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New House Purchase - 7 month problem with Garden

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Hi guys, my very first post here so feel free to wade in with any comments or suggestions..


I purchased a persommin new build in june and paid for the turf to be laid in the back garden.

I was told it was very recent so stay off it for a month.


Two months later the grass looked good but the ground underneath was so wet and spongy that simply walking on it leaves deep dents.


I asked the landscapers to look and they said "yep, you need a land drain, it's boggy".


So I took this up with the persimmon site manager who got really irrate and said the landscapers had no right talking to me etc etc.


He blamed the 'rain' and said to just wait.

A few weeks later and no improvement


I wrote to the regional head office and within a week the site manager was back to look.

Still quite curt and short he said I'd bought a standard residential build and couldn't expect the world

- I actually bought a 3 bed detached and it cost me everything I've ever saved.


I have a 1 year old baby and not once have I been able to allow her on the garden which was one of the reasons for choosing this plot!


eventually the landscapers were back to put in a french drain.

They rotavated the existing turf into the soil,

dug a trench (french drain?)

and then relaid turf afterwards.


It's been 6 weeks since and the turf looks great.

BUT, the ground is still spongy underfoot.

Not as bad as before but still to the point of leaving dents.


I really have no idea what to do or who to approach next.

It's so stressful and incredibly difficult trying to deal with them now I've actually handed over my money!


Any advice or comments would be great.

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sounds as though you have a very high clay content subsoil, that is not letting the water drain away.

Most new houses just have the garden leveled which is normally left with spoil from the house build, unless in the specification it states the garden will be prepared or even turffed.

I would put this solely at the feet of the landscaoers who should have tested or at least seen what thew subsoil was. And NOT laid the turf without telling you what this might lead to.

They should of removed the clayey soil and replaced with a mainly granular drainage layer and then covered that with topsoil and let this settle before laying any turf.

If they reputable landscapers and belong to a trade federation then I would get them to put it right, most cost extra though.

Look on any gardening or lanscaping site for recommendations on the type of soil and preperation for turf laying.

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Thanks for the advice.

Maybe I need to find somebody with a professional background who can come and test the soil.


There must be a limit for acceptable saturation.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on an ongoing issue with a new build property I purchased 7 months ago.

I won't name the developer on here as I'm worried it may prejudice their efforts (if they ever bother!).


I purchased the new build house from a national developer for approx £1000 more than the identical property next door as it had a reasonable sized garden.


This was given as the reason for the price difference.

I have a little girl so stretched to afford the garden so that she had room to play.


Within a few months we realised we still couldn't walk on it without sinking about 5 inches in and finding water pooling just below the surface despite a period of 4 weeks hot weather and no rain.


The problem was reported and the developer literally couldnt have done less to help.

They dug a small trench and said wait another few months.

Nothing changed at all.


When it rains the garden and pation slabs flood completely and I cant leave by the back door because of 4 inches of water against the step.


The developer has agreed its a problem and state they will correct it but as its an expensive job,

it needs to be 'signed off' at a director level.


I was told to wait a few weeks for this to happen.

It's been almost 20 weeks of letters and calls but I continually get fobbed off.

The NHBC are now involved but are being given the run around too.


I saved for years and years to get a deposit that was enough to get a home suitable for my daughter,

so I'm really stressed and frustrated with this.


I've been told by a legal executive who lives nearby that it might be worth taking them through the small claims court eventually, but I have no idea what would be reasonable -


I've been without the use of my garden at all since June 2012 - 7 months.

It cost me an extra £1050 on the house price just because of the garden.

The developer charged £695 to turf the property before we moved in.


They've made 2 appointments to visit which I've taken time off work for, which they failed to turn up at all to.


Not to mention the increased laundry costs of having to use a tumble dryer continuously as I cant get to the outside line at all, countless phone calls and letters.


Two questions, is it reasonable to ask for costs (or damages) and what would be a reasonable amount to claim?

I have no experience with this and would appreciate any insight.





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Suggest that you write to the Chief Executive of the building company, with an independent estimate* of the cost of getting the work done and costs you have suffered. Tell them that you are giving them one last opportunity of putting right the problem or you will resort to litigation against the company, by issuing a court claim against them. Send by recorded delivery.


* Independent estimate. Get an estimate from a local gardening company/landscaper as to how much they would charge to dig up the garden, sort out the drainage issues and relay the lawn.


In view of the amount of rainfall we have had during the last 8 months or so, many people have had these problems. The water table has been very high. In my garden where the drainage is pretty good, the lawn has been soaking after a number of days rain, where normally after a day it has soaked away. Don't rush to a court claim, as I expect that the builder will have experts on their side who will bring up weather issues.

We could do with some help from you.



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What are NHBC doing here?


I had a look at one of their policies and it looks like there is an arbitration agreement in there, under which you can refer your dispute to an NHBC arbitrator. This might be a better option than court. Have a proper read of the claims process guide on NHBC's website.


I think you should be pushing NHBC to do more. Also write a "letter before action" threatening legal action or arbitration against the builder, hopefully that will get them to actually fix the problem.




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Hi, thanks for your replies. Ive started the ball rolling with the NHBC dispute resolution service but its not as straighforward as it might seem. Theyve told me they'll play an independant part but that the responsibility lies with the developer during the forst 2 years and that should be my main point of contact until they are no longer responding to my calls/letter/emails. I'll look into formally writing a notice before action. Thanks for all your advice!

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