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Mercurial

Wet, collapsed 7 year old conservatory floor, who is responsible?

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Advice regarding a conservatory?
 
It was installed in 2012, with a 10 year guarantee.
 
My partner bought the house two years ago, (in December 2018 we had the conservatory company out to fix a leaking roof from slipped glass)
 
Last week he fell through the conservatory floor, leaving a large hole from which we saw the floor beneath the laminate was soaked through! We pulled some of the flooring up to find the floor boarding was wet & covered in black mould & the joists were soaked through & rotten, flaking apart by touch alone. Also the concrete floor under that was under a good few inches of water too.
 
We contacted the conservatory company & they said we we're not covered under the 10 year guarantee issued as the guarantee is with the previous house owner (it is in her name) and there is nothing they can do. Despite the fact they came out in December 2018 to fix the glass roof panes..
 
We then contacted the ombudsman who said the same.. however they did tell us that the guarantee doesn't seem to even be in the name of the previous home owner!
We then tried our home insurance, who also said we are not covered.. So basically we'd like some idea of where we stand on this, it all seems bizarre that for a guaranteed conservatory & house/building insurance we're not covered anywhere on a 7 year old conservatory.
It all seems crazy!
The photos speak for themselves.. my OH has had to pull up the floor as its obviously so dangerous & as you can see the water is still seeping in.
 
Any advice at all?
 

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21cece46-3497-47f0-9b0d-6899a2d32177.jpg

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Hi and Welcome to the Forum.

 

The following seems to confirm what you have discovered....

 

‘Don’t just assume a warranty or guarantee will automatically transfer to you if you’re buying a property,’ says Sonita Hayward, associate solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp.

‘It depends on the company’s terms and conditions, and these can differ wildly.

‘It would seem so logical for a guarantee covering work such as damp proofing or woodworm treatment to stay with the building. But so often a company won’t transfer a guarantee to the new owner of the property. It very much limits their liability.’

 

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2800534/how-check-guarantees-protect-costly-bills-move.html

 

Regards

 

Andy


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1 minute ago, Andyorch said:

Hi and Welcome to the Forum.

 

The following seems to confirm what you have discovered....

 

‘Don’t just assume a warranty or guarantee will automatically transfer to you if you’re buying a property,’ says Sonita Hayward, associate solicitor at Bolt Burdon Kemp.

‘It depends on the company’s terms and conditions, and these can differ wildly.

‘It would seem so logical for a guarantee covering work such as damp proofing or woodworm treatment to stay with the building. But so often a company won’t transfer a guarantee to the new owner of the property. It very much limits their liability.’

 

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2800534/how-check-guarantees-protect-costly-bills-move.html

 

Regards

 

Andy

 

Thanks Andy.. Surely the company are still liable in some way though? It's not like its not a major thing... wouldn't there be a building regulations issue? Anything?

The floor is well below the half a damp course they've managed to put in..and its been built over a manhole/drain

If any building regs have been breached, does a photocopied sheet of A4 with 'Guarantee' in an italic font and little else , really hold up?

:(

 

 

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Local paper.

See if they’ll run it as an item of local interest, on the “choose your company carefully, not all warranties are the same, consider getting one where the warranty transfers to a new owner”

 

It might just shame the company into action, in an attempt at damage limitation (their damage, not yours!)

 

Are they a local / franchised / national firm?

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Even if the company are liable (if sued under contract law!) they are liable to the original owner, not you .....

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Just a thought. 

 

When your OH bought the house,  was there a survey done? It's a long shot but maybe something was missed?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, BazzaS said:

Local paper.

See if they’ll run it as an item of local interest, on the “choose your company carefully, not all warranties are the same, consider getting one where the warranty transfers to a new owner”

 

It might just shame the company into action, in an attempt at damage limitation (their damage, not yours!)

 

Are they a local / franchised / national firm?

 Hi Bazza,

They're a small local company, with shocking reviews online.. they don't appear to have any shame whatsoever.. not sure if we can name & shame here?

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Just now, honeybee13 said:

Just a thought. 

 

When your OH bought the house,  was there a survey done? It's a long shot but maybe something was missed?

 

HB

 Yeah, I was thinking that, next stop the solicitor to see who did the survey & conveyancing - one would have thought they'd know about transferring guarantees over or whatever..

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Is that a "live" manhole which has been covered under the floor?!?!?!

Where's the water coming through?

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Allegedly from the roof but a leaking roof would not cause that much rot and damp...it should have been a concrete floor with a raised accessible manhole from  inception.

Bad Workmanship. 


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34 minutes ago, Mercurial said:

 Hi Bazza,

They're a small local company, with shocking reviews online.. they don't appear to have any shame whatsoever.. not sure if we can name & shame here?

 

Provided you comply with site rules (not making any unsubstantiated accusation, not calling them crooks, and so on), my understanding of site rules allows you to:

a) name them

b) make factual statements you can show to be true (so, “we asked them to cover it under the guarantee, and they declined cover”)

 

I’m not site team, though, but that is my understanding (it aims to prevent / reduce the risk of the site being sued for defamation)

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Leaking roof would have left other marks on walls. 

Looks more like water ingress from ground level.

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You should start off by telling us the name of the company which carried out the work – unless you feel that you need to protect their reputation for them.

On what basis did the insurance company decline liability?

Have you carried out any exploration in order to ascertain the source of the water? This is extremely important.

Have you had any opinions as to how the floor should have been constructed? Or maybe it was constructed correctly but the ingress of water was the problem.


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10 hours ago, king12345 said:

Is that a "live" manhole which has been covered under the floor?!?!?!

Where's the water coming through?

Yep. It’s both soil from the house and top water from the conservatory guttering that go through that drain. 

After pulling up the floor the water seems to be coming  through the first course of bricks. 

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10 hours ago, Andyorch said:

Allegedly from the roof but a leaking roof would not cause that much rot and damp...it should have been a concrete floor with a raised accessible manhole from  inception.

Bad Workmanship. 

A bit of confusion. The roof was leaking slightly so we got the company that built it to come out and fix it.  

The leak was minimal a few drips that I managed to catch with a bucket before any damage was done. 

The problem started a few months later when the floor gave in. 

I believe the ground work and brick work has not been done to the right standard. Rain water is coming off the garden straight through the outer course of bricks filling the cavity with water then  through the inner breez block and filling the void between the concrete base and the floor joists up like a swimming pool

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I'm sorry that you haven't answered my questions above – especially about the insurance.

Insurance companies decline liability as a matter of course. It is important to understand the basis upon which they are refusing.

Typically insurance companies will not cover you for the fault itself but any damage which flows from that is generally speaking insured.

If that's correct in this case – although you haven't told us why the insurer declined, then you say you have identified a failed course of bricks. That would be the fault – uninsured – and then the damage which is caused by the fault would typically be insured. If this is correct then the insurance would have to pick up the bill for the repairs to the damage caused by the leak.

 

You should also name the company involved – as has been suggested here more than once.


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From your paperwork,  can you assess if the base was built by the same company that fitted the conservatory?

A lot of them refuse to build bases for this very reason and considering that it's a completely different trade, different skills, different tools needed.

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6 hours ago, BankFodder said:

I'm sorry that you haven't answered my questions above – especially about the insurance.

Insurance companies decline liability as a matter of course. It is important to understand the basis upon which they are refusing.

Typically insurance companies will not cover you for the fault itself but any damage which flows from that is generally speaking insured.

If that's correct in this case – although you haven't told us why the insurer declined, then you say you have identified a failed course of bricks. That would be the fault – uninsured – and then the damage which is caused by the fault would typically be insured. If this is correct then the insurance would have to pick up the bill for the repairs to the damage caused by the leak.

 

You should also name the company involved – as has been suggested here more than once.

Apologies for the late reply. Busy night shift. 

 

The insurance (Halifax) told me that the only way they would be willing to help is by getting their legal team involved to fight against TWS Leeds the window company. But as I haven’t selected legal cover there is nothing they can do. 

I tried pushing for them to send someone out but they repeated there’s nothing they can do. 

 

I think my mistake was saying shoddy construction.  As the woman on the phone seemed to take this on board. 

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Thank you – but this doesn't address my question as to why your claim was declined. I understand that the company is called TW S Leeds. Are they the people who built the conservatory including the faulty brickwork? Did they construct the entire conservatory?



 


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25 minutes ago, king12345 said:

From your paperwork,  can you assess if the base was built by the same company that fitted the conservatory?

A lot of them refuse to build bases for this very reason and considering that it's a completely different trade, different skills, different tools needed.

It doesn’t say anywhere on the paperwork. I have thought about emailing and asking the same question. 

Tho i appreciate where you’re coming from. From my point of view it was all done by TWS leeds. 

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31 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

Thank you – but this doesn't address my question as to why your claim was declined. I understand that the company is called TW S Leeds. Are they the people who built the conservatory including the faulty brickwork? Did they construct the entire conservatory?



 

They just said I wasn’t covered. If it was storm damage I would be. But as it’s not I’m not.  

 

This was just just the first phone call Then we came on here for some advice. 

I will be calling them back and asking to take this further now I have a better understanding of my rights. 

 

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Firstly, are you recording your calls? Have you read our customer services guide? Do this before you have any telephone contact.

Secondly, have you had any expert opinion as to the cause of the problem. I think that you are going to have to compartmentalise the problem so that you identify the source of the water, the point of ingress, and the consequent damage.

I haven't seen your insurance policy but if you are generally speaking insured against damp and so forth then the insurance will probably exclude the point of ingress – which would be the building fault. That could be the subject of a separate legal action but we will see as we go along.

Secondly, you should check your insurance policy now and see whether conservatories are excluded. I'm afraid that this kind of thing can happen. If they exclude a conservatory then you need to understand what they mean by a conservatory. It sounds to me as if you have had your structure built on a brick foundation and it may be that that is within the area of cover. Check this out immediately.

You will be best off putting things in writing to your insurance company.

Therefore I suggest you do things in this order:

Check your policy
get an expert opinion to identify the ingress point
come back here.

 

When you check the policy you are going to look for what they cover – in other words to think that they will cover the point of ingress
what they don't cover – do you think that conservatories are excluded.

Please can you try and deal with all these points carefully. You can't imagine how difficult it is to keep on asking questions and find that they're not addressed.


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1 hour ago, Mercurial said:

It doesn’t say anywhere on the paperwork. I have thought about emailing and asking the same question. 

Tho i appreciate where you’re coming from. From my point of view it was all done by TWS leeds. 

 

Normally sub contractors but done to TWS specifications


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have you determined the cause of th ingress of water? Flood isnt just rivers bursting their banks,.

Also the guarantee can be passed on under the rights of the property transfer so unless the guarantee specifically excludes that then you bought the guarantee with the house and it doesnt matter whose name is on the paperwork

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