I support Building’s logic in tackling the existing housing stock.

However, we must take care that the advice and aims are relevant to the building stock in question. Older properties were “built to breathe”, and this is reflected in the materials used and details adopted, including some built-in redundancy and allowance for movement and ventilation. Simply applying the “advised standards for the modern methods of construction” to the older stock will increase their likelihood of failure and cause the demise of many currently sound buildings.

Yes, we can and need to do something, but let’s ensure that we apply the accumulated knowledge from history on how buildings perform and are maintained (BRE’s work comes to mind) before we embark on a one-size-fits-all programme of energy conservation.

Robin Hayward, Hayward Associates, Cumbria