External wall insulation

External wall insulation is like putting a jumper on your home. A layer of insulation material is fixed to the outer walls then covered in render or cladding.



Adding this extra layer of insulation means that less warmth escapes through the walls. As well as keeping the heat inside your home, you’ll also be better protected against rain and bad weather.

What’s more, external wall insulation also has the added bonus of a fresh new look for your property. There are lots of different options when it comes to the type of finish you want.

FAQs – External wall insulation

If you’ve been offered the opportunity to have solar panels and/or battery storage installed at your home, these FAQs should answer any questions you may have.

How is the Contractor appointed?

The Council are working in partnership with Changeworks to deliver this project. This includes the Tender process of appointing a suitable Contractor to carry out the works.  When a tender is put out it means that it is asking suitable businesses or suppliers and in this case, works contractors, to submit a quotation to carry out the work as required by their specification. This results in a contractor being selected to construct the works based on best value for money, a balance of price and quality for doing the work.

Can anyone else tender for the work?

Unfortunately, not. It is important that we only use contractors that meet the required standards to carry out the work. These standards include having the required knowledge and experience to successfully complete the work, having the required workforce and management structure, being financially secure and importantly being able to meet all health, safety and environmental standards. Changeworks have completed this procurement exercise using the Scotland Excel Framework or the Scottish Procurement Alliance, whereby Contractors are pre-approved.

Why and what are the benefits?

All Local Governments are governed by law to ensure that all public procurement is based on value for money, defined as “the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay over the period of use of the goods or service bought”.  This means that Changeworks are seeking to obtain the lowest cost and best quality of work for your properties by inviting a number of pre-approved contractors to bid for the works.  Pre-approved contractors have gone through robust checks and met defined criteria.

Is this scheme like historic Statutory Notice Problems?

We do understand that there will be concerns, we are here to reassure you that it is not. The Property Conservation Service no longer exists.  There are strict and stringent checks at every point to ensure that the tender process is fair, transparent, accountable and are governed by tight protocols.

The contractor will ask to confirm the tenure of your home (owner occupied, rent from a private landlord, rent from a local authority etc) and may ask you to complete some paperwork. The contractor will visit your property to carry out a technical survey and produce an Energy Performance Certificate to determine the current energy efficiency rating of your home as well as the property’s suitability for the insulation.  This will include checking the number of rooms and their dimensions, the type of energy you use, the make and model of the boiler/heating appliance, wall construction and windows.

To apply for building warrants, the contractor may ask to drill holes in the external walls as part of the technical survey.  All drill holes will be made good afterwards.

Other items checked at this time are around access for the works, such as existing fencing, wall baskets, and items such as garden furniture, sheds or plants around the exterior of the walls.

This is a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have prior to committing to works.

Once you have decided to proceed, you will enter into a contract with the appointed contractor for the works to be carried out to your home.  The work will be scheduled, and notification provided in writing.  If you rent your home from a Local Authority or a Housing Association, your home may automatically be included, this will be confirmed by your landlord.

A gas engineer will need to visit your property to carry out checks and extend the gas flue if required, or a design change may be made to the insulation system to facilitate the installation of the insulation boards.

The resident liaison officer (RLO) and site manager will keep in regular contact with owners and residents for all issues regarding the site and the progress of the work. Changeworks will also be on site to ensure checks are carried out on the quality of the work.

Please get in touch if you are planning any construction work for your own property at the same time as this project. We can work around some projects and can advise you of the best time to plan your construction.

We do not foresee the need for anyone to vacate their property, and we aim for residents to be able to remain in their properties for the duration of the works. Only in the case of health and safety concerns might residents be required to vacate the premises.

It is important to remember that this is effectively a construction project, therefore a level of upheaval should be expected. The contractor will need to erect scaffolding and you will experience some noise as the contractors go about preparing the walls and fixing the insulation materials to the existing surface.  The contractor may need to store items in your garden throughout the course of the installation. The contractor will keep mess and disruption to a minimum and will communicate with you regularly.

Like all building sites there will be noise and traffic, and occasions when the contractors may need access to your property e.g. to gain access to the attic space. The contractors will keep you informed of what disruption may be expected, including their working hours and who to contact with questions or complaints.

Please visit bit.ly/2O9VYV2 to see a time lapse video of a previous External Wall Insulation project.  This details External Wall insulation being installed on a property of no fines construction.

The construction team will comply with government guidelines and we will do all that we can to protect residents and the workforce. Residents and owners will be updated when we are aware of the guidelines which will be in place during construction.

The work normally takes around 16-18 weeks, this can vary depending on factors such as the property type, the weather and if any structural works are required to facilitate the installation of the insulation system.

Work may be carried out during the winter and bad weather can cause delays. The contractor will keep you up to date on what is happening and why.

There will be specific arrangements in place for the festive period.

Yes, scaffolding will be necessary to ensure the installers can safely access the whole surface of your external walls and the roof. The scaffolding will not prevent any access to the property and appropriate protection will be put up in accordance with health and safety legislation. All access needs (e.g. wheelchair access or car parking) will be discussed prior to the scaffolding going up. If you have any questions about this, ask your surveyor for more information.

You should tell your Buildings and Contents insurers of the date the scaffolding is going up, and for approximately how long. If you do not do this, you may find you are not covered.

The scaffolding is likely to be in place for the entire duration of the works. If the work is delayed due to bad weather, the scaffolding may have to be there for a bit longer.

Please note: Children must be supervised when scaffolding is present. No-one should climb on or tamper with scaffolding as doing so can put them, you and the contractors at risk. If you see anyone climbing on or tampering with scaffolding, please report this to the Resident Liaison Officer: you will be given their contact details at the start of the project.

Please do not place any decorative items on the scaffolding, including Christmas lights, Santas, Halloween decorations etc. If they are found, they will be removed.

As you might expect, items fastened to the external wall surfaces of your home will need to be removed before the insulation is fitted and this includes satellite dishes and aerials.

Satellite dishes will be removed during the works and temporarily attached to the scaffolding, where they will continue to work. There may be a short time when you won’t have access to your TV service in between the scaffolding work and the contractor will make the temporary adjustment.  Other items that may need to be moved are alarm boxes and external lights.

Water and power supply will not be disrupted.

Garden furniture/plants/ornaments/sheds that are next to or in contact with the walls of your property will have to be moved before the work can go ahead. If you are unable to move them, the contractor may be able to assist. You might also need to move any vehicle(s) including any caravans from your driveway and might be asked to cut back any bushes/trees. This will be discussed with you by the contractor at the survey stage.  When they carry out the survey, they will discuss any arrangements that need to be made, like removal of items on the outside of or vicinity of the house (e.g. hanging baskets or plants).  As a rule, we would recommend that all items are moved at least 4 meters away from the property walls to avoid any damage.

If you are asked to do any preparation and it is not done, contractors cannot be held responsible should any damage occur if they need to do it themselves.

Garden furniture/plants/ornaments/sheds that are next to or in contact with the walls of your property will have to be moved before the work can go ahead. If you are unable to move them, the contractor may be able to assist. You might also need to move any vehicle(s) including any caravans from your driveway and might be asked to cut back any bushes/trees. This will be discussed with you by the contractor at the survey stage.  When they carry out the survey, they will discuss any arrangements that need to be made, like removal of items on the outside of or vicinity of the house (e.g. hanging baskets or plants).  As a rule, we would recommend that all items are moved at least 4 meters away from the property walls to avoid any damage.

If you are asked to do any preparation and it is not done, contractors cannot be held responsible should any damage occur if they need to do it themselves.

What will happen to pipes etc that are attached to my outside walls?

Essential items will be extended to accommodate your new insulation. This includes:

  • Rainwater and soil pipes
  • Flues
  • Window and door sills
  • Garden taps


If the standard extension option is unsuitable for any essential item attached to your home, then the surveyor will discuss alternative solutions with you and will ensure these meet safety requirements.

All air vents and gas combustion vents will be maintained for the duration of works.

Decorative fixtures and fittings, such as hanging baskets or door canopies can be accommodated but this may involve a surcharge. To replace such items, fixings must be installed under the new wall covering before they can be re-attached.

IMPORTANT: You must not attach items to the new insulation as it is not designed to bear the weight of fixtures and this could invalidate your guarantee.

If you have plans to attach anything new to the outside of your walls or specifically want certain items to be re-attached, please be sure to discuss this with the contractor before work starts.

We recommend that your security alarm company attend to remove and reinstate your alarm. Please note that service connection may be lost for the duration of works.

Absolutely not. The insulation cladding that will be used in our repairs is completely different to that used in Grenfell Tower. We will also be making sure that the material being used fully complies with the requirement of the Council’s Building Control department. Our team is dedicated to ensuring high quality work for the blocks we work on, and we hold our contractors to strict standards.

Changeworks Quality Assurance team will carry out inspections on properties to ensure the insulation is being installed to the approved specification.  The system manufacturer will also be on site regularly to carry out inspections.

There is likely to be some mess. For example, rendering process can involve stone chips. There will be a lot of chips on the ground at this stage. The installers will put protective film covering over windows and try their best to keep the area clean and tidy. Once the installation is complete the contractor will clear up as much stone chips as possible.

Take care in your garden while the work is being carried out, as installers may store materials there while the work is in progress.

While work is ongoing, to avoid dust getting into your property, please keep doors and windows closed and avoid hanging out any washing.

Installation involves drilling, attaching insulation boards and pebble-dashing, so unfortunately there will be a lot of noise at these times. The work will only take place during daylight hours.

Pets may find the noise distressing, so please be aware, and always keep them supervised.

Yes – the contractor will organise this. Once works are completed you will receive a completion certificate.

You will receive a 25-year system manufacturer’s warranty and in addition, a 25-year insurance backed guarantee. You’ll receive these once the installation is complete.  It must be pointed out that as with all guarantees these will come with conditions which will have to be met to ensure the validity of said guarantee.  The contractor will supply these details upon completion of work.

It is important to us that householders benefit from their new insulation.  To monitor this, Changeworks will ask all householders to give details on their energy usage and to complete a survey before and after work.  We will also ask a proportion of householders to allow us to install temperature and humidity monitors in their property.

The insulation itself will not require maintenance but the silicone seals e.g. around windows and soffits will need to be maintained every six to ten years. This will be detailed in your handover pack which the Contractor will provide.

Have a chat with an energy advisor at Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for advice on ways to save energy and money in your home.

Local Authorities are awarded grant funding from the Scottish Governments Energy Efficiency Scotland: Area Based Schemes (EES ABS). This grant funding is available to support private householders improve the energy efficiency of their homes. This allows us to offer these measures at a substantially reduced cost.

Yes, you should inform your insurance company and mortgage provider prior to construction and also make them aware of the presence of scaffolding around your property.  You are also within your rights to seek independent legal advice.

When you decide to proceed with work, you should pay the contractor the contribution direct.

The Council have been able to secure a base level of funding from EES: ABS (Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Scheme) amounting to £13,500 per property aimed at helping owner-occupiers and landlords (with three or fewer properties in their portfolio) with the cost of the proposed works.

There is also the possibility for additional EES: ABS Extreme Fuel Poverty grant funding for eligible homeowners, which could amount to up to an additional £5000.  Owners must complete the to be assessed for this funding.  Without this information, we will assume you are not eligible for grant in kind and you will be invoiced for the full cost of the work.

We understand that owners will be concerned about the cost of the repairs and how they will pay for this. Other options, as well as the funding detailed above, that may be available to you include:

  • Using savings or other assets;
  • Seeking financial advice before taking out a loan

If you think you will struggle to pay for repairs, you should get impartial financial advice as soon as possible. The Council is unable to provide financial advice directly; however, we have listed agencies below that can provide advice and guidance for owners.


Organisations Providing Further Advice

Citizens Advice Scotland – Scotland’s largest independent advice network


Tel: 0800 028 1456

Tel: 0808 808 2282


Scottish Welfare Fund Team – Helping families in Scotland on low incomes

Waverley Court
4 East Market Street

Email: welfarefundteam@edinburgh.gov.uk

Tel: 0131 529 5299


Age UK – Supporting older people in the UK


Care and Repair Scotland – Enabling older and disabled people to stay in their homes

135 Buchanan Street
Suite 2.5
G1 2JA
Tel: 0141 221 9879
Fax: 0141 221 9885



Granton Information Centre – provides free, impartial & confidential advice about housing, debt, welfare and money advice

134-138 West Granton Road

Tel: 0131 551 2459 / 0131 552 0458
Email: info@gic.org.uk


Home Owners’ Support Fund – Run by the Scottish Government, it’s made up of two schemes:

  • Mortgage to Shared Equity
  • Mortgage to Rent

These schemes help homeowners who find it difficult to pay their mortgage – or loans secured against their property – to stay in their homes.



Under One Roof – Impartial advice on repairs and maintenance for flat owners in Scotland



Breathing Space – Confidential phoneline for anyone feeling low, anxious or depressed:

Tel: 0800838587



Clear Your Head – Ways to help mental health and wellbeing



Social Security Scotland – You may be eligible for support from Social Security Scotland



Department of Work and Pensions – Information on other entitlements.







Depending on your local authority and eligibilty, there are a number of energy efficiency measures you could have installed at your home.