SHBL have informed us that RLF (the consultants appointed) have recommended EWI and that, therefore, they have accepted that recommendation without reasonable questions or due diligence.
Our research leads us to wonder if a block constructed of site poured concrete and without a cavity is best served by EWI:
Cloaking the building in such materials will impact on its ‘respiratory health’ and we are not satisfied that the structures ‘fenestration’ of balconies and windows is ideal for the manner in which EWI is secured and aesthetically detailed.
We already have massive issues with condensation and leaks
If water ingress will continue to blight Sussex Heights even after we have spent an estimated 700 thousand pounds on EWI and that the structure will look visually undesirable.
As a rain-screen solution would:
cost around a million pounds,
comes with a lifetime of building warranty,
would be bereft of any particular ongoing maintenance costs
provide a cavity and chimney thermal draft to keep the pre-existing structure dry
how RLF can possibly be recommending EWI as the best long term solution for The Building (as opposed to those Shareholders not wanting to pay a little more to get a lot better)?
The alternative, a carefully designed and sympathetic rain-screen solution, would make Sussex Heights a ‘sexy’ landmark structure in the very heart of Brighton.
It was originally covered in shimmering two-tone mosaic. It was doused in Joltec 20 years ago because some of the mosaic was de-laminating and because the structure was perceived to be allowing for water ingress (which was, of course, condensation in the most part which was worsened with the ‘shrink-wrap’ effect of the Joltec.
What are the potential unintended consequences of installing solid wall insulation?
The main unintended consequences identified from the review can be categorised into two areas: 1) the risk of overheating in buildings with SWI and 2) changes to the distribution of moisture in a building following an intervention. Both of these can have severe effects on occupants’ health, as well as the building itself. The research suggests installing external rather than internal insulation can help to moderate the excesses of internal temperature swings. However, poor installation of either can lead to problems with water ingress, condensation, and mould growth. The majority of the unintended consequences observed, have been linked to shortfalls in the quality of the workmanship, as well as mistakes in the initial assessment of the buildings when assessing their suitability for the application of wall insulation. What additional considerations need to be taken when insulating heritage buildings?
Heritage buildings are considered to be complex systems that exhibit a delicate equilibrium between thermal mass, air leakage, building envelope properties and heating regime. Many traditional buildings were built to be ‘breathable’ and so installing impermeable insulation materials and vapour barriers increases the likelihood of moisture problems. Natural insulation materials (such as cellulose or sheep’s wool) may prove more suitable. Both external and internal wall insulation may be unsuitable for heritage buildings due to the loss of historic detail.
The main risk is of interstitial condensation, where warm moist air from inside the building condenses out on the “cold” side of the insulation. External wall insulation is supposed to stop this happening. But it can result in other problems.
In Germany there have been cases of mould growth and discolouration to the external rendered surfaces of buildings. This is because the insulation is so good at trapping heat inside the buildings that there is no waste heat escaping to keep the external wall surfaces dry.
There have also been cases where the metal brackets and screws used to fix the insulation to the walls have corroded – again, because they are kept cold and damp – and this has led to unsightly rust staining. So any savings in fuel bills have been eaten up by repairs and redecoration.
There has also been a recalculation of the fuel savings that can be expected from external insulation. It has always been assumed by environmental lobbyists that all thermal insulation is a good thing, on the basis of Fourier’s law of heat conduction (which I discussed on January 27). However, wall insulation doesn’t only keep internally generated heat inside a building; it also prevents the sun’s heat from warming the building naturally – meaning the insulation might save less fuel and money than calculated.
Frasier runs for condo board president, against the tyrannical Ms. Langer. Niles lends his apartment to Martin for a romantic evening with Sherry, but inadvertently walks in on the two of them in flagrante.
Frasier has a new antique Japanese door knocker, which he claims “is said to bring peace and tranquility to any home it adorns”. Unfortunately, minutes after he fixes it to his front door, he receives an angry note from Ms. Langer, the woman who chairs the condo board, claiming that the knocker violates rules of hallway decoration. He decides to raise the issue in a rhetorical manner at the next condo board meeting, but Ms. Langer dismisses the request so abruptly that Frasier loses his temper, calls her a tyrant and storms out, to the applause of the other residents. Soon afterwards, Frasier is approached in the unlit car park of Elliot Bay Towers by a secretive figure, who wants him to stand as presidential candidate against Ms. Langer, for the good of the other residents. He is initially reluctant, but then Martin and Daphne start receiving angry notes as well, and Frasier decides it is time to take action.
We gathered extensive qualitative evidence during the course of the study of examples of poor outcomes for leaseholders, including complaints relating to: high charges for services arranged by property managers; unnecessary or excessive works; little transparency and unexpected costs; poor communica- tion; flawed procedures for consultations on major works; vertical integration between property managers and contractors or between property managers and freeholders; poor service and complaints handling; and ineffective or difficult to use redress schemes.
The Upper Tribunal decided that the landlord could not justify the work to the windows and exterior cladding and that there was no evidence that they had explored alternative methods of addressing the problem with the windows nor evidence that had any consideration had been given to the financial impact on the leaseholders of replacing both the windows and the cladding.
In conclusion, landlords will have to show that when it comes to the cost of improvements they have listened to and taken on board the views of their tenants.