Industry leaders from the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) and the Property Care Association (PCA) are calling for urgent regulation of the spray foam insulation industry as lenders tighten restrictions leaving as many as 250,000 homes “unmortgageable”.
Sprayed polyurethane (PU) expanding foams are used in the lofts of houses, either to stabilise a failing roof covering, or to provide extra insulation. But a tightening of lending criteria has left thousands of homeowners unable to sell their properties as buyers get refused loans where spray foam is present in the loft.
RPSA Chairman, Alan Milstein said: “This has become a significant problem recently. Many of the installations we see are poorly executed and without proper consideration of moisture management within the property, leaving structural roof timbers at risk of damage or failure. And there are regular reports of mis-selling, and cold-calling of vulnerable homeowners, especially the elderly. Currently there is no regulation of installers and almost any cowboy salesman can get hold of the chemicals and the equipment to spray foam into the homes of unsuspecting ‘at risk’ owners. This has to stop and proper regulation of the industry is urgently needed. We believe that this is the only way to resolve the current lending impasse.”
Steve Hodgson, CEO of PCA said: “in the coming years we have a huge task to retrofit energy efficiency measures into more than 25 million homes. We need to be sure that any installations are carried out properly and professionally, and only after careful consideration of their impact on a ‘whole-house’ basis. The improper use of spray foam insulation can have devastating consequences or end up costing £000’s for little benefit. So it’s vital that the spray foam industry is properly regulated and managed”.
Milstein went on to say: “we have already started to engage with those in the spray foam industry to help facilitate a regulatory framework. And so our challenge to them is to come forwards and work with us to regulate as soon as possible. That means mandatory training and qualification of installers, effective audit and review procedures, and a strict non-supply policy by manufacturers to any installer who is not properly accredited.”
“And to support that we will work with the lending community to design inspection protocols that will give lenders the confidence to provide an advance for a home with a properly managed spray foam installation.”
“Especially now in the midst of a tightening economic climate we cannot continue to see home owners placed in such financial distress, often having to find £000’s to remove insulation that they paid £000’s to install, simply to sell their home. Regulation is needed, and it is needed now.”