An OFT report on the £700 million UK home insulation market, issued in August in the run up to the launch of the Green Deal in October, has been welcomed by multifoil insulation company Actis.
The report, which saw the OFT work with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, recommends the government and industry adopt a range of measures to ensure the best deals for householders, encourage innovation and promote fairness within the sector.
Recommendations include urging the Government to ensure a single body has clear responsibility for longer-term monitoring of the quality of installations carried out under the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation initiatives.
The OFT also recommends that product certification bodies improve their certification processes. And, to ensure greater consumer choicer and more innovation within the industry, it encourages architects, building control officers and other building project commissioners to be more open to specifying products from more than one UK product certification body.
Actis UK and Ireland director Matthew King welcomed the report, which reinforces his companys own repeated calls for building control approval both of its thin multifoil products and its in situ testing methodology.
The OFT says it wants the certification process to be speeded up and is encouraging specifiers to be open minded in their choice of products. While many swear by multifoil insulation as a viable, cost effective and often only practical alternative to bulk insulation, some are more nervous about going against the more conventional laboratory testing.
In many cases, as has been highlighted by the OFTs findings, householders are provided with a product which is not suitable for their particular needs simply because it ticks the accreditation boxes and not because it is the best option. If the government and industry agree to the OFTs recommendations this opens up a fairer and wider choice for the householder and also paves the way for more innovation in the insulation market.
Actis latest product, a 35mm multifoil, Triso-Super 10+, has been certified by BM TRADA, whose certification scheme has, in turn, been accredited by UKAS, to be equivalent to 210mm of bulk insulation in roofs. It is tested under real life conditions rather than in a lab to ensure its predicted and actual performance are the same.
The new guidance may give many specifiers and architects the confidence to use our product when the market expands with the arrival of the Green Deal. For solid walled and period properties bulk insulation is simply not an option and for those wanting to use their loft as living space multifoil hardly impinges at all on headroom. Its also quicker to install, thus reducing labour costs and includes a vapour control layer, he added.
When used as part of a system, TS10+ reduces thermal bridging, and improves the air tightness of the envelope, partly because it is installed as a continuous layer and does not need to be cut to fit around structural elements, such as the timber stud and rafters.
One building control officer who is already a fan of Actis products says he hopes the OFT report will encourage fellow professionals to follow his lead.
Daniel Sowerby, a building control officer with Allerdale Council in Cumbria is building his own house and insulating it with Actis.
It doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that Actis works, he explained. The test cant be any more simple or transparent, as highlighted by TRADA and UKAS. Even now that the testing methodology for TS10+ has been UKAS accredited its still not accepted by some building control bodies. I find this hard to comprehend.
I love the product. Ill still stand by my beliefs and shout it from the hilltops. I am still fighting to get it accepted.
Matthew King added: The OFT reports gives some very clear and well thought out recommendations. Its now key that the government puts these into action as swiftly as possible.