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Many more to go: Firm clocks up another cavity wall win

Pilkington: Tip of the iceberg

The law firm that won what it said was the first contested cavity wall trial [1] earlier this year has now notched up five victories, the latest seeing damages of £17,000 awarded to its client.

Liverpool-based Pilkington Shaw said there were thousands of potential claimants across the country who had suffered losses as a result of faulty cavity wall insulation.

Cavity wall insulation is seen as a cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency, reducing heating bills and carbon emissions.

But it is not suitable for all houses and incorrectly installed insulation can give rise to problems ranging from damp and condensation, through to serious structural damage or even health risks to those living within the property.

Cavity walls claims have long been seen as a potential area of growth for claimant law firms and claims management companies looking for new areas of work.

The court heard that Denise Brown from Swansea started to notice problems with damp and mould about 18 months after the insulation was installed in her house.

The fitter argued that the house was fine to receive the insulation and that it was done correctly, even though Pilkington Shaw said the drill pattern used did not accord with the insulation manufacturer’s own guidance, and the brickwork detail of the property made it unsuitable to have insulation due to the increased risk of water penetration.

The fitter also denied that any damage was as a result of the insulation and said that the claimant had issued proceedings out of time.

The judge disagreed and said of the defendant’s expert: “I do not consider he can pick and choose which guidance to follow depending on whether or not it suits his case. That approach damages his credibility.”

Mrs Brown was awarded damages to extract the insulation and redecorate, and also damages for inconvenience and stress of over £11,000, reaching a total just under £17,000.

Pilkington Shaw director Mike Pilkington said: “We believe there are thousands of householders across the UK who wrongly had cavity wall insulation fitted and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We welcome the acknowledgement by the courts that these properties were not suitable to receive cavity wall insulation and that the correct installation guidance was not followed.”

“We’re now beginning to see a level of consistency from judges in this type of case.”