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Trade body retracts 'unfair' insulation sales warning

A surveyors’ trade body has retracted guidance that previously claimed homes with spray foam loft insulation could be impossible to sell.

The Residential Property Surveyors’ Association (RSPA) sparked controversy among valuers, spray foam installers and surveyors last year after it 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 in December 2021, the RPSA said: “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.”


The groups claimed that many of the spray foam installations are mis-sold, poorly executed and without proper consideration of moisture management within the property, leaving structural roof timbers at risk of damage or failure.

Since then, a group of industry stakeholders have been working to provide clarity to homeowners with spray foam insulation who may be concerned about selling or raising finance on their home.

The group, supported by the Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA), includes spray foam manufacturers and installers, surveyors, valuers, lenders, heritage organisations and academics, is collaborating to standardise installation procedures and develop inspection protocols

The hope is that this will help surveyors and lenders accurately assess the risk that could be caused to a roof due to poorly installed or inappropriate use of spray foam.

With energy costs rising,  spray foam manufacturer Huntsman Building Solutions has said this method can help people insulate their homes more efficiency.

It claims that spray foam has received an unfair representation by surveyors and others.

Elizabeth Lalli-Reese, global vice president of Huntsman Building Solutions, said: “We believe that the guidance issued by the RPSA in December 2021 was factually inaccurate creating unwarranted concern amongst homeowners and lenders and call for it to be retracted.

“Spray foam is a proven technology to making our homes more efficient and is a practical, sensible and safe option for homeowners.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with stakeholders throughout the industry to develop the new standards and protocols that will give all parties, including surveyors and lenders, the knowledge and confidence to accurately assess the quality of an installation.”

Responding to the calls, Alan Milstein, chair of the RSPA, said: “We recognise the concerns raised by Huntsman and are encouraged by the positive way in which all parties have approached this initiative.  We have agreed to retract our current guidance pending a full review.

“Our ambition is that we can republish it, based on the outcomes from the industry group, by Spring 2023 and provide our members with the detailed knowledge necessary to risk assess any spray foam installation.

“We know there are both good and bad installations but until now there has been no documented way to accurately differentiate one from another.”

  • David Bennett

    The photo used by EAT is misleading, as it is not of the dreaded spray foam. We all know that spray foam is used between the roof rafters and missold to unsuspecting home owners as roof insulation, that will reduce the heat loss from the property, purporting to reduce the heating bill. Rubbish! To insulate the loft effectively, insulation should be laid on the floor of the loft, to reduce heat loss from the room/s below. Why heat the loft? The problem with spray foam is that it is usually installed badly and cuts off any air circulation, potentially promoting condensation and ultimately, timber rot. However, each case on it's merits. Rockwool type insulation, laid on the loft floor, is far more effective and much cheaper. As an EPC provider, the best roofs I inspect, have insulation on the floor and a gale above, keeping the roof structure ventilated and dry! The spray foam industry needs to be regulated, to get rid if the cowboys.


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