Expert for Mineral Wool Insulation

Neil Hargreaves

Managing Director


Neil Hargreaves

Neil Hargreaves is Managing Director for Knauf Insulation Northern Europe (KINE), which includes the markets across the UK & Ireland, Scandinavia and English-speaking countries in Africa.

Neil originally joined KINE in 2006 as Head of Commercial Finance before leaving to become Finance Director (EMEA) for a multi-national manufacturing and contracting business. In 2011, he re-joined KINE as Finance Director and has since played a key role in a number of commercial, financial and strategic projects. He was appointed Managing Director in February 2019.

Prior to joining KINE, Neil trained as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and gained experience in audit, business consulting and transaction services working with clients across manufacturing, construction and leisure industries.

Neil sits on the board for the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association (MIMA).

Knauf Insulation

Knauf Insulation is the UK’s leading manufacturer of glass and rock mineral wool insulation products.

As part of the family owned Knauf Group, Knauf Insulation represents one of the most respected and progressive names in insulation. It offers an unrivalled range of insulation solutions for any application or project to meet the increasing demand for energy efficiency, fire resistance, thermal and acoustic performance in new and existing homes, non-residential buildings and industrial applications.

In the UK, the company operates at three manufacturing plants; Cwmbran, Queensferry and St. Helens.

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Expert Comments
Blog Posts

Knauf-Insulation Comment: Q4 2023

Usually, I begin with a word on the numbers. A general view, and a more granular look at some of the data that relates to mineral wool insulation.

Merchants don’t need me to make any observation about the macro-economic picture this quarter, so instead, I’d like to focus on a different number. One that I expect to have a significant impact on insulation demand now and in the near future. That number is 150.

Let me explain. In December, the UK Government published its latest consultation on the Future Homes Standard (FHS). Just over a year ahead of its proposed adoption, we’re now gaining a clearer sense of what the new standard is likely to entail. Not much change to thermal performance values, but significant change in how those values translate to compliant homes (through a new government software tool to calculate thermal performance and proposed real performance testing).

The FHS changes come, of course, mere months after the end of the transition period to Approved Document L 2021 (ADL21). Fresh off the back of adapting to the latter, the industry must now begin to prepare for further imminent change.

That’s the context driving a shift in norms for newbuild homes, with housebuilders large and small increasingly adopting 150mm cavities. Why? Because 150mm is the cavity sweet spot that is part of a low-risk route to compliance.

When I speak to customers taking this route, their reasons are clear: 150mm cavities enable them to achieve the optimal balance of thermal performance, sustainability, non-combustibility and build cost, to comply with ADL21 and now the proposed FHS “notional” building.

For merchants, the impact will be two-fold. Expect more queries from customers seeking advice on the right route to compliance, for which the 150mm cavity is a straightforward solution to achieve the notional building thermal performance, which most builders default to. And expect sustained and even increased demand for mineral wool insulation to fill those wider cavities as a result.

There is more clarity to come on the FHS. When it arrives, Knauf Insulation will be ready to share useful insights on the implications. In the meantime, my message to merchants is simple. Bigger is better – it’s time for 150mm cavities.