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Brand New Home - failed survey - serious build issues ; Legal???. help sought

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I purchased a brand new home from one of the countries' leading developers in Feb 2014.

There are 12 homes in our cul-de-sac.

We exchanged contracts and moved into our so-called new homes within 2 months of each other.

Some were not finished and residents were forced to move in by the developer.

 

 

After some weeks, a couple of residents were moved out of their homes to allow a remedial team access to sort all the issues.

They entered the homes but have just patched up most of the items.

 

In the coming weeks/months numerous problems occurred and the developer was very slow at correcting snags,

as well as what appeared to be more than snags.

 

we set up our own action group.

We have got our MP and local councillors involved

and held constructive meetings with the regional Managing Director from the developer.

 

 

Before the initial meeting we paid for a surveyor to survey one house and use it as a test case.

 

 

The survey was damning and advised that if he was representing a prospective purchaser,

he would advise against the purchase.

 

 

the developer, having ignored the comments by our surveyor, paid for a survey for each of the 12 homes.

Each home has come back with a failed survey based on some structural issues

and also ground levels are too high, mostly above the air bricks and damp proof course.

 

In our opinion, they have broken the contract to provide us with homes that are of proper quality.

We are seeking some advice as to what we can do legally, to

 

 

!. potential for comepensation as this has been a horrific year for most families

 

 

2. in a court of law, can the court force them to buy the homes back at the new market value,

plus award all costs involved since the purchase.

 

 

3. Would we have a winnable case in a court of law, based on the fact the survey have all come back with major issues.

 

Comments are welcome please.

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Did the properties come with 10yr NHBC Guarantee?

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Did you not get a survey done before you purchased your house?

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Did you not get a survey done before you purchased your house?

 

No, none of us obtained a full survey as it was a brand new build. We assumed, as the houses were signed off at each stage, that everything should have been built correctly.

The developer never allowed any of the 12 residents to view their homes prior to the home demo or the actual completion date.

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Can you answer mariner's question.

 

The houses should have included an insurance-backed guarantee such as NHBC.

 

Did they?

 

In the meantime, if there are problems that the developer has identified, then the developer would I think be given time to rectify them.

 

You haven't stated what the problems are. I bought a house 10 years ago that was a rush job (because they did not get the floor levels right the first time and needed to rebuild the stair-case) which meant it had a lot of problems. In my case it was a lot of patching, avoidance, delays and so forth. You have to be patient, prioritise the main issues and be diligent in pushing.

 

While in our case NHBC got involved, they were keen to close the case once the main issues were addressed and we had to live with some issues such as one of the radiators not getting hot enough due to the pipes being smaller than those that were on the plan.

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NHBC/Zurich should sign off on each stage, including completion.

Ask for the report.

Not sure if you could get your money back, but would be able to claim compensation for any major disruption and any ot of pocket costs while repairs are undertaken.

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Under the NHBC guarantee the company has to put right the major faults and if they dont you can invoke the guarantee and the NHBC will get another company to do the necessary work and bill the developer. However, this is often not the end of your problems as the NHBC takes a very catholic approach as to what work is necessary. Try and get agreement with other property owners on things like which surveyor or structural engineer to employ of you do go for independent expert opinion as it will save you all money and hassle.

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Nobody had the foresight to get a full survey done on their homes mostly because we are buying from a trusted developer who surely, shouldnt get it so horribly wrong! Lesson learned there!

 

The developer used Premier Guarantee, not NHBC. It was a sister company of Premier that actually signed off the houses at each stage.

 

Premier has been contacted but they only referred us back to the developer as its apparently their responsibility for the first two years..

 

The problems include:

Ground levels too high , many air bricks below ground level (on every house)

Stairwell walls bowing

Roofs not tied down

Windows have dropped leaving big gaps

Staircases twisting with split knewl posts

There are many more issues caused by sub-standard workmanship, but all these are common issues among the 12 properties, Plus each of us has 100's of general snags too. As someone already mentioned, these houses were thrown up with no supervision or proper sign-off.

 

We have asked for the certificates that were signed off at each stage, but the developer nor Premier will provide us with this information..... sounds very suspicious!

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I'm a builder.

I have been dealing with a case against the original builder of a property built in 2000. It had an NHBC Guarantee.

Very serious roof defects, causing the roof to "spread" creating tension on the internal walls on the first floor which caused the block work to split.

 

I started dealing with it in 2009 (1 year left on the guarantee) It has only just been completed.

5 years to finally admit the "List of errors" and 6 odd months to correct it.

 

Over that period I was shocked at the lack of "general" building knowledge from NHBC inspectors (attempting to find a way out of the claim) and that of the original builders.

 

My advice to you is :

 

Firstly. Join forces with your neighbours.

Secondly. Jointly appoint a GOOD structural engineer for reports on each house. (roughly £800 - £1000 per house) You might cut that lower because of the volume involved.

Third . Solicitor (a GOOD one).

 

This is going to be a long up hill battle.

You will need a "defects list" for each property.

Have you checked your home insurance to see if there is "legal" or any cover ?

 

I wish you " The best of luck"

 

EDIT : I keep stressing the word "GOOD" for a reason !!!! They are like "eels". .... Slip through your hands like "grands of sand".

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Gremlins got that : :wink:

Double post :

EDIT

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well you are entitled to all the certificates from Premier! Its your house they are guaranteeing!

Chase them hard, not by phone though. if copies of certificates not forthcoming, then that's suspicious in itself.

Keep everything in writing.

Also the building regs would need to be signed off, but may not be the council, could be private, so check with them as well.

Defo get a good surveyor or structural engineer to do a report on each house.

If you have a mortgage, get them involved as well.

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Hi RayThanks for your response... - I will write to Premier guarantee, thanks. I agree, very suspicious.... Plus the building regs were signed off by a sister company of Premier (or so we are led to believe)- The housing developer (probably the market leader) doesnt like putting ANYTHING in writing. - One house has had 2 structural surveys done on it. Both failed. The other 11 houses have had structural surveys carried out and all 11 have failed, less than a year since we all took residence.- We are reluctant to contact our mortgage companies, just in case they decide to withdraw the funding or invoke clauses. Its a real tough one as far as that is concerned.its a horrendous situation really. And without good legal support, which costs money that people simply dont have, we dont know where to turn for the best result.The developer has lost all their original back-office senior people which causes concern. All site managers have have departed and new guys installed. We are now on the third MD for the region since December '13.

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the council will have their own records and inspections so speak to the planning dept. If they fialed to do their work properly then in certain circumstances they can be held liable.

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Eric, If the council was not used as the Building regulation authority then they will not have any records;

The client/builder can use any number of regulation inspectors or building regulation checking firms, since it was put into the private domain.

Planning has nothing to do with building control.

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Thanks for all your comments everyone.....

 

I have just come from a 5th Residents meeting. We have had our MP and Councillor with us all along by the way..... The developer sent a Senior executive this time. The others that we had previously met have since departed.

 

He told us that he is here to put everything right and he has a budget to do so. Some homes they will buy back, others will have intrusive survey and works managed by a qualified RICS surveyor.

 

This is the first time they have really admitted liability. He said he has never seen anything like this and wants to put things right.

 

Time will tell if they carry out these promises, but the gentlemen concerned seemed very humble.

 

Thanks for all your commenst.

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That sounds like a Good Result and I'm pleased that he appears to be committing to do the right thing.

 

Lets us know how things progress

Good Luck

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Great news, hope it all goes well and does not take too long.

Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence!

main contractor/developer subs out the works and does not supervise or make checks, inexperienced operatives etc.

However, insurance scheme inspectors are supposed to pick up any defective work along the way as are building control.

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