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Increased insulation competition raises opportunities

With construction industry figures currently showing a bleak outlook and a year-on-year output fall of nearly 10 per cent, a recent ruling by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has shed a much-needed ray of light on potential opportunities for tradesmen.

The OFT has been examining the home insulation market since April 2012, after concerns were raised following high levels of complaints from consumers about home insulation.

A report compiled by the regulator, following a call for evidence, has now determined that there is a relatively high degree of market concentration among insulation manufacturers, which can be one of the precursors to anti-competitive behaviour.

The findings of the report revealed that many people’s homes had suffered after the incorrect material was used to insulate particular homes. For example, different types of insulation should be used on homes that are particularly susceptible to damp than those that are not.

The OFT made a number of key recommendations in the report that will foster diversity of materials and workmanship in the sector, while also requiring product certification bodies to work on improving their certification processes.

The recommendations also called for the establishment of a single body to monitor work carried out under the ECO and Green Deal initiatives, which are aimed at raising the ecological standards of British buildings.

Through mandating diversification of the market, insulation installers – as well as tradesman such as carpenters and plasterers – could well see broader opportunities open up for them, at a time when new opportunities are in huge demand but short supply.

Speaking following the publication of the report, OFT’s director of services, infrastructure and public markets Nisha Arora, said that diversity in the industry is crucial for competition.

“The home insulation sector is now worth some