely beneficial preventing costly errors and helping to avoid, let’s just say a few catastrophes along the way. In particular, it has allowed many remedials such as leaking gutters or cracked mortar joints (a number of these not picked up by the original survey) to be undertaken prior to the installation, thus rectifying issues that could have either done damage to the property or had unintended consequences in later years.

We know that the overall failure rate against one Technical Monitoring Question in particular, covering property suitability to receive the measure dropped from 3% to 0.5% after the introduction of CAVcheck and similar schemes.

Thankfully, now the pre-check process is a much-accepted part of the installation cycle and is valued by those installers who are committed to delivering quality. Why? Because they know it works. It’s also valued by System Designers who want to help protect their brand and by warranty providers who seek reassurance that planned works are suitable for the property in question.

Managing the Transition from PAS 2030:2017 to PAS2030:2019

So what’s next?

Building upon the success of PAS 2030:2017, PAS2030:2019 introduces the same requirement for other energy efficiency measures including Internal Wall Insulation (IWI), Room-in-Roof-Insulation (RIRI), Park Home Insulation and Hybrid Wall Insulation.

The PIBI requirements are now more detailed for these more complex fabric measures and with a requirement under PAS2030:2019 to also upgrade ventilation where it is deemed to be inadequate, an additional layer of considerations have been introduced.

Importantly though, this critical ‘check-point’ provides a real opportunity in the process to step back, take a breath and review the terrain before moving forward.

An opportunity that allows you to:

  • Prevent costly errors before they happen;
  • Have a well-qualified independent person review your plan
  • Avoid future Technical Monitoring fails
  • Help create a smoother customer journey with less disruptive (and costly) re-visits
  • Demonstrate compliance with PAS 2030:2019

Why stop there?

In the summer of 2020 THS introduced UFIcheck which has proved to be hugely popular. Interestingly there is no mandatory requirement for this service, just a recognition that the pre-check process works as a risk reduction tool. Some System Designers, such as Wetherby, have mandated this assurance step and to date we have prevented over 200 Technical Monitoring fails for their customers, by picking up errors or identifying remedial works before the installations went ahead.

Very soon we’ll be enhancing our UFIcheck service further with an easy to use app and an image depositry for both mid and post-install photographs to provide a full measure compliance pack which will help to avoid timely and costly challenges and appeals.

A measure that has suffered from a lack of clear guidance, training provision and understanding should now be clearer with the introduction of the BEIS sponsored Guide to Best Practice for Underfloor Insulation. However, THS also introduces further demands. We have summarised a selection of these new considerations below:

  • Timber Moisture Content of joists should not exceed 20%. Where this is higher, the installation should not proceed as it can lead to additional stress on the timbers and may accelerate decay.
  • Damaged floorboards with significant cracks, splits and missing fixings may need to be replaced or fixed as part of the installation.
  • When treating less than 5” joists by wrapping the joist itself, all service penetrations and the skirting should be appropriately sealed to both the wall and the floor with air tightness tape, extruded draughtproofing, flexible sealant or other appropriate means
  • Avoid installing in properties without a DPC, which most system designers are prohibiting
  • Avoiding bridging of the DPC by the insulation layer unless this is to be protected by a vertically applied DPC layer to prevent bridging of the existing horizontal layer.
  • Assessment of joist ends built into structural walls and associated remedial works to be undertaken where necessary
  • Consideration of the junction at plinth level between the floor and any existing or future planned wall insulation to ensure continuity of insulation and avoid thermal bridging at that point
  • Consideration of whether the property is in a High-Risk area for Radon

UFIcheck has been designed to incorporate these considerations and assist with planning a successful installation.

Help is at hand with RETROFITcheck

Our new RETROFITcheck platform encompasses all of the measures previously listed and LOFTcheck and EWIcheck are in the final stages of development.

With new compliance requirements comes the need for new thinking, support, direction and an overall simpler way of doing things.  Because of this, we have spent time developing our tried and tested, user-friendly RETROFITcheck platform to guide you through the process and help you every step of the way. Its not just about pre-check services either. We will be adding to the service provision over time to include Technical Bulletins to flag new requirements or emerging failure trends as well as incorporating our top tips for a successful install.

At THS, with our deep-rooted industry expertise and supportive team, we pride ourselves on helping our clients not just to be sure about assurance – but to be certain. We’re more than just a tick in the box.

For more information about RETROFITcheck or any of our services at THS, you can contact retrofitcheck@thsinspections.co.uk or check out the dedicated pages on our website.

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