In addition to being chair of Sustainable Group, Derek Horrocks is also chair of the strategic board of the National Insulation Association (NIA). In this capacity, he has been involved in some important developments, a number of which will take effect this year.
The most notable of these relates to the Hackitt Review, which was commissioned after the 2017 Grenfell fire tragedy. The NIA newsletter notes that the UK government has established working groups to develop future fire regulations on high rise buildings. The article reports that "NIA Chairman, Derek Horrocks is personally leading our input to the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. This work is through the BBA, who sit on the working group concerning Materials, Products and System Testing." The results will be reported directly to Government and Dame Judith Hackitt.
Working alongside the BBA and SWIGA, NIA will be highlighting industry concerns about procurement, design responsibility and "the transparency of system testing and certification." It will also be suggesting improvements to current working practices. These improvements will include "moving away from the current main contractor/labour only/lowest price model to the use of specialist EWI system designers and contractors."
In the same newsletter, NIA reported a delay to the introduction of the proposed new PAS2030 and PAS2035 standard. The new standard, which relates to the specification for the installation of individual insulation products, is being developed by BSI as part of the Government's Each Home Counts recommendations. NIA and other bodies including the Solid Wall Insulation Guarantee Agency (SWIGA), had expressed concerns that the tight timescales originally proposed could lead to delays to PAS-related ECO funding so the new PAS standards won't now be introduced until 2019.
More generally, NIA has been working hard to ensure that government policy, funding mechanisms and quality assurance frameworks all help to raise standards, improve accountability, and direct support to those in greatest need of help. Fuel poverty remains a pernicious problem within the UK, so it is important that help is offered to those who need it most.
For example, NIA has been making significant contributions to the BEIS consultation on the new ECO3 funding framework. In the consultation, BEIS proposed that solid wall insulation should be allowable in social housing EPC bands E, F and G. However, NIA arranged independent analysis that showed that over half of fuel-poor residents in un-insulated, solid-walled social housing actually occupy homes in band D. It has therefore recommended that funding should also be allowable for EPC band D.
This and similar work continues throughout the year. For more information about the work of the NIA, please visit https://www.nia-uk.org or follow @NIAConsumer on Twitter. (Links open in new windows.)