Muller House – Prestigious Flats without Insulation

Category: Detect & Inspect Property Defects

Shocking Heating Bills for Residents at newly developed Muller House

A recent BBC report by Inside Out West now on iplayer, investigated why 38 residents of a prestigious development of an impressive stone Victorian listed building into 67 flats were left inside, in the cold!

Muller House - Infrared Survey

In the programme the BBC commissioned two surveys, the first,  our team Jeremy Thomas and Stuart MacRostie from IRT Surveys to do a non destructive survey and another from a Chartered Surveyor, to confirm the findings by physically inspecting the problems.


Years of Cold Misery


epc rating 42Muller House in Bristol, once an orphange was developed by Charles Church Develoments Ltd. and in 2008 one resident who moved in, found their luxury new flat very cold indeed, so much so that the wet room and kitchen thermometer showed a range of 8,  9, 10 degrees.


The Energy Performance Rating given to the resident at the time of purchase was rated at 42, and residents could expect heating bills of £1000.


Energy Performance Certificate – EPC


To explain the Energy Performance Rating – this is supplied with all purchase of homes and the EPC scale starts at 1 – obviously being the coldest and 92 being the warmest, an EPC rating of 42 is half way, and would suggest that this newly developed flat was energy efficient.  However this was not the case as residents were experiencing rooms so cold they’d have to scrape ice off the inside of the windows and pile overcoats on their beds to keep warm.

EPC rating 17Residents were paying around £2000 for heating as the only way to keep warm was to put the heating on and leave it on.

One resident commissioned their own energy efficiency survey which was rated at not 42 but 17.


Two surveys to find out the cold secrets


Infrared Imaging


This type of survey assessment is non-destructive and negate the need for drilling holes or  evacuating residents. An infrared survey from IRT Surveys will provide a detailed and impartial property inspection report highlighting exactly where the problems lie – and just how big they are.

building junction infrared image

Muller House – building Junction showing loss of heat

Jeremy Thomas and Stuart MacRostie conducted a heating engineers thermographic survey and were looking for heat loss, missing or damaged insulation and found:


“Very little insulation was found everywhere, mostly at the building junctions where one wing of the property meets another”


and Jeremy adds:


“For a developed property it was surprising”


muller house thermal image loss of heat

Muller House Infrared Survey revealed inadequate or missing insulation around floors, walls and ceilings

IRT’s survey was backed up with a physical inspection by Chartered Surveyor Tim Davis – this is an invasive inspection did indeed reveal that the floors were bereft of insulation and where heating insulation was found, it was 20 mm of and not well laid in most cases.


Residents went to the developer with the New home build guarantee and  Zurich appointed a loss adjuster, who found in their report that  no heat insulation had been laid under any of the floors, little in the ceiling and walls, despite the plans lodged with Bristol City Council, which clearly in the documentary is shown.
epc rating 13

Worse, at this point the Loss adjuster gave the EPC rating not at 42 as stated by the Developer, nor 17, but this time a shocking 13.


So Where did the EPC Rating of 42 come from?


The original plans submitted to Bristol City Council had included insulation, and BASED on the ASSUMPTION that the insulation would be installed, the rating of 42 was given, as we see from the reports, the insulation that should have been  installed to attain the energy efficiency rating of 42, wasn’t installed at all.


Going Forward


6 flats at Muller House have had remedial works to improve the insulation, some have had to vacant for a month, others for six months, but the residents are still of the opinion that they are still paying over the odds for heating.  6 years on the residents of Muller House are dealing with Trading Standards.