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Raw Deal: We help homeowner untangle dispute over draft-proofing

© SYSTEMGavin McKiddie.
Gavin McKiddie.

Gavin McKiddie was initially delighted to be offered free home insulation via a government scheme.

His house in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, was built in 1904 and he felt more draft-proofing would be a good idea.

“In 2010 my wife and I both reached our 70th birthday and were notified that we then qualified to have the insulation upgraded free of charge,” said McKiddie. “A contractor came to survey our house.

“The outcome was an offer to upgrade the thickness of the insulation in our attic and the installation of cavity wall insulation to our upstairs brick walls. The work was done in May of that year and the cavity wall insulation carried with it a 25-year guarantee.”

However, in 2020 damp patches appeared on the gable wall inside their stairwell. “We had never experienced dampness in 52 years in the house,” said the homeowner.

“We brought in a contractor who concluded that the dampness had its origins with the installation of the cavity wall insulation.”

When McKiddie tried to contact the original installers to activate his guarantee he discovered they had been taken over by another company – and because of the pandemic it was another nine months before an inspection could take place. “The eventual result of that inspection was that I was told that the installers were not responsible for the issue.”

The insulation has been installed in millions of homes by successive government-backed initiatives, in some cases leading to damp, mould and condensation in properties that weren’t suitable for the work.

“To this day, I still don’t know if it is the UK or Scottish Government who has the overall responsibility for some of these schemes,” said McKiddie. “I wrote to my MP and he couldn’t ascertain this either. In order to rectify the dampness I was looking at having to employ a contractor to remove the insulation and thereafter redecorate the internal stair wall with an estimated cost of approximately £2,000.”

McKiddie’s next step was to contact the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA). A surveyor duly inspected the property but by January this year, McKiddie felt that matters had come to a standstill.

After Raw Deal contacted CIGA, an inspection was carried out and an agreement reached that the property would be remediated.

CIGA said: “Our team are liaising with the contractor and we will continue to communicate with Mr McKiddie in line with our customer services process.”

Work is due to take place next month. McKiddie added: “The previous insulation work should never have been done on my house in the first place as it wasn’t necessary. We just want to see an end to this issue as it has been going on for far too long.”