2nd May 2023

Entry 34324

There are two different types of spray foam insulation. One is an open cell foam. Open cell foam is soft, flexible and is a breathable material. Closed cell foam is hard, rigid and waterproof. Many years ago in the UK, closed cell foam was used as a roof repair system on old buildings with no roofing felt. If the roof leaked closed cell was spray to the underside of the roofing slates which in turn mended the leak. Whilst this was a temporary fix, and moisture that was able to penetrate through the slates got trapped in the roofing timber and over some years the timbers began to rot. This is a completely different product than the open cell foam which is used today. Open cell foam has undergone testing by many independent testing bodies including the BBA to confirm its breathability. The fact that it is breathable ensures that there is no risk of the timbers trapping moisture and no risk of the timbers rotting.

Why has an issue been raised by mortgage companies?

Until now, the spray foam insulation industry was unregulated. This means that there was no code of practice or guidelines for surveyors and installers to follow. Because of this, surveyors had no form of training to determine if a spray foam insulation install was open cell or closed cell or a good install or a bad install. Surveyors also did not like the fact that the spray foam insulation hampered their ability to survey some parts of the timbers and roofing membrane. In December 2021 the RPSA (Residential Property Surveying Association) released a statement to confirm that surveyors were having difficulty when surveying a property with spray foam insulation. They advised that their surveyor be extremely cautious when dealing with a property with spray foam insulation. This created widespread panic for people with spray foam insulation in their roof and led to a lot of rumours and bad press all of which was based on false information.

What has been done to resolve the problem?

In October 2022 the RPSA retracted their previous statement claiming that they had realized it was factually inaccurate. They set about issuing new information to be released in Spring 2023.

Since then, RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), PCA (Property Care Association) IMA(Insulation Manufacturers Association) and the RPSA formed a working group which set out to issue a code of practice for surveyors and lenders.

As of March 2023 this code of practice has been released detailing how a surveyor should approach a home with spray foam insulation. This has been welcome news for the spray foam insulation industry and puts an end to the unjust issues we have been facing over the past year.

What cosy insulation provide to ensure compliance with the new code of practice.

• Detailed pre-installation report.

This report is necessary to determine the condition of the roof before works are carried out and to ensure that spray foam insulation is suitable for the property. The report includes moisture readings and photographs should a surveyor want to see the pre-install roof condition.

• A BBA certificate

It is essential that the spray foam product has BBA approval. Our Synthesia open cell foam has BBA approval for application to breathable felt, bitumen/plastic felt, underfloor, flat roof and timber frame walls.

• Condensation risk analysis

We provide you with a condensation risk analysis bespoke for your property. This ensures that there is no risk now or in the future of any condensation build up and that the roof timbers will remain in good condition.

• Product warranty

The product that we install comes with a 25 year manufacturers warranty for total peace of mind. The warranty can also be passed along to any future purchasers of the property.

Please find attached links to PCA surveyors protocol and IMA surveyors protocol