New Home Owners And Snagging Forum

Advice on buying a brand new home => House Builders => Topic started by: New build survivor on December 22, 2017, 03:30:49 pm

Title: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on December 22, 2017, 03:30:49 pm
Does anyone have any experience of buying an Ingram Homes new build in Norfolk?
We consider ourselves reasonably savvy house buyers, having moved and bought six times in last 20 plus years, one of which was a new build of which we had minimal problems.

We fell hook, line and sinker for the marketing brochure and website of this company, being a small family business with a 3-generation pedigree and fell in love with the showhome and overall quality of build appearance and fittings.

In addition the MD is very hands-on at the offer stage until sales completion.
We perhaps should have seen the warning signs early on, when dates for completion went from end of September/beginning of October to late November. But it is not unusual for a new build for dates to slip.
In retrospect, bearing in mind we first viewed early July, when it was built but not fitted out, we think we were strung along on dates. We were told "it looks like there is a lot to do, but there isn't really and will be completed in 6-8 weeks". The agent/builder knew we were near exchange and that we didn't want to be homeless for a long period.

We then ran into legal snags, with our solicitor refusing to exchange until a bond was paid for road adoption etc (Section 38?), that we had been advised in writing by MD had already been signed/done.
By this time we had completed on the sale of our previous property to avoid losing our buyer and living in a holiday let in the Norfolk Broads, which we took with the plan it was to be 1-2 weeks in unusually warm early October weather, and turned into 7 weeks as it became increasingly draughty and cold.

We were told the delay was due to trades letting them down, plus ordering items following our delayed exchange, and it was important to get things right, so we waited, getting slightly more anxious by the day with no postal address and mail being forwarded to family 2 hours away as we had no letterbox (not great with so many final bills etc. to deal with).

The MD offered to help pay our accommodation costs after we threatened to pull out due to the delays, which was welcome and we excitedly looked forward to moving in.
It's a small development of only 24 homes about 4 miles outside of Norwich and a very popular location for commuting etc. - couldn't wait. I have to say that this is a most attractive looking development and the layout and specification was just what we had been looking for. No work to do after 4 years renovating A 1920's bungalow - bliss!

The first major error we made was not having a snagging survey.
We were all set to do, but with the delays and our anxiety to get moved in, perhaps we lost our sense of judgement.

We were taken in by the assurance of the MD by email that there is a robust snagging process. A 3-stage process that involved a semi-retired guy who focuses on snagging when he is on site once a week, the MD himself snags and then de-snags to ensure any defects corrected and the site finishing foreman snags also. Sounded pretty watertight and we bought into that plus it would save us money wouldn't it after all the additional accommodation costs? Big mistake..........
Happy to continue with this if anyone interested in hearing how we got on......

Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New Home Expert on December 23, 2017, 05:27:39 am
Every visitor to the forum would be interested. Especially as this is a small housebuilder, one of the minnows the government wants to encourage and help.

Given this is a small company with a strict snagging regimes I would presume your house is 100% perfect and no defects?  Then again perhaps not!

I just hope you have an NHBC warranty as some of the small housebuilder struggle to get registered!

Good that your solicitor insisted on the Section 38 bond. Worrying that it want in place though! NHBC can provide it if the housebuilder is registered.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on December 23, 2017, 02:57:49 pm
Not quite 100% perfect I'm afraid.
Yes we have NHBC. That was one of the things that gave us confidence in buying, as we felt they must be an established and credible company.

I just want to say we are 5 weeks into living in the property. It's been a very stressful year with sale and purchase delays, therefore there has been a degree of emotion creeping in. However my objective is not to slate the developer but to provide objective feedback and advice for others considering going down the same path.

The overall impression of the property was fantastic. Architect designed and quality fittings e.g.
red cedar garage door, galvanised metal guttering. Internally, a Mackintosh kitchen with good quality appliances, lovely bathrooms and tiling. Also they use a farrow and ball colour on walls and woodwork, albeit with trade paint from Johnsons, rather than magnolia. We have a lovely big open plan kitchen diner and underfloor heating downstairs. So that is all the good stuff.

Where we have been let down is in the checking and finishing - The snagging.
The site managers are directly employed and they employ carpenters and a groundworker to our knowledge. All the rest they use sub- contractors for in the main. They all seem like good, competent people when you meet them, but there is a lack of oversight and basic checks.

This is some of our problems, not complete, but has included:
1. Groundworks/drainage not properly connected so there was backfilling when our new washing machine installed, causing an under sink leak.
2. The heating cylinder pressure not set correctly so sounded like a helicopter hovering overhead, our first night in the property. Also the emergency plumber number we were given didn't respond to our text until the next morning so we had no idea if it was a serious issue.
3. Extreme condensation under kitchen sink and copper pipes forming pools of water, subsequently been lagged.
4. Leak in cloakroom and ensuite basin units and identified u- bend not connected properly in cloakroom. MD and foreman tested all basins and sinks following this by filling and checking, but surely this is basic plumbing practice to test joints on installation?
5. Dining area roof is a sloping extension roof with 2 x Velux and twice had damp patches appearing on plasterboard ceiling as well as condensation runs of water down either side of veluxes down the ceiling and side walls.  We identified fine cracks in plasterboard before leaks and pointed out to MD and foreman when checking other leaks. Roof tiles and flashing stripped back twice and identified that there was a gap in insulation allowing condensation to form under flashing and run down internally through plasterboard ceiling. 2nd occasion identified hole in insulation made by electrician fixing wiring. Now seems to be resolved but needs redecoration.
6. The water softener provided, when we queried with plumber who installed, site foreman and MD, we were advised it just needed salt to operate. The user guide left was really an installation guide and never having had a softener asked a local specialist company to check out. It turned out it was not connected to a power supply as required, and the drainage was flowing out a pipe onto the patio outside, which apparently does not meet building regs and can cause corrosion of brickwork and foundations over time, as well as being an environmental issue.
7. The internal telephony wiring was not connected to the BT master socket and then when connected BT found 162,000 errors causing interference, so we had to have master socket moved at our expense, from the airing cupboard with no power source, to the living room so we could get our broadband to work. There was also some minor snagging with wiring covers and a phone socket not being live.
I'm not going to go into all the usual snagging items that we had, such as garage trim under coated but not top-coated. The loose toilet seat (that was picked up by MD on pre-inspection but not resolved) with a big blue ribbon around it. So someone knew it was loose but put a bow round it? The ensuite shower leak and so in.

What I will say, is that as soon as we raised these issues they responded very quickly to resolve for us, so that is a huge plus. The site foreman and Customer Service Manager have been very pleasant, apologetic and done their best for us in our opinion. They keep telling us they're embarrassed about all the issues, but it doesn't really help after the event. We think virtually no snagging took place, other than visual and there was a reliance that the trades had done their jobs properly.

The MD as well in the beginnning was responsive, but lacks the communication skills of his team, is very defensive and our repetitive issues and complaints have resulted in him sending very long stroppy emails, and now only dealing with us through his managers, when a friendly visit or phone call to resolve informally would have made a big difference. He stated he'd visited to discuss one issue, when in fact he came onto our property without introducing himself, made a sarcastic comment to my partner and left.

Our most recent dispute is regarding the driveway gates, which are sawn wood not finished, give you splinters, look rough, are not aligned properly with a 10mm gap, and now have one gate sitting proud of the other making them difficult to close. We were advised they would settle, but as we had requested in writing as part of our offer on the property that the gates be dressed timber and this was accepted by the agent, we are disappointed.

The latest is they have agreed to change, but will not do any remedial work if they need adjustment etc. in future as they don't recommend dressed timber. They also won't provide them to match garage in red cedar as expensive, even though we offered initially to pay difference as upgrade.
So that is a brief overview of our experience so far.

I would recommend anyone considering a similar purchase to thoroughly snag the property professionally, to avoid the stress and heartache we have had.
I'll report if there are any new developments.

Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: Site carpenter on December 24, 2017, 10:46:40 am
It certainly is a big snagging list, considering you have waited so long to move in.
On the upside, it sounds like the builder is rectifying the mistakes and is apologetic, reading comments of others, the large builders don't seem to give a damn.
I know you had problems with the plumbing which sounds like it is down to the plumber not taking care, however be very grateful that your builder has used copper water pipes not plastic.
I was speaking to a plumber the other day, I asked him how long the plastic push fit joints will last on hot water pipes, he said he would be surprised if they lasted more than five years.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on December 26, 2017, 09:52:12 am
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, we think the materials used are quality and that is a key reason for buying the property. Traditional brick and block construction and so on.
The message we got was "uncompromising quality" and they don't rush to complete. We did however pay a premium for this. Another "quality" Norfolk builder is on a development across the road from us and has a 3 bed semi on market for £70,000 less than our 3 bed. We have larger floor space and the design and quality is so much better, but £70,000 is a lot, and we would have had the NHBC cover and all the rest.

The latest situation, is the Friday before Christmas there was a lot of banging from the semi adjoining us, which is unsold at present. They were on the roof checking front velux for ensuite and we believe rear veluxes too.

I had a knock on door and site foreman wanted to check our rear veluxes again (which we thought issue addressed), and also check the front one for ensuite as he said when they dealt with issue they only went half way along on extension roof, where they filled in gap in insulation.
We asked if it was likely to leak over Christmas and he said no, so we asked to leave until New Year as needed to go out and banging would upset our dogs.

We then queried with Customer Service Manager when we were speaking about gate situation.
She followed up with an email saying the site manager had explained there was still work to do on lead flashing following initial repairs. Not our understanding and now been worrying over Christmas that initial work not completed properly.

We suspect there has been a problem found in house adjoined and they want to check all velux windows now. We do get an awful lot of condensation from them, such we have to have a dehumidifier running 2-3 hours per day.
Our neighbours don't have to same degree. Only a little condensation on velux, but they are all bungalows bar one. We know you do get condensation in new builds but this actually runs down walls.
If anyone can comment on likely cause of this appreciated.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New Home Expert on December 26, 2017, 10:40:06 am
You have quite a bity of condensation which both the housebuilder and NHBC will say is "normal" as the home "dries out"  So you should always try and keep moisture to a minimum:
Always use the extractor fans (check they are vented to the outside air in the loft!)
Open windows on fine days and keep the house warm.
Check for plumbing leaks maybe hidden ones.

Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on December 27, 2017, 03:57:29 pm
Thanks. We have found some leaks but not plumbing ones.
We've had atrocious weather overnight, and this morning we have water runs from 2 of the velux windows but no condensation.
This occurred last time we had heavy rain after we first moved in and discovered ceiling leak. It was attributed to condensation by builder but we now know must have 2 slow leaks into velux.
Also discovered a damp patch on internal bedroom corner ceiling and wall, which is the exposed rear corner of house. All reported by email, but as not an emergency will have to wait till they return next week.
Why oh why did we buy a new build? Not even 6 weeks into what we're sure now is going to be a nightmare few months/years.Tried to be balanced about our experience to date but feeling very very negative about Ingram Homes uncompromising quality at moment!
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New Home Expert on December 29, 2017, 07:27:36 am
It would appear. from what you have said, that Ingram Homes know about the leaking Velux windows.
My guess is, the Velux need a flashing kit which used to be extra in a separate box. The plumber also needs to add some lead flashing too.

I suspect the Velux flashing kit wasn't ordered/delivered/fitted and they tried to do a bodge before Christmas.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on December 29, 2017, 12:19:40 pm
Thanks for your reply.
Our neighbour who has keylite windows not velux installed on their bungalow, has what looks like fixed lead flashing at base of velux and apart from a little condensation has had no problems.
We appear to have a corrugated plastic curtain for flashing that does not fit snug to roofline. Is this the flashing kit you are referring to? Just need clarification so we can raise if necessary with site foreman next week.
Many thanks.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on December 29, 2017, 01:30:48 pm
Think we have answered our own question.
Velux website shows flashing kit like ours, except the corrugated curtain seems to be molded onto tile and ours doesn't look as snug as that. Does it need to be heated or hammered on?
Think this may be the root of our problem. Well one of them anyway  :'(
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New Home Expert on December 30, 2017, 08:09:43 am
Yes this is what I am referring to.
It has probably not been installed corrcetly or is damaged as it is very thin lead.
WE always used a code 4 lead flashing over the tiles at the bottom.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on December 30, 2017, 06:36:32 pm
Thanks. Will wait to see how we get on next week when hopefully someone will be round to discuss with us.
To add to our woes our ensuite is crumbling before our eyes. The toilet seat which has been looked at
and adjusted three times by site staff has given up and think hinge is faulty as won't sit straight.
The rainfall shower has been leaking for last few days and we have tilted to drain off residual water, but after taking off shower head today have discovered slow leak from feed pipe. It drops constantly through night keeping us awake! The basin unit is not holding water. Filled with soapy water to clean bathroom and it drained away before my eyes.

We haven't even mentioned or dwelt on the scratches and bumps we have overlooked to focus on the important issues. The woodwork not top coated and so on.
Hopefully we can start to see some resolution of our issues in next week or so.


Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on January 06, 2018, 07:29:14 pm
Just an update re earlier emails.
To their credit, we had the site manager and finishing foreman, as well as plumber with us the 2nd January.
The plumber has 'purged' the Bristan shower and it appears to have halted the dripping. We know two of our neighbours now have had problems with their showers but think this is down to Bristan and not the plumber.
He has secured the toilet seat, still a bit off centre but can be sat on safely now.
He is ordering a new washer for basin, re the water draining away. So all looking good there.

We have also had the roofing contractor here for half a day stripping back and replacing insulation and lead flashing on roof extension. Also, the finishing foreman checked our loft space and there was no damp coming into to create our damp spot on exposed corner, but there may have been moisture getting in via bathroom extractor fan, so some remedial work there.

As of today, we now just have redecoration to do where damp patches were and a second coat needed on our garage frame trim.
We are awaiting our new gates, and hoping they are sturdy enough to withstand the type of storms we have had over Christmas, as we are quite exposed and Ingram Homes will not provide any aftercare on them. So will see how we get on....
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on January 09, 2018, 09:10:35 am
Unfortunately spoke too soon with the dripping shower. It dripped all night (loudly, even with the door closed). The plumber did say if it reoccurred Bristan might need to change sealed unit, as may be grit or something causing an issue.~

Also our ensuite Velux has water runs down the sloping ceiling as the temperature has dropped again. The windows and frames themselves are dry but the water runs from the bottom corners. Must be condensing like our other veluxes, which now seem to be ok after flashing and insulation replaced. Will have to wait for that to be addressed.

Also, forgot to mention that we had to have carpet refitted at top of stairs due to the landing floor and staircase being an uneven height, with a gap between. This should have been highlighted by carpet fitter to builder when they fitted (before we moved in), so it was as much their fault, but as Ingrams recommended John Doe the supplier to us they resolved by planing and filling. It was also fitted roughly around front door because mastic too thick to tuck in, but John Doe provided a complimentary coir mat to overcome this issue at same time refitting carpet.

This is another reason why a snagging surveyor would have been value for money as they would undoubtedly have picked up on the stair situation.

The message to anyone in Norwich considering purchasing one of these properties, is get a snagging inspector and don't believe all the marketing hype or that the MD personally snagging and de-snagging is sufficient. We think the other properties being built will probably be snagged a lot better as we have had so many issues and finishing foreman said he'd be snagging more in future at key stages as normally just goes round with MD at end of process and in his words "points out a few things".

We would advise you do a pre-completion check to ensure all snags identified have actually been addressed, as in our case we still had loose toilet seat and unpainted door trim etc.
This again is where we kick ourselves. Treat the process as you were dealing with the worst housebuilder and check everything!
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New Home Expert on January 10, 2018, 10:54:19 am
All good advice whichever housebuilder is building your new home.
Trust no one!  Assume nothing!  And have your new home professionally snagged and inspected!

Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on January 10, 2018, 12:19:00 pm
Definitely. We were too trusting and I remember saying to my husband we thought the MD had a lot of integrity.
Another point re not trusting anyone. Even the legal process, with a legally binding contract does not protect you.

We submitted a written offer which included dressed-timber gates. The estate agent who received the email and the MD deny ever getting that information. We also have a clause in our contract that incorporates all email agreements into it. The builder's solicitor has not responded to a query on his from our solicitor from early December? So how does that work?

No one sticks to the terms of the agreement. The solicitors bury their heads in sand and our only recourse is to accept the offer of the builder to provide them but with no aftercare. No protection from consumer law or NHBC as not covered. Our only recourse is to involve another solicitor at our cost, by which time we could have bought gold plated gates with the fees. The MD sent very stroppy email via his customer service manager. So our option is accept his reduced terms (which we have for an easy life) or sue. Not a great place to be with all the other stress and costs we have incurred.

So not only are individuals not adequately protected when buying a new build, even our existing legal process that costs hundreds of pounds is useless. Might as well have said invoice us and we'll pay and forget a contract. It is a complete joke!
Just an update, but after a visit from the architect, MD and site manager yesterday it does look like our ensuite velux has more than condensation issues. It might be the seals on the velux or flashing. Awaiting feedback on what will happen next.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on January 10, 2018, 01:14:48 pm
Re the velux situation in ensuite and earlier posts.

It was confirmed yesterday by the architect that the property adjoining us has similar issue with velux and it is "streaming" water, so he was going to be inspecting that too. Don't know what it is with these roof windows.

We have had 2 previous properties with roof windows and one of them was a new build and did not have this problem. So we think there is some fundamental issue either with the roof light itself, which actually is keylite not velux, or it is in the fitting or roof design. We feel like we are a bit of an experiment as we are the 1st house of this design. So would advise anyone looking to buy new build where the house design has not been built before to be aware.

There seems to be so many technicalities the architect described related to pressure and wind speed and different types of membrane etc. Which is great for them as a problem to resolve, but not great when you're living with it and have to have people traipsing in and out, looking and shaking their heads. They might be doing some testing of seals or getting the keylite rep to take a look, they haven't advised us yet. Meanwhile we have tissues stuffed in the corners to stop the water running in. In some ways buying a less individual property that has been Road-tested many times on other developments is preferable to being the 1st of it's type.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New Home Expert on January 11, 2018, 07:21:14 am
It is for situations such as you find yourself in, that I have been personally campaigning for a New Homes Ombudsman for the last 4 years.  Hopefully in 2018 we could see it finally set up by government.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on January 11, 2018, 04:20:45 pm
Well, I need to backtrack a bit here, as it appears what I thought was our position re our offer etc was not correct.

After emailing both solicitors to find out why we had not had a response about our position I eventually had a response from my solicitor this morning. He had been telling us that he was waiting on a response from the other solicitor re our legal position and it turns out the other solicitor is no longer with the company so not sure what sort of contract had actually taken place.

He also advised us that our offer which included dressed timber gates was not actually part of the contract. He says we may have grounds for a claim against the agent for not passing our offer on, if indeed that was the case. You couldn't make this up. All along we have thought our offer formed part of our contract and that the terms had not been met.
 
So not sure where we go from here. We still have gates that are not satisfactory. The builder has offered to change to dressed timber but if they fail for any reason we have no comeback. We have emailed the MD to advise him of situation and to request we keep the gates we have , but can they be relaligned as we feel this is the safest option at moment. As I said earlier, I want to give a balanced and honest account and we were ill-informed as to our legal position.

So if we manage to get past this, it is mainly the roof light issues and redecoration and hopefully we can start to enjoy living in our new home. We're going to need some better weather though, as the garage trim was given a second coat of paint 2 days ago. But since the work wasn't done until late in the afternoon and the job only took 10 minutes we weren't expecting too much. 2 days later parts of the trim still aren't dry and there are raised patches that rub off. Will need to get that resolved in drier weather we think.

Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New build survivor on January 15, 2018, 07:22:01 pm
Things have moved on.
We reported our concern regarding our internal redecoration being done by the same person who painted the garage at 3 pm on a Tuesday and still not dry on Friday i.e. the finishing foreman.

After email contact we have had a really positive meeting at our home with MD today. We think he realises we haven't just been manufacturing problems. Some of the work that has been done was not satisfactory.

He is arranging for the decorator to cover our leaks in the dining area, which is a relief.
We need repainting of our front door frame snd garage trim and he is arranging for adjustment of the dreaded gates, with maybe an additional handle to help us open in adverse weather conditions.
That said, he did acknowledge he had received our offer email re the dressed timber gates, which was such a bone of contention, but by now we are so done with everything we just don't care.

There had been a lot of bullish communication re how great the team is supporting us and how lucky we are to have them. We think differently.

The main reason there are so many issues is that the MD trusts the finishing foreman is doing all the appropriate checks. We are proof it just hasn't happened.
The reality is that the Office/Customer Service Manager is very efficient and pleasant and probably worth her weight in gold. Though she is misled by the information provided to her by the finishing foreman. The site manager is great but focussed on the building side of things, not the fitting out.

We thought the finishing foreman was a great guy and kept telling us he was doing everything in our best interests. It turns out he just "covers his backside" and we would have not have had 90% of the problems we have had if he had done his job properly in the first place.
Can't understand how the MD thinks he is so dedicated and devoted. Very disappointed.
Title: Re: Ingram Homes - Norwich
Post by: New Home Expert on January 17, 2018, 07:41:58 am
Finishing foreman or assistant site managers still work under the site manager.
The site manager should still be going into every home under construction once a day regardless of what stage it is at. It is his site!

It sounds like this is someone who just bodges up and does a bit of snagging himself rather than "manage" and get the trades to come back and do it.