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Cavity Wall Insulation: The emerging area of property claims

What is Cavity Wall Installation and what are the issues?
It is estimated that around six million homes in the UK have been fitted with cavity wall insulation since the scheme was first introduced in the ‘90s. It was sold as a cheap and effective way of cutting down energy bills with seemingly no additional costs, however in recent years the seemingly simple way of warming up homes has started to show cracks.
It has been estimated that up to potentially 50% of the houses with cavity wall insulation were found to have problems from a survey taken in 2015 . As such, industry experts have ascertained that some houses may have had incorrect installation, other unsuitable homes should never have been offered the service in the first place.  

What issues are being caused by improper or unsuitable installation?

Although it was marketed as a way to improve the warmth and cost effectiveness of homes, significant problems with damp can arise if the service was improperly installed. Damp, although initially only considered a nuisance by many can actually develop further and cause significant property damage in the long run. Left untreated this can include issues with electrics and potentially lead to health issues, particularly in the case of elderly and vulnerable individuals.

Why is this likely to become a major claim area for individuals?
In addition to large amount of cases showing improper installation by contractors who were expected to complete a sound service, several thousand homes have been found to be completely unsuitable for such additions. Homes which are in areas subject to higher water exposure and rain such as Cornwall, Wales and Devon are not compatible with cavity wall, yet despite this fact, homeowners were encouraged to install the service anyway, leading to long term damage and disruption. 

As mentioned, these incorrect practices can lead to additional repair costs, health issues and further disruption and damage to property. People were wrongly advised and encouraged into installing such additions into their home and as such, could be potentially open to claim for the costs incurred. 
Given the number of homes likely to have incorrectly installed insulation, the number of claims likely to surface (both warranted and not) could be significant.

How does this impact your legal career?
Sacco Mann regularly encounter great Personal Injury Paralegals and fee earners who feel they have plateaued in their career, and who are looking to try a new area of law. Often however, it is difficult to retrain into a new area without significant financial impact and as such, a lot of people are put off doing so. Cavity Wall claims however bring in a brand-new area, one which is relatively new and offers individuals the opportunity to engage in elements of professional negligence, Property Liability and litigation matters, as well as contract disputes. This is a growing area and definitely one to keep an eye on should a move from standard PI claims be your goal!

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