Cavity Wall Insulation Scales New Heights

December 01 2012

Installing insulation into high rise tower blocks has always been a challenge.  Traditionally, it requires scaffolding to be erected up the sides of a building which is time consuming and costly for the landlord, and presents potential security issues and disruption to services for the tenants.

However, Kershaw Contracting Services Limited’s Insulation division has recently been carrying out cavity wall insulation installation works in tower blocks up to 18 storeys high using an innovative, alternative method which doesn’t require scaffolding.  Working on behalf of Hackney Homes Limited who are responsible for the management of council homes in the London Borough of Hackney, they are using teams of abseilers who work suspended from harnesses fixed to the roof mountings, and scale down from the top of the building.

One set of abseilers drills the holes for the insulation, working to a specified drill pattern until they reach the ground floor.  Their drilling equipment is suspended on a lanyard attached to their harness.  At the same time, the site supervisors fill ‘Timco machine hoppers’, located in vans at the site, with Rockwool Energy Saver, a blown cavity wall insulation material, ready for the filling procedure.  When the drilling is complete, a second team starts from the top floor, holding the injection nozzles and pipes, also suspended from lanyards, which are connected to the Timco machines.  After each hole is injected into, it is filled with cement to match the existing mortar joints seamlessly.

Health & Safety is paramount to the process.  The site operations team operates a stringent no-go traffic management system below, and acts as resident liaison for the tenants and public.  The abseilers use radio control for communication, and emergency response should it be required.  They are members of the Industrial Rope Access Association (IRATA) and hold the Certificate of Competence in Rope Access.  Kershaw ensures the work complies with its BBA Approved inspection testing certificate, and meets the requirements of the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), who are guaranteeing the project.

Ian Macklin, MD of Kershaw Contracting Services, said “There are clear benefits for the client of using abseiling rather than traditional scaffolding for installing cavity wall insulation into high rise tower blocks.”  Explaining “The set-up time and overall turnaround is much quicker, it’s far less intrusive for tenants and, importantly in the present climate, it’s considerably cheaper.”

Andrew Corless, Director of Refurbishment and Regeneration at ROCKWOOL UK added: “Residential tower blocks offer some of the best candidates for an energy efficient retrofit due to an economy of scale.  Finding innovative and cost effective ways to improve their efficiency will be central to the success of the Green Deal and ECO, and Kershaw’s abseiling cavity wall insulation installation team offer just one of the innovative solutions out there.”

December 2012

For further information regarding this release, or to arrange an interview, contact Sarah Payne, PR and Marketing Manager on 01223 715800 or email