Hidden dangers and how to avoid them

Hidden dangers and how to avoid them

In recent years, building bonuses have greatly increased renovation work. In Italy, such a large number of homes have never been seen in the pipeline, thanks, among others, to incentives offered by Superbonus and Bonus facades. The thermosphere is one of the most widespread interventions and among those that can yield the greatest benefits in terms of energy savings. But such a large number of jobs may have lost quality, which increases the stakes: the consequences for safety are potentially catastrophic. Among these, in fact, there is the risk of fires, but there are also circumstances that could lead to new interventions, and therefore to new expenditures. Today.it solved the problem thanks to the contributions of Confedilizia and Cortexa to understand its causes and consequences.

Why coat

The thermosphere is one of the essential interventions to reach the Superbonus and is one of those interventions known as “driving”, that is, that allows you to activate the facility to which you can link other energy saving actions, such as photovoltaic panels. 110 per cent Superbonus was born to change the face of old and inefficient Italian real estate stocks, but we know that it did not go as expected: in general, building bonuses deteriorated the state’s accounts for the renovation of only a small percentage of buildings and therefore produces minimal results in relation to the measurement target , energy efficiency.

The sheathing is among the most performed interventions with Superbonus and allows you to significantly improve the energy class of the building, together with other elements such as fixtures. In addition to saving energy, insulation also contributes to the habitability of a building, as it isolates it from external noise, and increases its economic value. to Aeneas, Insulation is “undoubtedly the most effective solution for isolating a building well”.

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The coating is applied directly to the facade of the building and usually consists of insulating panels and other components such as cladding and fixings. In addition to the aforementioned advantages, if the insulation work is carried out as it should be, the guaranteed term is at least 25 years. A study conducted by the Cortexa consortium – which brings together the most important companies in the insulation sector in Italy – confirms that this is the most implemented intervention with Superbonus. Ideally, the overcoat is the perfect intervention: But moving to the practical level hides the pitfalls.

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Coat and problems

Spreading the coat may result in unexpected dangers. The installation of the insulation system must comply with current legislation and the materials must possess accurate certification. If the work is not carried out in a practical way, problems can arise: How can this happen?

The Cortexa consortium interviewed more than 500 planners for “the largest survey ever undertaken in Italy on the energy efficiency of buildings”. The answers show some criticism of some of the work carried out with Superbonus, especially with regard to the thermal layer. In fact, the quality of energy redevelopment interventions is “compromised by the delivery of assembled products to the construction site”, and therefore they are not “exterior coating systems supplied in kit form by a single manufacturer, but as materials of different origins bundled together and without ETA certificates – any European technical evaluation – and the CE mark.

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In fact, it is necessary to understand cladding as a “building system”: the certification of individual components is not enough, and it is also necessary to consider how different materials coexist and interact with each other. Added to this were the “inexperience and lack of preparation of applicants” and the “organizational complexity of house bonuses and the constant changes that had to be implemented and managed”. Only 44 and 31 percent of the interviewees stated that they know the thermal insulation system design and installation standards.

Moreover, the quality of the interventions is affected by the lack of “detail projects”: 41 percent of the interviewees stated that, when working as a construction manager, they rarely receive a detailed project of an external insulation system. This forces the contractor to find “solutions” on site, putting the project at risk of serious errors. Added to this problem is the lack of specialized companies and implementers and the difficulty of finding certified systems that are supplied as kits by a single manufacturer (46 percent).

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In general, the vast majority of interviewees complain that it is more complicated “by the constant regulatory changes and unknown factors that have shaken the market, such as credit waiver”. These critical issues can cause problems with the success of the coat, leading to new expenses but also dangerous situations.

Does the coat increase the risk of fire?

Some news stories have raised suspicions about the fire hazard associated with the thermal blanket. In the meantime, it must be said that the material of the coat is provided with fire-fighting certificates, as required by law.

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As we said before, the problem arises when the coat is considered a separate element: “After fires broke out in some buildings, the legislator gave the designer the responsibility not to allow fires to break out in the building and to ensure escape in cases of danger – Lorenzo Balsamelli, Confedilizia technical coordination engineer told Today.it -.. The problem is the composition of the materials, which is understood as a system. It is impossible for a coat of glass wool to catch fire, but other materials that may cover it, could be flammable and react with those in the coat.”

The fire that destroyed a London skyscraper in 2017, Grenfell Tower, presents these risks. The material that covered the façade, not the cladding, caused the fire to spread and then disintegrate and caused a rain of flaming debris that trapped the residents. There are certifications in Italy, but “many ignore the ETA directives and do not check that the insulation system does not go down in the event of a fire: the certification must take place as a system – said Balsamelli -. With a big bubble of 110 per cent lack of professionalism. There is Few Fire Consultants, they are only appointed on large construction sites with large professional teams. Fire Consultant is rare.”

Problems of having a thermal coat

The other problem is the lack of a professional – and therefore economic – perception of a fire consultant, a fact that makes the figure unattractive: “No one expects a professional service as a fire consultant: there is no fee to pay for the activity, mistakenly believing that the designer and construction manager are creating solutions with fire fighting materials.” independently, ”says the engineer from Confidilizia.

“It is as if from tomorrow all the farmers will start producing flax without knowing anything about it.”

These problems mainly concern smaller construction sites, those “starting from one million euros and below: it is difficult to have a consultant for fire prevention, and there are those who do not want to receive lower salaries or even the number is not expected – confirms Balsemili – the problem is of a natural nature Informative: Sometimes it is not understood that following the guidelines is not enough, a fire advisor is needed.Superbonus introduced functions that presuppose some professionalism and which, however, were not widespread before their arrival.It is as if all farmers began to produce flax by doing subsidies without knowing anything about it. And this bubble has forced a lot of people to work at things they don’t know.”

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Confedilizia’s data confirms a lack of interest in fire rules: “Of the 2,000 to 3,000 requests for advice that reach the most important Confedilizia office – the one in Turin -, very few are about fire prevention: we are in the order of units. Prevention does not generate income, it does not attract.” , as Balsamelli admits.

Finally, to the danger of fire must also be added the danger of mold and dampness in the house, which can lead to inconvenience and multiply the expense. The reason is the same: “incorrect perception” caused by poor skills. What about the controls? They are not there, they only arrive in case of problems, which, as we have seen, can in some cases be flames. In addition to the hole in the state budget, we will soon be able to see more damage from Superbonus.

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