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Anglian conservatory damp issues - what to do next?

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I'll try and make this brief whilst covering all the key points.

 

Conservatory was built in 2005 whilst previous owners owned our house. We moved in in 2007 and from 2009 onwards there has been damp rising up the walls all over 3 of the 4 walls (all brick walls sparing only the patio door "wall" attached to the house). It's steadily been getting worse to the point where we got round to calling Anglian in April 2012. They asked us to pay £49 to transfer the guarantee from the previous owners' name to ours. So far so good.

 

The initial site visit by, let's call him "Derek" (not his real name), was on 10th May. As we understood it, this was to scope the work which needed to be done and to determine if it fell within the guarantee. Derek just looked at the inside of the conservatory on this visit. Then Derek called to do an additional site visit on 7th June. We didn't really understand why this was necessary in addition to the 10th May visit but this time Derek accessed our next door neighbour's garden which was not something he did on 10th May. An appointment was made with the Installation team to carry out the works identified in Derek's report on 26th June (we were not told what that work would be). Two installation lads came round and through discussions with them, it was decided that the work recommended in Derek's field report was not consistent with the damage seen in the conservatory. Derek had told the lads to put in a membrane on the outside of the wall to stop the damp from the outside. I believed that the damp was mainly coming from the floor up and this would only solve the problem if there was a build up of soil all the way along the neighbour's side of the wall. There wasn't, it was only in one corner - so where was the damp coming from 2 metres away?

 

The lads reported this back to Derek and another appointment was made on 13th July for Derek to reinspect the damage. Following this, on 6th August, one of the installation lads again attended our property and completed the work to the walls to create a gap between them and the floor to prevent damp rising. This work was completed to our satisfaction except a couple of weeks later when I'd mopped the floor a few times (plasterboard is very dusty) I spotted damage on the flooring in at least 9 places where it appears the angle grinder caught the flooring leaving deep scratches. Damage is parallel to the walls about an inch away from the walls.

 

So outstanding work which we believe needs to be done includes skimming & repainting the walls in the conservatory to make good the damage done by the damp and also rebuilding the external brick wall installed as part of the original work. This wall's purpose is to hold back the soil from our neighbours' garden to prevent damp in the corner of the conservatory. Currently the wall does not extend to the boundary of our property so there is future risk of damp issues in that corner. As we understand it this was an oversight on the part of the original installers as it could be foreseen that the bank of soil in our neighbours' garden would need holding back from our conservatory wall. If the wall was extended by between one and two feet the potential damp issue would be stopped. As there is 3 years left on the guarantee, time spent putting this right now saves further costs to Anglian in future. Realistically the entire wall needs rebuilding as it was not built to a sufficient standard given the large degree of brick flaking across the whole wall. And of course there's making good the damage caused by the angle grinder!

 

So to chase up the outstanding work I sent an email to Derek on 16th August to which no reply was received. I therefore made a verbal complaint to Head Office on 22nd August with a response promised in 16 working hours. A follow up phone call was made on 29th August to Head Office as no response was received within 32 working hours (assuming 8 hour working days and excluding weekends and bank holidays). At this point I was told the complaint had been passed onto Derek but he was the person who had failed to respond to our concerns in the first place! On 29th August I was told to expect a call within 16 working hours so called AGAIN on 31st August to be told that finally they were escalating the complaint and I would receive a call on Monday 3rd September. In the meantime I received a letter on 1st September addressed to Mr & Mrs (previous male occupant's initial) Oursurname dated 30th August saying our details have been forwarded to their Central office so "he" is aware of the issues we have raised and we will be hearing from our regional office (again this is Derek) without delay. BUT NO PHONE CALL TODAY!!!

 

Things I want Anglian to do

 

1) Tell me what work they think is outstanding

2) Tell when they're going to complete it by

3) Tell me what they're going to do about the new damage

4) Tell me how I'm going to be compensated for having no conservatory for 4 months

 

What I'd like the forum to advise on is what I do next? I feel I've exhausted all Anglian avenues and have got nowhere. I understand poor service happens but it's the fact that I feel there are no internal routes left to actually act on this poor service & communication that really frustrates me. 16 working hours seems to mean nothing! There's not actually going to be any summer left by the time this is sorted and with a baby on the way in February I could really do with a) no stress and b) an actual usable room without damp. All advice welcome!

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Don't leave your inspections so long, do it while the workmen are still there.In the meantime you can email the big boss if you wish with your complaint - Peter.Mottershead@angliangroup.com

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Cheers for that email address. I will be using it shortly! I did inspect a few times but to be honest sand coloured scratches on light laminate when the dust is very thick and still falling makes things a bit difficult to make out on first inspection. However, they haven't come round to fix the other things which they've known about for 4 months so a couple of weeks to report the scratches feels like a drop in the ocean. Appreciate the advice to go to the top.

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I would also suggest you get yor own professional survey on the installation and the proposed work for rectification from a surveyor or a structural engineer, which would conform the cause and advise on the appropriate action to take.

Anglican are pretty good, in my experience.

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It would seem as if you have given them enough chances to at least be up with you so there can be no other place to go than to the top. I can't see him being very pleased especially as CAG is always amongst the very top in any search so is a powerfull medium and can hit sale when I would think they can least afford it.For Ray. Nice typo, does that mean they are a Christian windows company :D

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They did finally get back to me agreeing to 1) reskim but not repaint - why only agree to reskim when the need to repaint is caused by the same damp issue the reskimming is??

 

2) They've agreed to extend the wall to our property boundary but not rebuild. I've taken advice and apparently our wall is showing signs of "spalling" which means excessive flaking due to the bricks not being suitable for the purpose (holding back a bank of soil i.e. our garden so they've deteriorated due to too much moisture for the type of brick used). So I can't see why they're not agreeing that it was incorrect quality bricks used in the first place.

 

3) They're going to ask the bloke who did the work if he thinks he damaged the floor and if he says yes then they'll replace. To be fair to him there was so much dust he may well have not realised but it's annoying they're not taking my word for it or at least coming out to have a look.

 

4) No mention of compensation for 4 months without use of conservatory (we only have a kitchen and living room downstairs otherwise)

 

So I've written one more letter to the senior installation manager with a CD of photo evidence to support the need to repaint - the rest of the paintwork is fine apart from the big damp patches. We're not trying to get a free paint job; if it wasn't for the damp patches there's absolutely no need to repaint To support the brickwork spalling/flaking on top of the wall - pretty much 1 in 3 bricks on the top layer. And to support the fact the scratches are only where the skirting board has been installed. If that doesn't get me anywhere then I'm heading for the top. Fed. Up!

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