Author Topic: Compensation  (Read 6102 times)

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adh747

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Compensation
« on: January 24, 2016, 02:28:43 pm »
I have had two claims processed by the NHBC over the last two years with regards to a new build home under the Buildmark Policy. The NHBC, after a lot of hassle, covered both claims as the builder refused to fix the problems. The first claim was accepted by both parties and the builder did come to fix the problem. However during the works they left the site unsafe and also caused the collapse of a retaining wall which they then failed to repair correctly. NHBC then stepped in and finished the job correctly. This was a very stressful time both for me and my wife, who suffers from MS. During that period of stress she suffered a deteriation in her health and was in hospital for a short period.

Just when we thought all the issues were resolved another similar issue transpired which means we are now having to move out of the property for approximately one week while the entire sewage treatment plant is excavated and completely replaced. Again the NHBC are paying for all work and on this occasion didn't even ask the builder to complete the necessary works. Instead we had to obtain quotes and chose our own contractor. The NHBC have been reasonable in their attempts to resolve this and are paying for all works.

My question is whether anyone has successfully claimed compensation for the stress, inconvenience and related health issues either from NHBC or direct with their original builder. From discussions with NHBC they don't provide compensation as the issues we have encountered are solely down to the poor workmanship of the builder and not NHBC. They are happy to cover all costs for repairing the damage but that is the extent of their obligations. This I can fully understand and accept. However my initial enquiries with regards to compensation from the builders hasn't been clear cut. Apparently if I had bypassed the NHBC and taken the builder to court then I could have claimed compensation along with costs for repairing the damage. However as I've used the NHBC then claiming compensation only from the builder through the courts is likely to fail.

Anyone offer any advice on whether I have any avenues left with regards to this?  The builder appears to have got away with paying nothing and we have been left with two years of stress, inconvenience and poor health. The NHBC will not tell us whether they are pursuing the builder for their costs but reading between the lines, it appears not.

Thanks for any advice.


New Home Expert

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Re: Compensation
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2016, 07:31:56 am »
What a horrible experience for you both. 
However, it is refreshing to learn that the NHBC has stepped in and has/is sorting it out for you.

As it is, the only way you can claim compensation from a housebuilder without taking legal action against them in the courts, is to use the Consumer Code for Home Builders Adjudication Scheme. This has a maximum limit of just £250 and you can only claim within three months of the housebuilder's final response and within the first two years.  I suspect this route is not open to you even if you wanted to use it for such a small amount.

The NHBC warranty does not pay compensation. This is because it is an insurance policy. In much the same way as flood victims are not compensated for the stress they suffer.  But this was not an act of God or unavoidable, it was due to the builder's negligence.  Who was the housebuilder?

This is why I am campaigning for a New Homes Ombudsman who could rule on your case and force the housebuilder to pay you a reasonable justifiable level of compensation for stress and inconvenience.

AAS it stands we are awaiting the findings of a APPG Inquiry into quality of new homes and I attended one of the sessions and proposed this in my presentation amongst other measures that would improve new homes for consumers like you.

So what can you do?  You could take legal action against the builder for compensation.
You could also write to your MP, mention the APPG Inquiry and demand that a New Homes Ombudsman is set up as soon as possible. 

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.


adh747

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Re: Compensation
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2016, 04:49:14 pm »
Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.

NHBC have only been good as we had to previously take them to the Financial Ombudsman who awarded in our favour and instructed NHBC to pay compensation.

The builder concerned is K.W. Bell Group Ltd (Bell Homes) of Cinderford in Gloucestershire.

I have already received informal legal advice that suing the builder for compensation would be very unlikely to succeed.  I could end up paying a lot in legal fees and then receive nothing in return.  I was wondering whether anyone had any experience of taking legal action solely for compensation and not for direct costs.

A new home ombudsman is a fantastic idea.  I will have a good look at this and draft a letter to my MP in support.

Thanks for the advice and information.  Fingers crossed this is the last issue we run into.

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Re: Compensation
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 06:46:10 am »
Why is it that the NHBC make claiming on its warranty (especially when the claim is large) so difficult?
Worse, they and the housebuilders trumpet it as "offering protection to homebuyers"
I'm surprised your claim didn't have a 'gagging order' in it too so no one finds out how to claim.

Regards compensation, you could give Geoff Peter a call at Wingrove Law. 01904 799400.
He specialises in suing housebuilders and getting justice for new home buyers. I suspect you may have left it a bit late but I am not the legal expert! The level of achievable compensation is difficult to quantify and herein lies the biggest problem - everyone will have a different view.

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.

adh747

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Re: Compensation
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 11:00:51 am »
There was no gagging order which I think was down to the involvement of the Financial Ombudsman who's report was not very favourable to NHBC. 

I think the main problem with NHBC is that they are not independent.  Their policies are paid for by the builders and they therefore fail to present an unbiased view on claims.  The builder is usually given the benefit of the doubt and it's up to the home owner to prove their case.  Fortunately I had an abundance of evidence proving the builder was at fault including manufacturer's reports and other photographic evidence.  Even then it was a long and difficult to road to prove the case.  A completely impartial and independent regulator is badly needed for this industry.

I have contacted Geoff Peter and await his response.  I have little hope of any further action I can take but at least I've explored all available avenues.  Thank you for the advice and information.

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Re: Compensation
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2016, 07:22:45 am »
It is true the NHBC and warranty providers do seem to be a bit incestuous with housebuilders.
The HBF make up a large part of the NHBC council.

This is why we need a New Homes Ombudsman. I believe the very existence of an Ombudsman that can award large sums of compensation and fine housebuilders and or warranty providers will be a big incentive for them to both act more honourably and professionally.

It is so important I retired early and given the campaign six years of my life so far!
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.