We have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions and their answers and we hope that they are useful to you. Please feel free to contact us with any of your questions, no matter what as we fully understand that making a claim can be more than a little daunting and confusing.
Since most notably 2005, the Government has put energy supplies under pressure to reduce the amount of energy consumed by homes for heating, with threats of fines if they did not do so. The result was that the energy companies mainly offered free retrofit CWI to households, with the promise that it would reduce household energy bills. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, the energy companies sub-contracted the fitting of the CWI to hundreds of installation companies around the country and, some will say, significantly failed to monitor the quality of the workmanship. The result is that millions of homes across the country now have CWI that should not have been installed at all, had the wrong type installed or had it installed incorrectly. The consequence is that an estimated 3 million or more homes now suffer from a variety of damp, mould, condensation, internal damage and, in the worst cases, structural damage. To put those homes right, the total cost is estimated at £30 billion.
As you will read in our NEWS section, the problem has been raised in government and the press have been asking very difficult questions of it and the energy companies, but neither is doing anything about it. So, those living with the very unpleasant consequences of incorrectly fitted CWI have no alternative but to claim compensation for the wrong that has been done to them to put their homes back into a habitable condition and avoid a significant loss in the value of their homes.
CWI is used to reduce heat loss through a cavity wall by filling the air space (between the inner and outer walls) with material that reduces heat loss. This immobilises the air within the cavity (air is still the actual insulator), preventing convection, and can substantially reduce heating costs.
During construction of new buildings, cavities are often filled with glass fibre wool or rock wool panels placed between the between the inner and outer walls, but many other building insulation materials offer various advantages and many others are also widely used. For existing buildings that were not built with insulated cavities, a fibrous material such as cellulose insulation or glass wool is blown into the cavity through suitably drilled holes until it fills the entire wall space. Foam can also be used for this purpose. Although some foams used in the past, such as urea-formaldehyde, are no longer used (some people are allergic to this material, which is very difficult to remove once inside the wall), others, such as polyurethane, have taken their place.
CWI also helps to prevent convection and can keep a house warm by making sure that less heat is lost through walls; this can therefore be a more cost-efficient way of heating your home if installed correctly.
In many cases, it is very obvious if your home has been damaged by CWI. If your home is regularly exposed to heavy driving rain, such as in west coast area of the country, damage can appear within several months of the installation, although it can take several years or longer.
If your home never had any of the following problems before CWI was installed, but they appeared afterwards, there is a very good possibility that the damage has been caused by it:
• Damp patches and smell of damp
• Mould growth
• Rotten woodwork
• Damaged brickwork
• Damaged interior walls and ceiling
• Damaged decoration
• Damaged fixtures and fittings
After we attend at your home to undertake our free survey, we will be in a much better position to advise you whether some or all the problems have been caused by the CWI.
Not all claims are the same, so we or the solicitor who acts for you will explain exactly what you can or might be able to claim for at the start of the claim process and as it develops. That said, we can tell you that claims usually include the following:
• The cost of removal of the CWI
• The cost of replacement CWI
• Repairs such as plastering of walls and ceilings
• Redecoration of the interior
• Damaged fixtures and fittings
• Financial losses such as increased home heating and accommodation costs
• Inconvenience for the distress of having to live with the problems
• Personal injuries if it can be proven that the incorrect CWI has caused injuries such as respiratory problems
CIGA is the country’s main provider of guarantees for CWI and the guarantee covers defects in materials or workmanship for a period of 25 years from the date of installation. There are other companies that provide guarantees for CWI and they all largely provide the same type of guarantee.
If you make a claim through CIGA or one of the other guarantee providers and it is accepted, the maximum claim value can be no more than £20,000, but sometimes a lot less.
Unlike a claim made directly to the installer of the CWI, a guarantee claim will not pay all the compensation for the cost of repairs to your home caused by the CWI and other potential claims such as inconvenience, financial losses and personal injuries.
Not all claims will follow the same process as they are not all the same but, generally, most progress at follows:
Step 1. We obtain basic information from you about your potential claim.
Step 2. We arrange a free inspection of your home to assess whether CWI was incorrectly installed.
Step 3. If it was, a survey will then be completed to identify how the CWI was incorrectly fitted, what damage it has caused or could cause and what is needed to put your home right again.
Step 4. We will assess your claim and pass it to one of our panel solicitors to act for you if your installer is still in business or if its insurer is known to us if it is not.
Step 5. The solicitor will present your claim to the installer and invite them to settle your claim.
Step 6. If a settlement is not agreed, your solicitor will commence legal proceedings to obtain your compensation.
If your installer is not still in business and if its insurers cannot be located, we will offer you our services to make a guarantee claim on your behalf.
A relatively simple and uncontested claim might take as little as 4 months to settle, but more complicated and contested claims should hopefully take no longer than 18 months.
Yes, that’s not a problem, but some simple steps will have to be taken by you. The most important document that you should have and what we will need is your Guarantee Certificate. Its main significance is that it will name the company that installed your CWI. Knowing the name of the installer is vital as our primary aim is for you to make a claim against the installer to ensure your get all the compensation that you are entitled to.
After the CWI was installed, you should have been given a Guarantee Certificate for safe keeping. If you purchased your home after the CWI was installed, you should have been given the guarantee as part of the legal process of buying it. The solicitor who acted for you might have it or the former owner might have kept it by mistake.
If you cannot locate the original guarantee, you will need to obtain a duplicate. There are 9 providers of guarantees for the installation of CWI. If you do not know the name of the guarantee company, your first port of call will be to contact CIGA as it provided the majority of certificates for CWI installations and enquire if it provided the guarantee for your home. You can contact CIGA on 01525 853300 or email email@example.com. They will charge you £25 for a duplicate certificate.
If CIGA did not provide the guarantee, you will need to contact each of the other guarantee companies until you find the one that did provide it to then obtain a copy. CLICK HERE to find a list of all the other guarantee companies.
To ensure you get the full amount of compensation for everything that the incorrect or incorrectly installed CWI has caused, our primary aim is for you to make a claim against the installer of the CWI with one of our solicitors acting for you. Unfortunately, not all claims against installers will be possible as some of them have gone out of business and it will not be possible to trace the insurance company that insured them for the sub-standard work they did. If a claim against the installer and its insurer is not possible, you should have the benefit of an insurance backed guarantee that can be claimed upon in a way that is similar to a household insurance claim. Unfortunately, the guarantees can have some very significant limitations, which means you may not be able to claim for all of the damage caused to your home, other financial losses or personal injuries. Also, the maximum claim value is no more than £20,000 and might be considerably less. Often, insurers of the installers and also the guarantee companies refuse to acknowledge that the CWI is the cause of the problems in your home. They insist that the dampness and other problems are due to construction faults in your home (even though these should have been identified prior to installation) or to “lifestyle condensation” caused by the occupants (even though condensation had not been a problem prior to the CWI). The arguments raised by the insurers and guarantee companies should not put you off making a claim, but you do need to be prepared for a possible fight and ensure you have the right legal team representing you.
A claim is submitted directly to the company that provided the guarantee, such as CIGA. The guarantee company will investigate your claim by appointing one of its own surveyors to inspect your home and the surveyor will decide if you have a claim under the guarantee. Unfortunately, a guarantee claim is by no means a forgone conclusion in your favour as the current estimate is that only 55% of claims are successful and, if your claim is rejected, you cannot take it to court to try and get a different decision. Instead, you will have to go through a complicated arbitration procedure. Although you can make your own guarantee claim, we at Easy Cavity Claims, using our in-house legal knowledge and expertise, will act for you throughout the entire claim process and instruct our own independent surveyors to fight your claim for you to ensure you stand the best possible chance of a successful claim.
All claims, whether against the CWI installer or the guarantee company are dealt with on a No win, no fee basis. So, if your claim is not successful, it will cost you nothing at all with a genuine claim and we 100% guarantee this to you. When one of our panel of solicitors acts for you and only when your claim is successful, they will charge you the equivalent of 25% of the compensation that is awarded to you and, if they obtain one for you, the cost of an insurance policy to cover the cost of the expenses the solicitor pays on your behalf, such as for experts and court fees if your claim is not successful. Neither the 25% nor the cost of the insurance policy can be recovered from the CWI installer when a claim is successful under the current court rules, so all solicitors charge their clients for them when a claim is successful. If we act for you in a guarantee claim, it is not possible to claim our charges from the guarantee company as part of a successful claim, so we will only charge you the equivalent of 25% of the compensation that is awarded to you and that includes the cost of experts or other expenses we pay for you.
We will pay you £25 as soon as one of our panel of solicitors agrees to act for you.