Author Topic: Buying off-plan - house to be ready by March 2017  (Read 3555 times)

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ashwood3

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Buying off-plan - house to be ready by March 2017
« on: October 26, 2016, 10:48:33 pm »
Hi

We are interested in buying an off-plan property in rainy Scotland. The house is expected to be ready by March 2017. However, my concern is if they build during winter is there a higher chance of dampness of wood during build phase? They have confirmed that it would be a timber frame, how can we check if the moisture level is in accordance with regulation at the time of build?

Any guidance around this would be appreciated!

Admin - note of thanks to you as this website has provided invaluable information for those interested in buying new build homes.

Many thanks
G


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Re: Buying off-plan - house to be ready by March 2017
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2016, 09:18:01 am »
You are right to be concerned about buying a timber frame new home, especially one  that will be constructed during the winter months in "rainy Scotland."

TRADA and the NHBC state that during construction, the timber components must not become saturated and the moisture content of the timber must not exceed 20%.  In practice most timber components will get wet at some point during construction. As far as timber frame is concerned, the worst place is at the sole plate (on the ground floor. This can often sit in water for days sometimes weeks. It is vital that the wall is not insulated, vapour barrier and boarded until the moisture content is below 20%.

Ask the site manager if he has a moisture metre.  I highly suspect he won't!   
So how will he know when the timber is dried out enough to be boarded?

Timber frame is in my opinion inherently problematic. It benefits housebuilders not homebuyers.
On a personal level, I wouldn't have a timber frame home if it was given to me.

There will be shrinkage issues, the wetter the timber gets the worse the shrinkage. There is also a very high probability of mould and damp, some of which may be hidden.
You may like to read these pages:
General overview of Timber Frame
Things to consider when buying a timber frame new home
Quality issues with timber frame new homes
Fire and timber frame new homes

If all this wasn't bad enough, your new home is in Scotland which has severe exposure to extreme weather conditions.

Thank you for your kind feedback regarding the main website.
There are many articles that you and other new home buyers and owners may also be interested in the New Home Blog too!
New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.

Tim Fee Snagging Inspector

ashwood3

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Re: Buying off-plan - house to be ready by March 2017
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 01:35:08 pm »
Thanks for your input, NHE. Much appreciated!

I had read those pages on this website which is why I have an increased concern regarding the moisture content in Timber frames. However, what I have clearly missed is the specific issue at the sole plate and how insulation of the wall needs done as a result. That is very useful and I will certainly be taking it up with the site manager.

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Re: Buying off-plan - house to be ready by March 2017
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 06:17:32 am »
The wall insulation (between the timber frame studs) is done anyway, it has nothing to do with the sole plate or moisture. 
What I was saying is that the timber frame must be below 20% moisture content before the internal walls are covered up (with insulation, vapour barrier and then plasterboard. 
The sole plate is just the most likely place where the moisture content will be highest as it sits on the concrete floor, albeit on a dpc or should do.

Just out of interest, have you signed this petition yet?
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167660
New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.

ashwood3

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Re: Buying off-plan - house to be ready by March 2017
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 10:29:34 am »
Yes, I got your point there.
No, I have not - will have a look.

One more thing;
When I asked about the type of foundation they are using in the off-plan property we intend to buy I have been told by the builder that the foundation is Block Wall plate with timber and joist.

Now I have not come across this type of foundation anywhere online.
When mentioning timber and joist it sounds like she is telling me about the type of construction of walls?

Do you know what this could be?

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Re: Buying off-plan - house to be ready by March 2017
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2016, 07:03:49 am »
To be honest I have no idea what a "Block Wall Plate with timber and joist is"

Foundations are generally either Piled, Raft, Strip or Trench fill. All involve copious amounts of concrete with not a stick of timber in sight!

I assume you are talking to the sales advisor?
Believe me they know NOTHING about how new homes are built.
Ask to speak to the site manager or ask for a technical information sheet.

You are entitled to all this information under the Consumer Code for Home Builders.
If you have reserved you should have been given a copy under Code requirement 1.2
New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.