The family’s house collapsed due to damp caused by poor insulation


A resident has explained how his family home has been affected by years of damp and mold amid the announcement of a £2.6million fund to fix long-standing insulation issues.

The Welsh Government has awarded Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) £2.65million to carry out ‘essential repair work’ on properties in Caerau in the Llynfi Valley which have been affected by poor insulation installations 10 years ago.

Internal and external insulation was fitted to 104 properties in Caerau between 2012 and 2013 as part of schemes to help people in the poorest areas of Wales pay their fuel bills.

Caerau homes that were subject to poor installations suffered from problems such as dampness, mold and structural damage.

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One resident, Rhiannon Goodall, whose house has been in the family for generations, said it was “heartbreaking” to see it in its current state.

Damp in Rhiannon Goodall’s Caerau home has led to mold

She said: “It’s really upsetting and even more so for my mum because it was her family home before mine.

“She lived here when she was little and seeing the house collapsing around us is really heartbreaking for all of us.”

Rhiannon, 38, said she was initially told insulation would reduce bills.

However, she claimed that all he did was “cause dampness”.

She added: “At first it wasn’t really noticeable, but over the months the paint on my wall started peeling from the dampness and the plaster started bubbling.”

Rhiannon, who shares the home with her husband, Wayne, and daughter, Lili May, said the issues have also caused health problems for the family.

The works of the Rhiannon house in Caerau were carried out in 2012

She said: “It affects our health. My husband is disabled. Every night he is on a CPAP machine because he has severe sleep apnea.

“We have severe mold and some sort of rot. It’s affecting his breathing.

“I used to have very mild asthma, but it affected me at times. It affected my daughter’s skin, where she got eczema and patches.”

Energy efficiency work on the Caerau properties has been carried out under three different programs.

Work on the properties in Caerau fell under several schemes, including the CERT (Carbon Emission Reduction Target) scheme, the Community Energy Conservation Scheme (CESP) and the Welsh Government’s Arbed scheme.

BCBC was directly involved in the work on 25 of the 104 properties that had the insulation installed – independent of work that fell under the CESP and CERT initiatives.

Rhiannon’s house has been included in the CEPA scheme and the work has been carried out by a company contracted by Green Renewable Wales Ltd.

Both companies no longer exist.

Reacting to the funding recently announced by the Welsh Government, Rhiannon said: “I was happy to hear that the funding had been agreed in principle, but I have lost all faith in the government and what it says because we We’ve had so many promises over the years to make things work out.

“I’m at the stage where I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ll believe it when the scaffolding comes up outside.

“I’ve had so many disappointments and people say things that never materialize.”

The new funding to address the problems in Caerau is subject to the submission by BCBC, and assessment by the Welsh Government, of a “satisfactory and detailed” business case and project proposal by the end of
February 2022.

Insulation work at Rhiannon Goodall’s home in Caerau led to damp and mold damage

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We have agreed to jointly fund with the local authority the work needed to address the situation households are experiencing and have asked Bridgend County Council to come forward with a project plan. detailed by the end of February so that the local authorities-led repair work can begin without further unnecessary delays.”

“Domestic energy efficiency standards have improved since the completion of this project, with the introduction of PAS 2030 and 2035 in 2019.

“When installed correctly, cavity and exterior wall insulation can make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions and fuel bills, while improving household comfort.”

Work on the 25 properties Bridgend Council facilitated to finance was carried out by Green Renewable Wales.

However, Green Renewable Wales and their contractors also worked on some of the 79 properties the council was not involved with, including the Rhiannon property, which fell under the CESP initiative.

Bridgend County Council has been awarded £2.6m to address issues with homes in Caerau
Bridgend County Council has been awarded £2.6m to address issues with homes in Caerau

A spokesperson for Bridgend County Borough Council said: “Confirmation that the Welsh Government is to provide £2.65million to help correct faulty wall insulation work carried out in Caerau in 2012-13 is news hugely welcome, especially as Bridgend County Borough Council has long called for the development of a comprehensive solution that looks at the 104 premises that have received the works and not just the 25 homes for which the council has facilitated funding.

“While it remains hugely disappointing that the failing insulation has to be fixed less than a decade after it was completed, this funding will go some way to solving the household problem regardless of whether the wall insulation work has been delivered. by individual companies or not. energy suppliers or the town hall.

“It will ensure that local houses, some of which are very old, can benefit from high-quality interior and exterior wall insulation in line with the original aims of the initiative, and will also improve the standard of the premises as well as the lives of residents. local.”

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