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Insulate now to avoid possible VAT increase

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As the UK government may be forced to raise the current VAT rate on insulation and energy efficiency products the British Urethane Foam Contractors Association is advising potential customers to install insulation measures now. This will not only save the difference in VAT should the rate go up, but also save money on ongoing fuel bills.

In June 2015, the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK’s reduced VAT rate of 5 per cent for the supply and installation of energy saving measures was unlawful. It is unclear, following this ruling, how the Government is going to proceed and penalties could be imminent if it does not increase the rate of VAT.

Insulation of the building fabric has the most potential to make energy efficiency savings, improve comfort and reduce the carbon footprint. The walls and roof are normally the greatest areas of heat loss. The building fabric should be insulated first before investing in other energy efficiency options, such as renewables.

One method of insulating the walls and roof is with a high performance sprayed, or injected, polyurethane foam which is a very versatile material that can be applied to many differing applications. For instance within the wall cavity, to the underside of the roof, and in voids, plus other areas where an insulant is required. It can also be used to insulate outbuildings, farm buildings, warehousing, and many other commercial/industrial buildings and applications.

Polyurethane foam, when sprayed to the underside of a roof can achieve excellent insulation values and can be used for the dual purpose of roof stabilisation and to counter nail fatigue, prolonging roof longevity rather than re-roofing. This is subject to survey to ensure that the existing roof is sound prior to installation.

Injected polyurethane for cavity wall insulation, can often be used where other insulants are not possible, for instance in hard-to-treat housing, or where wall-ties are failing, or in flood plain areas.

The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association is the national trade association representing the spray applied and injected polyurethane foam industry. BUFCA has a network of contractors skilled in the installation of sprayed or injected polyurethane foam.

When choosing a member, customers can be assured of the highest standards of quality and service. Installers are required to abide by the Association’s Code of Professional Practice which aims to further good technical and professional conduct and promotes sound relationships between members and their customers. A survey is carried out before installation to check that the building fabric is sound, with any necessary rectification works carried out.

There is a twenty-five year insurance warranty which BUFCA installer members can offer for domestic injected polyurethane cavity wall insulation projects. The warranty offers reassurance to customers and becomes effective if there is a fault with the installation or the product and the installer or product manufacturer has ceased to trade.

The BUFCA warranty is available for installations funded as part of Energy Company Obligation or Green Deal Home Improvement Funded work. Other domestic and commercial jobs can also be considered, subject to prior approval by the insurers.

Further information on the use of injected polyurethane for walls is available from the BUFCA website at