Author Topic: Walker Group (Scotland)  (Read 18623 times)

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anthyboy

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2015, 09:10:02 am »
Just a little update, it has now been just over 5 month since I moved in.

Still happy with the house, but it is true as you live and settle into your new home you will start to notice things that you or your snagging inspector (if you used one) didn't pick up on. Nothing major, it is worth doing a full inspection every now and then, I would suggest maybe getting a fresh set of eyes to look over will help. Just to make sure you take every opportunity within the first 2 years whilst it's the house builder's responsibility. Also email all snags, so you have a log of things you have picked up.

Everyone knows new homes are overpriced and you pay a premium, this is why you really need to drive for a discount! Because not only are you paying higher amount in property price terms but you also don't get a completed house as standard - mud rear garden, no side fences (only temp markers), no flooring throughout, a lot don't have wardrobes as standard. Even things like lamp shades and toilet roll holders & BLINDS all have added expense.

What I have spent so far:

1. Carpet (4 bedrooms, upstairs hallway & stairs, front room) £1,800 including fitting & 10mm underlay (looked at house builder's recommendation- very expensive at least a £1,000 more than this)

2. Roller blinds (4) in bedrooms, (1) in kitchen, (2) small blinds on French doors & a real wood blind in front room window. still another 5/6 windows to get done, made to measure, fitted blinds are hugely expensive and so far spent £1,100

3. Kitchen/utility/downstairs toilet tiles - £1000
4. Upstairs toilet/ en suite floor tiles - £ 250
5. Downstairs hallway rubber effect wooden flooring £ 250
6. To get all of 3,4 & 5 done - labour cost £500, I got a friend to do it, it would probably have been double if I got someone else.

7. Garden £2,700 (did have quite a lot done), cheaper if all you want is just turf.
8. Garden side fence & gate materials £430 - again knew someone for materials and did it myself.
9. Garden French doors wooden steps and decking area materials £500 - done myself

10. Lamp shades, toilet roll holders, wallpaper so far £200



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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2015, 10:42:12 am »
Good to have your feedback Anthyboy.

I would be surprised if a professional snagging inspector missed anything.
The two-year warranty period isn't for perpetual snagging items.  There comes a time when snags are maintenance such as marks on walls, cracking etc. It is essential that everything is recorded IN WRITING with the housebuilder. This can be valuable proof if the warranty provider needs to get involved, even in years 3 to 10!

New homes are overpriced. And it is also true you have to factor in many other costs.
This is why I added this page to the main website The cost of buying a new home
Most people forget even the unavoidable costs such as solicitor's and stamp duty and get a nasty shock! It can cost around £20,000 to move to a new home.

I am surprised, given it is a 4 bedroom house, that any fencing was necessary.  Walker Group must give the bare minimum they can get away with!
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anthyboy

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2016, 10:17:40 pm »
Just another quick update.

It's been almost a year since taking ownership of my Walker Group home, still happy and content with how things have gone and going! Any snags are still getting rectified, Walker Group operate an 8 week programme for repairs. You report it, they add it to the 8 week check up, take a look and confirm it is a snag and agree  a date for it to be completed. They have not declined any snags I have reported, though they could do with being a bit more efficient at completing and finishing snags when they say they will!

But I might just about to have my first disagreement with them, I turfed my rear garden 6 months ago and didn't put any drainage in (maybe I should have).

Problem is my garden is very much clay based, with a slope of just under a meter from back fence of garden slopping towards the house, Whenever it rains (I'm in Scotland so that is most of the year) water pools by the back of the house a fair amount. There are three small covers in the garden covering pipes which I assume is for overflow in case of block drains? To prevent it being backed up into the house?

Walker Group state on their move in pack that don't do any drainage for rear gardens and that home buyers should consider this when changing the conditions of your garden i.e. putting in tree's or laying a lawn. Then they state that any pools of water over 3 meters from the house is not considered a fault by themselves or NHBC.

My question is this, can I ask then to put drainage in?
Do you think if they refuse I have a fair shout going through the dispute process?

My argument will be:

1. They are the experts and should know clay base soil will pool water especially with a slope towards the house (I'm sure they do)

2. By adding top soil & turf I have added extra absorption and If I hadn't done this the problem would be more profound.

3. NHBC states (I believe) any significant pool of water within 3 metres is a fault/snag, my is 1 metre from the back of house for pretty much the entire width of the property.

I would like to know you thoughts and advice in this matter, am I be unreasonable in what I'm going to request? I haven't contacted them over this matter yet!

Cheers for any advice

Anthony

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2016, 08:03:11 am »
First of all I am surprised you have had such a good experience with Walker with them fixing your snags "every 8 weeks". I assume the site manager is still on site, things may be different after the site is finished.
Many buyers of Walker homes have not been as lucky!
The manholes in your garden are access points for rodding drainpipes to clear blockages -  not for overflowing!

Regarding your rear garden drainage:
You are correct that any ponding water within 3 metres of the structure of your house is considered a defect under the NHBC warranty.
I would also agree that the topsoil and turf would slow the water down and provide some absorption making ponding near the house less likely.
You have a valid claim under the warranty which Walker will have to address.
You are definitely not being unreasonable although I fully suspect Walker will be!




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anthyboy

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2016, 09:28:43 pm »
Cheers for your quick reply!

You are correct and the site manager is still on site and will be for the majority of my first 2 years, lucky for me I guess. Also my house is opposite the show home and I assume having a disgruntled customer so close to potential buyers may have some bearing.

Thanks for confirming what I thought was correct regarding NHBC standards.

I will be confronting this issue next month when I am back and once I have taken photo's of the said pooling of water!

I will of course keep everyone updated on how it goes,it's always good to know how the builders will react when its not a straight forward and easy fix!

Cheers

Ant

anthyboy

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2016, 10:47:49 pm »
Update in ref to my drainage issue's I posted about last time.

PSB - for how the conversation went:

Quote
Charlotte,
 
I gave a list of snags that were required to be rectified in a previous email, these were added to the 8 week check that the site manager carries out.
 
Derek came and gave a date for this to be dealt with, the work was started but not completed and I am still waiting for it to be finished!
 
Given that we already wait up to 8 weeks to have these issues resolved, having to wait over and above the agreed date is not on. Especially as if I don't send this email it won't get done!
 
Outstanding work:
 
Left hand reveal not finished (Kitchen french doors)
Right hand reveal still not finished from previous snag list (8 weeks before this current one).
Hole in wall -again previous snag list.
Ensuite shower - water suddenly goes scolding hot, engineer booked but didn't come out and Derek was meant to be chasing this up!
 
New jobs:
 
Downstairs toilet - radiator leaking
Bath - only produces luke warm water
 
I know Derek is probably a busy man (but we all are), I don't think me having to constantly send emails through you to get jobs done, lives up to your stated after-care 'excellence' you proudly proclaim. Your time is clearly not free, so what make you think mine is? If you say you are going to do something then do it, when you say you will!!! If you can't for whatever XYZ reason then at least have the common courtesy to inform me and not waste mine or my wife's time waiting about.
 
I get home about 2- 3 weekends a month, during this time this time I should be able to enjoy with my family in my Walker Group home, not chasing outstanding jobs through your site manager or sales rep.
 
Also on another note, my rear garden constantly pools with water at back of my house, for pretty much the entire width. This is within 1m of my property which easily falls within the NHBC standards as a defect.
 
My wife asked Derek about this and he stated you don't deal with garden drainage, this I believe is incorrect when it constitutes a defect within the NHBC guidance when within 3m of the property.
 
Please ask Derek to look at this again, I imagine you will dig your heels in over this and I will need to take you to NHBC resolution service, but maybe you will surprise me!
 
Finally I draw your attention to the web page - brand-newhomes.co.uk (forum - General Discussion) where I have documented all my dealings with Walker Group & my experiences so far, this has attracted nearly 5,000 viewings so far and as far as I can tell the only review on Walker group (apart from your own) on the web. I have stated clearly & precisely what you as a company have been like, to be fair you have been quite reasonable to date, but things are stating to slide a bit. In an industry of outstanding incompetence & customer rip-off you seem to be of a higher quality than the others (which is why I brought a house with you). Please don't make me question my views.
 
Regards
 
Anthony


Quote
Good Afternoon Mr P
 
Thank you for your e-mail.  We apologise for any inconvenience caused  with regards to Aftersales. 
 
On checking we can understand that final works to the reveals is in hand.
 
Derek did agree to repair the hole in the wall caused by the "Sky" engineer, as a gesture of goodwill, and arranged for our subcontractor to carry out the works which unfortunately was misinterpreted.  Derek  re-arranged for the works to be completed on Saturday, 12 March 2016.
 
En-suite Shower – Triton confirmed that on the visit they arranged direct with you they could not get access as your wife was unaware of the visit.  We understand that Triton will now contact you again to reschedule the visit.  Please let me know if contact has not been made by next Tuesday 22 March 2016 ( I will be on holiday from Wednesday this week until Tuesday).
 
The new issues advised will be added to our Aftersales Report to be inspected by Derek on our Aftersales visit day, Wednesday, 30 March 2016 with any works authorised on the day being carried out on Wednesday, 13 April 2016.  Please advise if the dates are unsuitable and we will re-schedule for the following Aftersales visit date.
 
Our Construction Manager inspected your garden yesterday, and we will respond further on the issue once he compiles his report.
 
We are a family run business and endeavour to give a high standard of service to all our homeowners.  If you have any further concerns please do not hesitate in contacting us and we will do our very best to assist.
 
Best Regards


Quote
Good morning Charlotte,

I can confirm most of the outstanding work is completed or well in hand.

I will of course keep you informed in ref to Triton.

I note your are a family run business, no one gets it right all the time! Time and pressure affect all, but its how you deal with a complaint that matters. Thankyou for your swift response in dealing with my issue's.

I will eagerly await your response once you have gathered evidence you require from your Construction Manager's report.

Enjoy your Holiday.

Kind Regards

Anthony


Quote
Good Afternoon Mr P
 
My construction colleagues have advised:-
 
"In general we are required to suitably restore the natural drainage characteristics of the soil within 3 m of the home. This was done at completion stage of the house by removing any builders debris, breaking up the compacted soil and the placing of topsoil in the garden. There have been no recorded garden drainage issues within a reasonable timescale from handover. We clearly advise in our handover information that we do not install drainage within gardens and that the home owner should make provision for this when carrying out work in their garden.  As we have no control over the work carried out by the home owner we cannot be held responsible after the event so would not propose any action on our part in this respect." 
 
Best Regards



Quote
Afternoon Charlotte,

Having read your report from your construction manager it predictable, expected and a load of shite!

You didn't remove building debris and you certainly didn't put topsoil down, I did!

I put topsoil and turf down which would absorb more water than having nothing as you left it.

Under the warranty Walker are liable for all defects that occur from non-compliance with the NHBC Standards in the first two years as you very well know, having a clay base soil with a decline of a meter towards the house will pool water as you very well know! You are meant to be the experts!

As for no recorded drainage problems recorded in a reasonable amount of time, unless you are stupid you should realise it will only show full extent of problem depending on the weather, it has always had drainage issues, but didn't realise how bad until recently!

Whether you put drainage in or not is up to you, but if failing to do it causes a fault clearly stated by NHBC then it become your fault, especially as what I have done has improved any absorption of water. I have taken expert advice on this matter as well, with the advice given I have a clear case for you make good drainage issue.

I find your response insulting and your family business approached no different from the other house builders out there, customer rip-off and profit only minded.

To that end, you have one week to come back to me with an agreeable solution, then I will start a sustained attack not only informing every person who has brought a house on the estate of the drainage right under NHBC, when it rains I will take photos showing full extent of drainage issue which will be used when I go through resolutions service, if that fails legal action (I have free legal protection) and I will exhaust it all!!

These photos will be put online with your pathetic responses, plus issues I've had after my property was handed over which I have kept to myself and my professional snagging inspection report which is dim reading!

I am on leave next two weeks, and I will be going in to express my dissatisfaction over this issue, I will also be inviting potential clients over to my house to show them the garden they could get, let's hope it not raining as they will need wellies, it is Scotland rain almost 100% guaranteed!

Finally I'm going to write to Mike Walker to ask why he expects people not to receive what they have paid for! I thought you were a different type of company I was wrong! If you think I will take this quitely, incorrect I used money saved from two tours away from my family to buy this house, you think you are going to rip me off!

PS the shower people haven't arranged visit either!

I'm now on a mission to expose what your business ethics really are.



Quote
Charlotte,

PSA - leaflet that will be distributed to every house hold on the Meadowcroft estate.

This will happen on 31 Mar 16.

On the 7 Apr 16, with the leaflet annotated with my phone number. I will be circulating it around:

Maltings
Hazelbrooke
Bonnyrigg
East Calder
Kirklisten
North Berwich

I'm sure I will not be the only one to be suffering from this issue.

Quote
Good Afternoon Mr P
 
On receipt of your e-mail I spoke further with my construction colleagues and it was agreed that our Site Manager  would carry out a further inspection of your garden.  I understand that Derek actually met with you this morning and we can now advise that a length of drainage will be installed along the base of the house to assist with drainage within 3 metres. Our ground workers are on holiday at present however the relevant works will be programmed in by our site personnel as soon as possible.
 
I have also been advised that our plumbing subcontractor has sourced a replacement shower which is being installed today.
 
Whilst we understand  your frustration we do not think the offencive language used in your e-mail is appropriate.



Quote
Evening Charlotte,

I can confirm I have spoken to Derek this morning, with what he has said and what you have confirmed in your email I am halting for the moment the previous stated action I was going to take. This clearly is on the provision that the remedial work is carried out in a reasonable time frame and the work is to a high standard with it solving the issue's surrounding water logging within 3m of my house, plus restoring any area effected by either remedial work or damage done due to insufficient drainage being installed.

In reference to the shower, it has been changed and seems to have solved the problem. This is appreciated.

Having noted your final comment regarding offensive language I re-read what I sent. The language I have used seems appropriate to me, being direct, blunt and to the point seems to me the most efficient way of resolving issues. But I accept that it may have been interpreted as me having a go at you, this was not my intention but more my frustration at the flawed advice you were receiving. So to that end I apologise if you felt my anger was directed purely at you, it wasn't.

I have a clear sense of what is right & wrong, I won't try and claim for anything that I'm not entitled to, but if we are honest you (Walker Group) didn't treat me the same way. I am fully conversant with Policies & Procedures, but even if I wasn't, your integrity should kick in and be a standard setter within your industry.

I don't want to go down the lines of threats and counter actions, it wastes my time and yours! But please bear in mind if future disagreements occur that I expect NHBC guidance be followed.

Kind Regards

Mr P


Clearly a long drawn out conversation, maybe too militant for some but effective. My drainage has now been installed and seems to be doing a good job.

I still feel that Walker Group are better than the bigger companies, at least they cared enough about their reputations to resolve the issue. The bad thing is if they had of been a 'so-called bigger company' I don't think it would of had the same effect!

Only way to really judge this company is to have more feedback, so come on people feel free to comment!!!

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2016, 07:53:39 am »
I find it quite amazing that, given how bad your home was at handover and the obvious difficulties you have had over quite a considerable time (over a year) battling with this dreadful company to get them fully resolved and their intransigence, you are still apparently happy to imply that in your experience they are better than the bigger housebuilders.

This is a company that, after ignoring your reasonable requests to get the home you bought to the required standards, then have the bare-faced cheek to then question the tone of your communications with them, when because of their inertia, you became increasingly and quite understandably frustrated!

They are no worse and certainly no better than any other housebuilder.
I bet Mike Walker cares more about the tomatoes in his greenhouse than he does about his customers and their homes.



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anthyboy

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2016, 08:16:21 pm »
New Home Expert, I know you feel new build home companies are devil in disguise! Reading the pages on this website and feeling the anger & upset that people are going through its not hard to see why!

I'm no expert, I have brought one new build home from one company, therefore my exposure and knowledge is limited on this topic!

If you are adamant on buying new-build, this is why I would choose Walker Group over the other national plc builders:


1. Houses are stunningly beautiful.
2. Well-designed and laid out.
3. Homes on the estates are not crammed in like sardines.
4. All rooms are a decent size.
5. Comes with alot of extra features as standard.

Yes there were some snagging issue's on receipt of my house. These were all sorted.

On going issue's with snagging are what I have picked up as I have lived in the house, as time moves on my concerns are still listened to but not acted on as quickly. They will clearly prioritise newer home owners first, like every business.

They have rectified every snag I have had, the only time that they didn't was in reference to my garden drainage, which is now sorted. But let's look at this more closely, I got it resolved with a blunt, to the point, militant email. I didn't have to take to resolution service, no legal action, no picketing and rallying outside the showroom and no organised residents' protest. There are'nt people around the estate shouting at the top of their lungs in anger at Walker Group and state of their homes.

I have lived in my new build house for 14 months and overall I am very happy with it.

They are not a dreadful company in my experience, if they were trust me you would have daily post warning other people to stay away. What you have read and why I posted the inforamation was to illustrate how you need to be to get stuff sorted and how to escalate when needed.

As I stated I'm no  housing expert, but what I am good at is exacting pressure and getting my own way! There are levers available to the home owners which are at their disposal, which was what I was trying to express in my previous post.

Getting what you are entitled to is a matter of applying pressure on their reputation, wasting their time, making their working environment an unpleasant place to work or just being a constant nuisance. This all equates to loss of profit to them,which is the only thing they care about! When the loss of profit exceeds the cost of sorting your house problems out, you are in business!

The thing is the larger the company, the greater the pressure you need to apply to deliver the result you want to achieve.

What's evident to me from this outstanding website, if companies are bad they are on this forum and on it alot! Mine is the only review on Walker Group anywhere I can find, with over 6000 hits there is obviously a need for information on this company!

Let me be clear I am no champion of the new-build house builder, quite the opposite actually. There needs a fundamental shift to the better, in oversight and recourse on these companies and it is long overdue! 

But fair is fair, if  I say im happy with my house it is because I am. I have no reason to lie, over embellish or big up Walker Group. This is just my honest opinion for what it counts!

Please don't take this as me saying Walker Group should be sainted I'm not, this is just my opinion on I house purchase and aftercare service. In reality you need alot more feedback on this company to make an informed decision, sadly that feedback is not available.

So people, please comment and let's get a true understanding of this company!

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2016, 06:53:38 am »
I agree that the industry as a whole needs a radical shake up which is why I attended the APPG Inquiry into the Quality of New Homes in England and made a presentation in the Houses of Parliament.
The report is due to be released after the EU Referendum, however the preliminary announcement included four recommendations, two of which were mine!

The most important being the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman

Based on your experience, it would appear that Walker are better than most house builders at fixing snagging and defects. However the fact is, any good house builder would ensure there wouldn't be any snags at handover as the home would have been well built and checked and checked again before you set foot in it. As it should be!

The reason there are not many posts about Walker is more likely due to the fact that they are a small housebuilder, building only in Scotland. Their latest publicly available Full Accounts (to 30 September 2014) stated Walker Group turnover was £24.16m with a pre tax profit of £4.13m (17%) building just 87 new homes in the year!
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Signum-GB

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2017, 10:27:09 pm »
Anthony, many thanks for sharing! I am currently looking at a Walker Home.... both existing and new build. So I'll start a new thread on my progress with this. Maybe even add to the Taylor Wimpey forum.... I have a few stories for that as I am currently in one!

Cheers 8)

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2017, 02:20:45 pm »
Wow, they sound terrible except for the fixing snags under threat of militant actions from your end. And a constant cycle of snagging/fixes? How bad is the build that this needs to continue after a year into your occupation? And you call them a good house builder? How low can your standards get?

And you have to install drainage in your own garden? I have never heard of that before?

You also seem to have spent on a lot of things that one normally gets free with a new build home.
For example in new homes here:

Tiling: full height in all bathrooms and half height in the cloak rooms was included. All new builds in our area include this.
Fencing: Brick wall + fencing included - never seen a house without this provided?
Garden: Levelled and turfed for 3 bed and bigger houses.
Flooring: often an extra, but our specification included flooring in all wet areas and stairs and landings. Other areas were at cost but we negotiated the rest of the flooring for a 4 bed to be included in the sale.
French door steps: again included in the build. How else would I get from the house to the garden?

Glad you are happy with your home, but sounds like a nightmare to me.
All my snags were fixed in a timely manner with no need to resort to threats or intimidation.

anthyboy

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2017, 12:46:58 am »
Not sure what is going on, but I didn't put 18 months worth of my experience  to have it hijacked by some arguement. While NHE has some strong views, they come from his extensive experience and his years of replying to desperate home buyers.

His help and knowledge has been immense, but if you don't want his advice, simple don't ask! This website is for people who generally need help.

Indyjukebox,

Not sure what you are on about, have you just read a couple of the post and not the full conversions?

Of course my faults are ongoing a year into it, any fault that occurs within the 2 years I get the house builder to repair. Not all the snags are there to start with, but show up as you live in a house.

My standards are as high as someone can be and I made the house builder live up to them.  As for garden drainage name me a house builder that installs full width drainage? None I would imagine!

Fencing - I had to do one side fence, the rest were done. As for extras, I would ask why they are offering all these optional extras for free to get a sale? Was the standard of workmanship any good?

As for french doors, you get into them via the step that was provided! I chose to build a better looking one out of decking to match my decking area.

I glad you got all your stuff sorted, have you needed any work that's not an easy fix, they may not swing to your tune then!

So lets recap as my judgement seems to in question - house cost £231, 000 and I got £8,000 of the asking price = £223,000. Last house of the same type went for £242,000. My garden is twice the size of most of the other houses on development so 15m depth & 25m width with no other houses out the back of me.

I'm 2 years in and still very happy with my purchase (how many other new build owners can say that), everyone  seems happy on development and all house have been sold.

But if you think I've been deceived and I didn't spend a year researching this which included visiting 20 or so developments from all major builders then please enlighten me as to who you are with?

Kind Regards

Ant

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2017, 07:36:30 am »
Not sure what is going on, but I didn't put 18 months worth of my experience  to have it hijacked by some arguement. While NHE has some strong views, they come from his extensive experience and his years of replying to desperate home buyers.

His help and knowledge has been immense, but if you don't want his advice, simple don't ask! This website is for people who generally need help.

Thank you for your support and kind words Anthyboy.
As you can see, the previous post has now been deleted and this member permanently banned.

Quite why anyone would want to waste their time (and mine having to sort the mess they leave) on a forum that exists for one reason that is to help and advise those that post and those that visit I don't know!
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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2017, 12:27:19 pm »
I have to agree with anthyboy. This website and forum help so many people and the advice given by New Home Expert is always useful and informative. I am pleased this person (with obviously nothing better to do with his time) has been removed.

Signum-GB

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Re: Walker Group (Scotland)
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2017, 08:50:50 pm »
As there isn't a specific Walker Homes thread, I'll just keep adding onto this post. So..... I reserved beginning of June with the promise of an end of October 2017 entry. Fast forward to Dec 2017 and still not moved in yet with house delay now Jan 2018.

However, I have my house inspection tomorrow, so I will get a first look at our new home and my pencil sharp and notebook ready. The service from Walker since May has been abysmal.
Really disappointed considering the price they are selling houses for.

Wish me luck.