Blackpool to launch insulation guidance

In an effort to preserve the character of the Victorian and Edwardian terraces in the area and ensure high quality work, Blackpool Council has created a contractors’ code of conduct for solid wall insulation (SWI). Contractors who agree to the code will be added to a list of approved SWI installers.

In August, the Department for Energy and Climate Change said that 54,000 UK homes had been fitted with external wall insulation since the beginning of 2013 under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. However, Victorian Society director Chris Costelloe told the Architects Journal earlier this month that external wall insulation can cause “largely irreversible” visual damage to Victorian and Edwardian buildings and urged local authorities to consider negative impacts of insulation projects.

The documents developed by Blackpool Council are for contractors working on private properties and are a response to common problems identified in a number of recent SWI projects across Lancashire, such as poor workmanship, consistency of quality and finish, and effects on fabric of solid wall buildings. It highlighted the need to develop a workable and effective way of limiting ad-hoc, poor quality and inappropriate retrofits.

“We had two main concerns: to make sure SWI was fit for purpose so it helps to reduce fuel bills, and preserving the heritage value of the building and the street scene,” said Maggie Hayes Project Officer (Energy Efficiency) - Housing Strategy at Blackpool Council.

The Decision Making Protocol is structured around a series of decision routes that design teams can take to reach appropriate decisions for retrofit projects. It allows them to make decisions on whether to implement SWI; whether external or internal SWI is more appropriate; and what considerations are necessary before, during and after installation to minimise risk and maximise benefits.

This article has been adapted from an article published in Building4Change