A surveyors’ trade body claims as many as 250,000 homes could find themselves impossible to sell or secure a mortgage on because of an emerging crisis over insulation.
The Residential Property Surveyors’ Association has issued guidance for its members to recommend the removal of spray foam insulation at every property they visit.
In a statement with the Property Care Association, the RPSA says: “There may be as many as 250,000 homes with spray foam insulation in the loft, and the guidance being offered to their members is to adopt a highly cautious approach, recommending removal of the spray foam in almost every case.”
Sprayed polyurethane expanding foams are used in the lofts of houses, either to stabilise a failing roof covering, or to provide extra insulation.
However, the investigation by the RPSA and PCA failed to identify any likely circumstances where the roof structure could contain this material and still be given a clean bill of health.
RPSA chairman Alan Milstein warns: “Unless extremely detailed information about the exact nature of the materials used, the condition of the roof covering and structure prior to the installation, and sophisticated studies of the movement of air and moisture within the living and roof areas of the house are all available at the time of the inspection by the surveyor, it is impossible to recommend anything other than immediate removal of the spray foam. And in our experience, this type of information is rarely, if ever, available.”
Milstein continues: “Despite wanting to identify those circumstances where surveyors could give a roof a clean bill of health where spray foam is present, our research concluded that the majority of spray foam installations have been carried out with insufficient preparation to reduce the risk of structural roof timbers being severely weakened by rot and other defects.
“Installers often prey on vulnerable homeowners, and point to certification and ‘quality’ badges to convince people that spray foam will benefit their property. Sadly, the exact opposite is the case. Owners may find their property difficult, or impossible to sell, may find that lenders will not offer mortgages or equity release funds and, risk having to spend £000’s replacing their entire roof covering.”