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  1. #1

    Default Home Insulation Debacle

    Garret is being raked over the coals over the 4 deaths related to bad insulation installs.

    Now of course Peter cannot be held responsible for bad workmanship, but I feel that he (or at least the Government) is responsible for the lack of regulation in the whole process.

    The thing that stood out most for me was the sheer number of door knocks, phone calls and letter box pamhlets promoting "free" insulation.

    Not a racist comment, but most of my door knockers were young Indian girls with clipboards in hand hoping for a sign up.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that taking up the insulation offer disqualifies you from the solar program.... ?

    Being a renter, I didn't really have a say in what was installed. I called the Real Estate and said they should ask the owner to take up the offer for my comfort - it wouldn't cost the owner anything. So that's how I got mine.

    Mind you, my contact at the Real Estate Agent was not there any more - he left to start a business installing home insulation - go figure.

    The guy that came to do ours was, until very recently, a marketing manager. The crap he put into our roof was about 6mm thick and came on a big roll with Chinese writing all over it. When quizzed on the quality, he pointed to a stamped ASA logo saying that it complies with the Government regs.

    My installer had 3 young guys with him and had the job done in 40 minutes. Now it doesn't take a guru to know that the quicker you can do the job and the least you pay on the material - then the greater your profit.

    When I look into the ceiling, I can see that 80% is covered and just shake my head at the poor workmanship.

    2 weeks later I get a letter in the mail from the Government acknowledging that the installation was done and if I had any issues to take it up with consumer affairs. Maybe if I wasn't renting then I may have just done that.

    Not sure about other's experiences, but to me it seemed that the whole thing was a rort.

    Sort of like the carbon credits issued to the CFC light bulbs and shower heads companies that sprang up all over the place. I have enough shower heads for my entire street and enough CFC light globes to last 3 lifetimes!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debarcle

    I have seen some shonky stuff go on. Some of the installers are just throwing the whole bag of batts in the ceiling and not even installing them. A lot of the stuff now is being brought in from china; there is a shed down the road full of it.

    Some of the younger guys I met were making $6k in a week (working hard and long hours though). People just went hell for leather as soon as it started. It did stimulate the economy though.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debarcle

    Yeah saw that story on t.v. Some Indian (country India) accented, looking dude was questioned by the reporter about the 2 quotes clause in the law. He was not aware of it. Some were apparently pocketing the full rebate of $1200.

    Cowboys rorting the system.
    Never let anyone dictate your life path.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Great idea about the free insulation. Trouble is one the main intentions was to improve the quality of living and sustainability of the home liver and the house.

    Of course the market sees only the dollars and the quickest and shonkiest operators will win unless there are very good umpires (regulators) . So as a result billions of dollars have been splashed onto sharks and fishes alike and an indeterminate number of homes have actually received a decent job.

    Solution: An audit of at least 10% of the jobs. Demands of repayment if jobs have been stuffed up ie not done, half done, and keeping a black list of people who ripped the taxpapers off.

    But of course that's a pipedream in today's business friendly environment.


    A simple way to do this audit ?

    Set up a website called "Do it yourself home insulation check."Get householders or perhaps a friend to check the ceiling and note things like

    1) Is it actually there?
    2) Has it actually been put in?
    3) Does it cover the whole roof ?

    Put this information on the website and in the case of shonks highlight the companies and people who were responsible.

    Simple really if we actually care about how our taxpayers money is spent. Perhaps Peter Garrett should organise a consultation process, interdepartmental committee and call for a tendering process to examine the viability and appropriateness of such a process and then get a report back in say 6 months time? That should be long enough to see the horses way over the horizon and onto the next green fields of plunder.

    But god help us we wouldn't want to actually do something that was clear, simple, cost effective and worked would we ? As Sir Humphrey would say that's not the way to run a public service.
    Last edited by basilio; 12th-February-2010 at 07:32 AM. Reason: typos

  5. #5

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Here is more fuel for the fire...

    A work collegue of my wife, who does weekend insulation installations (another one) has just done the short course to become a Government Certified Inspector for Solar and Ceiling Insulation - so now he can install the roof insulation and then come back and certify it.

    If the same guy that put my insulation in comes back to certify his own work - then I'll kick him out.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Check out the spelling:


    Has there been any damage to the customers ceiling? Is the customer happy? Ext ext.
    I am glad that this is a criteria: 1. Must have good verbal and written English communication skills

    Yep, not only will they install it, but they will check it:

    The details of this position will be as follows.
    You will be required to inspect each property after our installers have installed the insulation. You will be required to “enter” each ceiling and inspect that the insulation work has been carried out satisfactory, meeting professional standards. You will be required to report your inspections back to the manager on a daily basis.
    Another rort coming, the obvious suggestion would be to have independant inspectors, wouldn't you think??

  7. #7

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Quote Originally Posted by roland View Post
    Check out the spelling:


    I am glad that this is a criteria: 1. Must have good verbal and written English communication skills

    Yep, not only will they install it, but they will check it:

    Another rort coming, the obvious suggestion would be to have independant inspectors, wouldn't you think??
    Hopefully, all these expert inspectors remember to TURN OFF THE HOUSE POWER before attempting to enter the ceiling space!

    With hundreds of homes estimated to have potentially "live" ceiling space in this fiasco, I cringe at the number of "inspectors" who might now be zapped!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Quote Originally Posted by roland View Post

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that taking up the insulation offer disqualifies you from the solar program.... ?
    not to worry about missing out cause your not, the solar program they have going is actually pointless as most of the energy generated are not stored in the premises but pump back again into the grid, yeah sure they pay you the so called premium price for the electricity generated but they take it straight back by increasing the amount you pay for the electricity you use at night.

    a true solar system would have battery setup so you can use the electricity generated during the day once your battery are fully charged then the excess energy is feed back in the grid reducing the amount you truly consume from the main grid.
    i read the letter that was sent to me by the so called solar companies cold calling at the moment, the POWER actually cuts out during outages even during day time for so called safety reasons yeah right again pointless.
    But hey where is the profit it that right why do you think the govt approved this crap solar program without the electric companies throwing there hands up in protest.

    sorry off topic i know theres a solar thread here some where...it just makes me laugh seeing all those solar panels on people houses with the owners thinking there doing the environment and there pockets a favor NOT .

  9. #9
    You are arguing with a Galah IFocus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Putting a highly conductive material into a ceiling space without proper precaution or a effective earthing method back to the building main earth is plain stupid.

    Getting inexperienced installers to complete the work is willful negligence and that starts with the employer or supervisor.

    I was surprised that the various state electrical regulators didn't object more strongly.

    As for Garret he was only ever a poster boy but completely useless as a Minister.

    Only hard headed politicians that take on the environmental portfolio are any good like Liberal Robert Hill.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Quote Originally Posted by IFocus View Post
    Putting a highly conductive material into a ceiling space without proper precaution or a effective earthing method back to the building main earth is plain stupid.

    Getting inexperienced installers to complete the work is willful negligence and that starts with the employer or supervisor.

    I was surprised that the various state electrical regulators didn't object more strongly.

    As for Garret he was only ever a poster boy but completely useless as a Minister.

    Only hard headed politicians that take on the environmental portfolio are any good like Liberal Robert Hill.
    I only just found out this week that foil "insulation" is being used as part of this scheme. Now..........whilst foil insulation, including closed cell foil insulation is an excellent product, I was absolutely amazed to hear that it is being used as "ceiling insulation". I for one would NEVER do this. It is incredibly DANGEROUS, as now has been shown. It is not designed to be "celing insulation". It was always intended by the designers/manufacturers to use this between roof purlins/battens and the roofing material (either metal deck or tiles, etc). In that situation, provided it is installed correctly it is perfectly safe and is recommended. But NOT as loose fitted "ceiling insulation"!

    I think the reason these people are using it is because it is far easier (quicker) to lay over a ceiling than batts, and does not have any fibres that can become loose and enter into the ceiling airspace. But who is the idiot that permitted this to be used in this manner in the first place? It is all very well for Garrett to blame someone else but it just shows the calibre of the man. Totally out of his depth and easliy misled. How he can stand there and mouth off that he took advice just amazes me. Advice from whom? More idiots? He may have the gift of the gab (did he go to the same gab school as krudd?) but he is talking pure unadulterated crap. So, just how many people are dead now because of his ineptitude? Seems to me that he would have made a very good army general during the 1st world war.

    Now he is talking about undertaking an audit of installations. How much is that going to cost? And how much is it going to cost to fix? Where are the guidelines for undertaking the audit/checks (from a safety viewpoint), and how is the faulty installation going to be fixed? Even checking this stuff is DANGEROUS. I for one would not enter a celing space where this stuff has been installed as "ceiling insulation".

    How many stuff ups is this guy going to make before he is removed. This is an appalling situation totally of this government's own making. Heads must roll over this!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Dont worry the Silver Toungue Krudd will come to his rescue. Who cares if Garrett ignored 13 reports, isnt it more important that we concentrate on Barnaby Joice and his inability to understand the difference between a million and a billion dollars? surely thats more important than 4 people dying people Garrett couldnt get off his butt and do something.

    /end sarcasm.

    The whole insulation thing is in shambles, and its no surprise to anyone in the industry, have a talk to a few and most thought it was one big joke money making scheme!

  12. #12
    GumbyLearner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Sovereign Debt Crisis Headquarters

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Royal Commission coming soon. Watch this space.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Tropical Central Queensland

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    I am a Home Owner in Central Qld and have purposely left this ceiling insulation scheme alone and not taken up the installation. I am an Electrican by Trade and have reservations which have been demonstrated by the tragic fatalities ( 1 in Rockhampton district )

    There is a huge amount of new homes that are fitted with 12v Dichroic Downlights. These light fittings have a separate 240-12v transformer that then connects to the lampholder of your recessed light fitting ( 12v ) The heat generated by these small 50w lamps is amazing. It is ideal to keep the tops of these light fittings open and vented. It is not ucommon for some houses to have 10-12 of these fittings installed.

    Along comes "A1 Ceiling Insulation Installers" who throw around the ceiling areas either wool, or fibreglass type sheets of insulation. Some operators would not be allowing all of these downlights to be vented- they merely cover everything. Imagine the heat build up and potential for disaster if these types of installations are left unchecked?

    The foil type installations are another risk altogether. If the foil sheets make contact with a mains cable ( cable that is fed from pole outside and then runs across through the ceiling space down into the switchboard) either through metal staples, or even through accidental contact with the cables with damaged sheath and insulation ( from the rodent mice and rats that chew pvc) then your ceiling space is very dangerous.

    I believe that we will see the results of this scheme for many years to come, with an increase in potential house fires and risk to homeowners via electric shock.

    Please be very careful with what you have in your ceiling, and I hope that the Authorities are pursuing the dodgy operators and make an example about the rorts they have been pushing onto the householders!


  14. #14

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    baz, I think your comments support what I have said. And whilst a slightly different topic, I totally agree with what you say about batts around light fittings. This whole thing has been a disaster waiting to happen right from day 1. It is fiscally stupid (as most people on this forum have pointed out) and has now been proven to be technically stupid. Talk about this government being total amatuers. Hmphh!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Thats why I always turn my down lights off when im not home and try not to use them on really really hot days! They can generate quiet alot of heat in the ceiling cavaties.

    Insurance Premiums set to go up on houses installed with foil insulation?? You wait... Another cost Krudd will have given the public.

  16. #16
    Happy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    NSW, Australia

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Quote Originally Posted by cornnfedd View Post
    Thats why I always turn my down lights off when im not home and try not to use them on really really hot days! They can generate quiet alot of heat in the ceiling cavaties.


    Halogen downlight lights globes can be replaced with energy efficient globes that run much cooler.

    If I had any I would do that for sure!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    As a licensed electrician and someone who's spend his entire adult life involved with things electrical and energy, a few observations...

    1. Insulation in itself is generally a good idea if the building is heated or cooled on a regular basis. Nothing "wrong" with insulation per se.

    2. Fibreglass batts, rated R3 to R4 and made by major manufacturers in Australia (Bradford, "Pink Batts" and so on) are generally the cheapest, safest and most practical means of household roof insulation into existing buildings.

    3. Cellulose (shredded newspaper) is highly flammable if not thoroughly treated with fire retardent. It also ends up blowing around and sitting on top of downlights, exhaust fans and so on. It can be done well but very often it isn't.

    4. Wool might not burn when it's in the form of a jumper and you're fighting a fire (wool being a good thing to wear under such circumstances) but it sure does burn when it's very loosely packed and still greasy. Be very careful with this one.

    5. Polyester - nothing really wrong with it (as long as it's a quality product) but it's relatively expensive compared to fibreglass batts. But it's a pleasant product to use (you could sleep on it if you really wanted to) so it's worth considering for exposed areas such as under floors etc.

    6. Foam is another idea that's good in theory but often not so good in practice. Getting the fire retardent right is one big issue since polystyrene is inherently flammable, being a hydrocarbon product. But it can be made safe, just make sure it's not a dodgy product. Foam pumped in on-site is another matter - it depends very much on the skill of the operator and there are some real horror stories. Be careful. It's often the most practical means under floors however and worth considering.

    7. Foil isn't generally the best way to keep the heat in, it will often achieve around R1 (compared to R4 for fibreglass batts) but it does have uses. It's better for keeping the heat out (so it's more use in Queensland than in Vic or Tas) although it's certainly better than nothing in the walls in a cooler climate and is quite widely used. But for a retrofit to an existing building - don't bother unless you are wanting to keep heat out, rather than in.

    8 - Rockwool is much the same in practical usage as fibreglass when in batt form and also comes as a blow-in material which is more commonly used. Downsides are blow-in depends very much on operator skill.

    My personal opinion is that if you are going to insulate your roof then use fibreglass batts and be prepared to DIY finishing off the installation to fill any gaps unless you find a very good installation contractor. Other than that it's generally the way to go in my opinion.

    For all insulation, keep it well clear of heater flues, exhaust fans and especially downlights. Otherwise you will quite likely need the fire brigade at some point over the next few years. I also strongly recommend that you get an inspection by a licensed Electrical Contractor (electrician) if you are installing any form of insulation near anything electrical - that will avoid the much publicised safety issues that have arisen recently.

    Lighting - why anyone would install halogen downlights is something I just don't understand. Poor quality lighting, high power consumption, a known fire hazard and they let ridiculous amounts of heat pass through the gaps they create in the insulation. And they're ridiculously high maintenance too. The only thing in their favour is fashion. Each to their own though...

    Get LED, CFL or even old fashioned bulbs (which these days are halogen) rather than messing about with downlights in my opinion. Unless you really do want that "commercial" look with 400 lux in the loungroom and to be forever changing blown lamps.

    Solar panels - the insulation rebate is exclusive of the solar hot water rebate with only one being able to be claimed for any particular residence. Solar PV panels, which produce electricity rather than hot water, are a separate matter and not affected by what you do with insulation or hot water. Whether or not you should install them is a matter of personal preference and finances since they will have zero impact on your day to day living. Be aware that in some states electricity utilities do everything they can to frustrate the installation of solar panels. There are exceptions, but in Victoria especially there are a LOT of horror stories. The other states it's better but it's still wise to check locally exactly what costs will be involved.

    Tasmania is the only state to my knowledge where it's simple - just get the panels installed, you will be given (free) a new meter and all rates and charges remain unchanged. Your bill simply drops by however much power your solar panels produce. That said, Tassie isn't the most profitable place to install solar since the rate you will get for power sold to the grid (the exact same rate you pay for power you take from the grid) isn't very high. Still worth looking at though and it can be worthwhile if you get a reasonable deal on the installation.

    Backup power. If you just want to keep the fridge and a couple of lights going during a power failure, get a cheap two-stroke petrol generator from the hardware store for $149 and use that. Go for a quality unit such as Honda etc if it's for more regular use such as a tradesman on building sites. Get a diesel if it's for regular use and weight isn't an issue since diesels use quite a bit less fuel than petrol.

    Don't mess about with batteries connected to solar panels unless you're not on the grid or you get a lot of blackouts and want uninterrupted power without having to wait for a generator to start. It doesn't stack up economically or environmentally to have large batteries in most circumstances - keep this idea for those off the grid.

    Hot water. In some states it's cheaper to go solar than to replace a failed electric HWS with a new one the same, so it's certainly worth looking at. And if solar isn't an option due to the roof direction etc then a quality heat pump will still save 70% on energy consumption and attracts a $1000 rebate plus REC's.

    Just keep away from the big name, lower quality units that don't work on off-peak electricity and which use booster elements during Winter - they'll end up costing you as much or more to run than a conventional electric off-peak water heater.

    Also keep away from solar HWS that rely on peak rate electrical boosting unless you live somewhere that regular boosting is not required or have no other option and would otherwise use that rate for a conventional electric water heater. Boost with gas or off-peak electricity instead - yes there are systems that can do this, don't believe salespeople saying otherwise and advocating peak rates.

    My own situation? Ceiling insulated with fibreglass batts, walls with foil, nothing under the floor at pesent. Heating is wood and electric in the house, oil in the workshop / garage. Hot water is heat pump on off-peak installed 2 months ago. Have a 1kW solar PV system (grid connected) on the roof. Lighting is just conventional lights with bulbs - I don't see any real reason to change them until LED's drop in price.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    has anyone thought to think that this might be the new asbestos
    mmmmm just my worth.....just thinking out loud

  19. #19

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Quote Originally Posted by cutz View Post
    This is why I refuse to put the s*** in my roof.

    The other day walking down the street I noticed the scammers going about their business and the fiberglass particles were glistening in the sun, couldn't believe how far it spreads, surely sucking that stuff in can't be good ??
    Primary differences between fibreglass and asbestos is (1) the particles themselves and their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and (2) that the body can dissolve fibreglass whereas asbestos is there forever.

    I wouldn't say that fibreglass is necessarily totally safe, but all the research I've seen shows that it's dramatically lower risk assuming we're talking about a one-off exposure, since the body can deal with it over a matter of months. Glass dissolves eventually whereas asbestos is there causing damage forever. That's just what I've read however...

    One thing I am worried about though is just what might actually be in some of that cheap insulation being broght in from overseas. The Australian made "pink batts" etc should be what they claim (fibreglass) but I wouldn't trust some of the unknown products from overseas. I'm not saying they do contain asbestos, but it wouldn't surprise me to find all sorts of things put in there when they're from countries with minimal safety standards, regulation etc.

    Use polyester batts if you're at all concerned about fibreglass and health. They do the job just as well - only real disadvantage is they're more expensive (though that's not such an issue given the $1200 rebate should cover much of the cost for a typical house anyway).

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Home Insulation Debacle

    Thanks Smurf1976, (Sorry I deleted my rant)

    Apart from the fact I'm wary about man made fibrous insulation, another reason I don't have it in my roof is I prefer to have all wiring exposed for ease of inspection and to keep the areas around my downlights clear. I have spoken to people that have come across blackened insulation around downlights, pretty frightening stuff, luckily for them it was picked up before anything major occurred.

    In my case the lack of proper insulation doesn't seem to be a problem.

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