Author Topic: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.  (Read 7475 times)

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SuslifeP

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Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« on: July 15, 2016, 12:05:08 pm »
I have been working for some clients and we have been getting somewhere with the builders, the main thing that brought the directors to the table is proof of non-compliance of building regulations, this puts them in the firing line.

One of the biggest issues in new buildings is very poor thermal performance, the first thing that is picked up is missing insulation and this can be easily 'fixed' by putting in a bit more which costs nothing significant and will, in most cases, keep the owners happy.

What is very rarely picked up is the fact that the walls are dry lined, plasterboard stuck to the walls with blobs of plaster, this has to be sealed along the top, down the corners and around all the electrical outlets. This is almost never done and, as it is hidden within the walls, cannot be seen.

Thermal imaging will pick this up and you can see the individual dots and dabs proving conclusively that the walls have not been sealed. Unsealed dry lining is one of the biggest sources of heat loss in new buildings, the void behind the plasterboard acts like a chimney and allows heat to flow upwards through conduction and convection into the roof void and away. It has also raised serious concerns with the Fire Authorities because it can enable a fire to spread much more rapidly through a building because it can supply a fire with a good source of air.

I have so many people asked me why their new home is so cold and their energy bills are much higher than they were in the older homes they moved out of and drylining is one of the main reasons for this.

Proving that materials have not been installed to NHBC, manufacturer's and even the builder's own specification leaves the house builder with nowhere to hide when it comes to excuses, I have even questioned the NHBC as to why they have signed-off such work and they couldn't give me an answer.

The builders of a house I have been working on have agreed with the NHBC's findings that all the walls are going to have to be stripped back to first fix, the top floor room in roof area is going to be removed and stripped back to the roof structure and the whole house basically refitted from first fix with independent verification at varying stages that the work is to standard.

The surveys I carry out are around £300 plus travel expenses, other companies charge considerably more and don't go into the same detail that I do. You then need to hand the report to a director, not the customer care manager and place it in their hand don't send it!


anthyboy

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Re: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 08:09:55 pm »
My mind has been opened!

Question, funny you should mention dry lining and plasterboards. Last weekend I knocked through from my hallway to my attached garage. Plasterboard garage side (two of them together) were screwed, not a blob of plaster in sight.

Is this the proper methods for fixing the boards? Would this provide the seal to prevent the heat loss you are talking about?

NHE makes an interesting point (which I didn't think about when responding) that clearly if still in negotiations then it wouldn't be wise to name and shame for your clients sake!

But in your response you say its been agreed to go back to pretty much first fix, therefore seems to me that negotiations are over and outcome agreed. What I am wondering is given your evidence is that damning, has there been an attempt by the builders as part of their willingness to address, that their names are not disclosed?

As for a legal case against a particular builder for failing to comply with building regulations (as part of deliberate company policy), if and when the New Homes Ombudsmen comes to fruition this is what will make the real difference, as NHE and many new build homeowners will be jumping for joy when they get hit for millions for deliberate malpractice (like the energy company's, like the banking sector and come to mind any organisation that has a ombudsmen with a lot of power).

When you think about it, makes you wonder how they have escaped for so long.
Could it be the complete lack of housing building to the scale required, therefore Government doesn't want to put up any regulations which will affect the major house building plc's!
Most important purchase most people will make in their lifetime and comes with the least amount of protection of any industry!


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Re: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2016, 05:03:19 am »
Your mind has only just been opened Anthyboy?
I think this forum and the information on my website is pretty comprehensive.

Screwing plasterboard is normal on timber studs and ceiling joists.
On blockwork, boards should be stuck with dabs and continuous ribbons of adhesive around the perimeters.

An Ombudsman is not a Regulator and vice versa.
The New Homes Ombudsman is for consumers to get redress and proper justifiable compensation.
It will not be a 'Regulator' of the house building industry.

That will be my next challenge but only after the New Homes Ombudsman has been running for a few years and data will  prove the need for a regulator.
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anthyboy

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Re: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2016, 10:47:20 am »
NHE,

Ref - ' My mind has been opened ' quote, this was specifically in response to the use of a Thermal Survey.

Your website is extremely comprehensive (I have stated this on numerous occasions).

You are right about an Ombudsmen, it's there to resolve individual disputes between businesses providing house building + after care services and consumers, as an alternative to the civil courts.

I should have been more accurate in distinction between an Ombudsmen & a Regulator.
I naturally assumed that if an an Ombudsmen is set up them a Regulator would follow. Though I think an Ombudsmen is a very important step, do you agree with me that if they were regulated like the Energy Sector through Ofgen (that could look at an issue company wide and impose high penalties, this would be the game changer!)

Couple of questions for you:

1. Is this going to be a New build homes Ombudsmen? or is it going to be incorporated into an already existing one, like the Property Ombudsmen.

2. My understanding is a Company has to sign up to an Ombudsmen, therefore what makes you think that these house builders will do that? I suppose if they don't it a clear indication to buyer's not to go with them.

If you look at sectors with Regulators, like energy & Banking they are still rife with malpractice but at least there's the chance of recourse and penalties high enough to make them think about changing their ways. Think Data for a Regulator is already here on your webpage, just think about the amount of unhappy buyers that don't know about it!

This seems to be your personal mission to improve the New Build Housing industry, has this been a lonely journey or have you had help along the way? Just curious. Must be satisfying knowing your webpage  has help so many people!

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Re: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2016, 10:59:19 am »
I see. A thermal image survey can be very revealing.  It needs to be done on a cold day, with the heating turned up full blast in my opinion.  (see Photos below the Blue is cold air getting in!)

I doubt there will ever be a Regulator for new homes to fine errant housebuilders and haul their CEOs to Parliamentary Inquiries but we can all dream.

The New Homes Ombudsman must be a completely separate stand-alone Ombudsman, government-appointed and audited; completely separate from the house building industry and any other Ombudsman "services".

It will be paid for by all house builders, via a compulsory levy. I have suggested initially, a £100 per home built each year. Each complaint against a house builder would mean the housebuilder also had to pay £500 towards the investigation and administration of the complaint.
Housebuilders would not be able to choose not to use it or to opt-out, in the same way banks and insurance cannot choose to not use the Financial Ombudsman Service.



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Re: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2016, 11:13:56 am »
Personal mission to improve quality of new homes and service from builders to buyers?  Yes.
Ten years of long hard graft. Seven of which virtually full-time and unpaid.
No, no one has helped me with the website or split the load. It is all just me.

I campaigned for over two years to get the New Home Ombudsman to where it is now.
(Lots of people trying to take credit for it  but screen shot prove who has done the graft!)

Yes it is satisfying helping people, warning them and perhaps saving some from making a terrible mistake.
In the main, people get whatever they want from the website and I hear nothing, so I can only imagine how many people have benefitted. (1million a year perhaps?)
Sometimes (rarely) I get an e mail thanking me or even a donation as a show of appreciation.

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anthyboy

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Re: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2016, 02:51:50 pm »
Think I have suggested before, you should have a membership fee or a fee to cover specific questions that people ask you directly. At least to cover your cost and workload.

I paid a £5 donation, but if I'm honest if it had be a higher amount for a membership fee I would have paid it to get the information and specifics I was after.

If I can help in the future then message me!

Cheers for your hard work

Ant


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Re: Getting the builder to the negotiating table.
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2016, 06:17:53 am »
Thanks Ant, I wasn't hinting, I remember the good guys!
The problem with subscription is that the information would be lost to many, many people.
For example people in the media visit my website, perhaps daily and it means that I have the opportunity to educate.
It was never about the money, I am happy if people just show their appreciation as you have done.

Just imagine what it would be like, if we had to pay for access to everything on the Internet?
 

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.