How to choose the right insulation installer?

Insulation, Loft Conversions

How to choose the right insulation installer?

When choosing the right insulation installer, there are some key issues you need to think about. In this article, we’ll take you through them step by step.

  • Find out whether you can get a grant to pay for the work
  • Check whether they’re a member of a competent person scheme
  • Get a detailed quote from each tradesman you’re considering
  • Never pay in full upfront!
  • Don’t assume a generalist will always be cheaper

Let’s look at each of these in a bit more depth.

Find out whether you can get a grant to pay for the work

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Continue to follow on with their grant aiding known as the Better Energy Homes Scheme. This Scheme provides grant aid to private home to upgrade their homes with heating & insulation measures.

Who can avail of the scheme?

It is a National scheme and therefore all homeowners of dwellings built before 2006 may apply. Landlords and owners of multiple properties may also apply, however they must submit a separate application form for each property. If you are a landlord or a management company considering an entire building upgrade, please contact SEI before applying online for the grant.

What type of work can I get a grant for?

Grants will be provided to home owners who invest in energy efficiency improvements in the following area:

• Roof Insulation
• Wall Insulation – this includes either cavity wall, internal dry lining or external insulation
• Installation of a High Efficiency (> 90%) Gas or Oil fired  Boilers  with Heating Controls Upgrade*
• Heating Controls Upgrade

• Building Energy Rating (BER) – you can get a grant for a BER if one is done before and after the works are completed.

*Minimum requirement of: 2 zones (space and water) with 7 day programmer (time and temperature) control and boiler interlock, time and temperature control of electric immersion heater and either 1 more zone control or 3 TRV’s.

How much are the grants?

Grants are fixed for each type of measure as indicated in the table below. Grant approval must be in place before any purchase of materials or commencement of measures undertaken. Grants are paid after the measures are completed and the contractor has been paid by the homeowner. In the instance where the cost of the work (vat inclusive) is less than the fixed grant amount, the actual cost will be reimbursed.

Check whether they’re a member of a competent person scheme

Certain types of insulation – including external wall insulation – need to be given building regulations approval. It’s therefore worth asking each tradesman/helper you’re considering whether they are a member of a competent person scheme related to insulation.

If they are, they will be able to self-certify their work, rather than needing to get someone from the local building regulations team to look at it.

Get a detailed quote from each tradesman/helper you’re considering

All insulation specialists should provide you with clear, detailed written quote. This should break down all the possible costs involved, from labour and materials to what percentage of the total cost is covered by a grant (if any) and VAT should be included in the quote.

Make sure you get the same information from all the tradesmen/helpers you’re considering – so you can compare them like with like.

Never pay in cash upfront!

Never pay the full amount for a job upfront in cash; instead, wait until the project is complete and you’ve inspected the work thoroughly.

Don’t assume a generalist will always be cheaper

You might assume that hiring a general handyman/handywoman or builder to fit your insulation will be cheaper than opting for a specialist. However, as Christy explains, this can be a misconception:

“Hiring an insulation specialist, rather than a more general builder, could actually save you money. For one thing, specialists buy in bulk, so we often get cheaper rates on materials.

“The ways people charge for their labour vary, too. For example: If a standard builder was going to do a 40 square metre loft insulation job, they would probably buy about ten rolls and pay about €25 per roll. Then they’d charge a full day rate of about €300 to do the job, although it would actually only take them around half a day to do it.

“I charge per square metre, instead. When I go and see a property, I work out the square meterage cost and only charge the homeowner that specific amount (minus whatever grant might apply). So it’s definitely worth a homeowner asking every tradesman/helper they’re considering: ‘What’s your charging structure?’ Get them to break it down.

“Finally, I recommend homeowners ask about the rate of VAT each tradesman/helper pays. Because we’re an energy company, rather than a general builder, we’re able to claim 5% VAT on energy products, as opposed to 23%. And we can then pass that saving on to the homeowner.”


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