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The Right Protection

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A home’s insulation is its sustainability shield, necessary for comfort and climate control. If it’s not installed right, call backs will follow. Luckily, there is a free app and advice to help.

Anne-Maree Brown

General Manager of Content
Insulation is the cornerstone of an energy-efficient home. It is one of the most important ways to reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. Importantly to homeowners, the right protection promotes a healthy, happy environment and less of a hit to the back pocket for many years to come. In essence, for the homeowner it is about liveability.

In the words of The Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ) CEO Dennis D’Arcy: ‘Australians understand that you can’t have an energy-efficient home without insulation. It is an expected standard inclusion in every new home built.’

However, not all installations adhere to the correct standards. ‘It’s devastating news that one in five consumers may not be receiving the safety or the effectiveness of insulation products because of poor installation practices,’ he says.

If best practice principles are not followed, with an eye on efficiency and longevity, the result is repeated call backs for builders and trades – reducing profit and business success. 

It would seem that the answer is to follow the right methods the first time; that way you will be building on your trade reputation and the potential to contract more business long-term. 

That is where ICANZ, an official representative of the insulation industry, can help.

The true cost of the call back

‘Insulation, when installed correctly, makes homes healthier and more comfortable to live in and help to save on energy [usage],’ Dennis says.

‘But, every time batts and building wraps are not installed or replaced correctly – straight and with no gaps – the property will have reduced energy efficiency, not to mention the comfort of the occupants is seriously compromised.’

The likely result could be call backs to refit and rework, all at the cost to your business in hours and materials. In addition, we all know how much that can damage a business’ reputation, resulting in less ongoing referral work.

And there is also safety to consider. The products manufactured by ICANZ members – glasswool made using spun recycled glass – are safe because they are non-combustible, will not conduct electricity, and if installed by an approved installer, are backed by extensive warranties. All important considerations for peace of mind.
 

‘Insulation, when installed correctly, makes homes healthier and more comfortable to live in and help to save on energy [usage]’

However, the reality is bigger than liveability. The way we make use of buildings in Australia contributes to approximately 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. (*)

It is reasonable to expect that measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will include increasing the required minimum energy efficiency of residential buildings over time. More attention will need to be directed to ensuring products and services are installed correctly and used effectively to achieve the optimum lifetime goals. 

It will be less and less a case of ‘set and forget’, but a case of increasing focus on compliance and higher incidence of inspections likely to follow.

With all these factors in mind, ICANZ was created to ensure that through research, educational campaigns, tools and advocacy, with the ‘insulation matters’ objective, is front of mind for the Australian residential building industry.

A lofty challenge, but an important one.
 

Guidance on the go

We’ve outlined the ‘why’ when it comes to the importance of the right insulation solution, but with frequent building code changes it takes time and guidance to keep up to standard. 

If you are looking for the ‘how’, ICANZ has the knowledge and resources to help builders and trades stay on top of changes to insulation requirements.

Since cost-effective training is essential, and residential builders and trades are often on the road between jobs, the council recently released installation videos located on a free app, which are perfect for on-the-go training – in down time or even as a regular toolbox talk program.

Not only does the app house and deliver the content, but it also has a downloadable e-form included that can be used to provide evidence of as a record staff training, and a useful record as part of potentially site inductions, and/or adhering to site safety practices for the correct and safe installation of insulation. 

The app training is broken down into four modules, inclusive of 14 short videos, plus links to the ICANZ Handbook and industry contacts. Each video episode is followed by self-test questions to assess the viewer’s comprehension and understanding of the material – vital to ensuring the educational component has been successful. Once the viewer has answered the questions, the results are stored in the app under their unique profile, for revision or the all-important proof of the training later.

The modules are designed to be distributed easily amongst work groups, by sharing the QR code or forwarding the information by text or email.

‘We are incredibly proud of being able to create this cutting edge educational tool,’ Dennis says. ‘It’s visual, mobile – and it’s free.’ And that is a rarity these days.

Getting your insulation jobs right the first time will go a long way towards helping to create lasting value for homeowners and occupants – and happy customers mean positive referrals and testimonials for your business.

www.icanz.org.au 

This article was compiled with contributions from ICANZ.