Rigid PIR foam insulation is commonly used on external ductwork. But the Thermal Insulation Contractors Association is warning that PIR is also combustible and can pose a danger when used internally.
Safer alternatives, such as phenolic duct insulation, are more expensive and, TICA fears that some contractors are using PIR insulation inside buildings to cut costs in the face of rising economic inflation.
It is demanding that the internal use of PIR be brought to a halt and is also calling for firms awarding contracts to carry out more stringent checks that the correct insulation materials are being installed inside their buildings.
Chris Ridge, TICA’s technical policy manager, said: “Are contractors who continue to use PIR boards on internal duct systems wilfully turning a blind eye or are they ignorant of the facts concerning the products they are installing?
“Either way, the use of PIR board on internal ductwork systems needs to end. The current economic climate, where spiralling costs are impacting many businesses, is no excuse for prioritising the use of cheaper, potentially dangerous materials at the expense of people’s safety.”
He added: “The responsibility for ensuring compliance cannot begin and end with the specialist contractor and those awarding such contracts need to play their part.
“In the case of thermal insulation, mechanical and electrical contractors should be checking the credentials of the insulation product applied and asking more questions of their insulation contractors.”
A spokesperson for insulation product manufacturer Kingspan said: “Therma Duct, our PIR board product for ductwork applications, is tested and CE marked for specific use with externally located ductwork applications only and we would not recommend the use of Therma Duct inside of a building.
“We would instead advise our customers to use insulation products that are CE or UKCA marked, where applicable, for use in internal ductwork applications, such as our Kooltherm Duct Insulation.”