External wall insulation has been available in the UK for the last 30 years. Overseeing the various contractors and system suppliers is the Insulated Render & Cladding Association (INCA).
INCA chairman David Harrison says that having a contractor select the external wall insulation used on a project can ultimately reduce costs for the client. “There are around 15 to 20 different external wall system designers in the market place, promoting themselves to the contractor base. At the same time, specialist contractors are promoting themselves to the main contractors to secure work. If the system has already been specified before the contractor can select a sub-contractor, the contractor is limited to who they can appoint for the work,” says Mr Harrison. Whereas, if the contractor can select the insulation system used, they have greater freedom to select their own supply chain, reducing overall costs for the client.
INCA is currently working with the government as carbon targets are providing an opportunity for its members. “We’re looking at advising government bodies in terms of external wall insulation, and how to use the benefits of the systems within the demands for carbon saving,” he says. “We are looking to the government’s carbon saving agenda as an opportunity for growth in our sector.”
Insulation installers face two differing challenges. While there has been a downturn in new-build, Mr Harrison says there has been an increase in the number of refurbishment projects. Contractors should pay careful attention to the differences between the two. “Some types of insulation cannot be used on both new-build and refurbishment because of zoning issues,” he says. He also says a major challenge is to implement and specify training and quality standards to help support government expectations.