Author Topic: NHBC Claim Help  (Read 24452 times)

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oddlyuk

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NHBC Claim Help
« on: June 25, 2013, 11:20:00 pm »
I am hoping for some wise words to help with our situation.

We paid a building firm to build our house in 2004.
We purchased an NHBC SOLO policy from the outset. Towards the completion date we duly put our snags in writing to the builder including a concern about the condition of our external render.
Some snags were sorted out but no mention of the render. Several more letters to the builder followed with no reply. We commissioned a survey and engaged a solicitor who advised that as we had a SOLO policy there was no builders liability period and to claim to NHBC.

The NHBC was adamant that our defective render was not stuctural and would not be able to assist. It did not help that the surveyor used the term "could cause future structural problems". The solicitor spoke several times to the NHBC and wrote to us recommending that we engage a barrister (to also pursue the builder). We had run out of money and energy at this point.

Fast forward to this year when we asked another local builder to look over our render. From the lower half of the house that he examined, it was obvious that large sections were hollow and badly cracked. He really didn't want to try and "patch it up" as it would never be right. The builder advised we go back to the NHBC and stress that the situation is now worse and, is indeed, structural.

I'm guessing we need an up-to-date survey but wary of getting on the money/solicitor treadmill again.

Does anyone know if we have to start all over again with a fresh claim or do we take up the case from the last contact in 2007?

Many thanks

Sharon



Philofacts

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2013, 07:35:19 am »
NHBC Solo Warranty is designed especially for self-builders. 
One important difference from their Buildmark policy is that there is no cover-everything  2-year, builder responsibility, warranty period .

There is no need to make a fresh claim and start all over again.
You have already notified the NHBC and the original problem has got worse.
Please do not spend money on surveyor's reports.
Write to the NHBC quoting your policy number and stating that you require the NHBC to investigate your claim. Be quick as your warranty only has a year left!

I would point out that render is not a structural element, but the fact it is cracking and coming away from the wall may be indicative of a structural issue which is obviously covered by the warranty.
However the render in itself is covered by your NHBC Solo Warranty.
Page 9 states: "What NHBC will pay for"
"A) The full Cost, if it is more than £1,000 (Indexed), of putting right any actual
physical Damage caused by a Defect in any of the following parts of the
Home or its Common Parts:
- foundations
- load-bearing walls
- non load-bearing partition walls
- wet-applied wall plaster
- external render and external vertical tile hanging."


The render defect is more likely to be an issue with the workmanship during application.
The problem is that the full costs must be higher than £1000. If it is less and the NHBC reject your claim.  In the end it may be cheaper to get the render fixed yourself.
I suggest you use Webber Monocouche next time.

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oddlyuk

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2013, 11:44:18 am »
Thank you Philofacts.
I really appreciate the advice. I'm sure it will definitely cost more than £1000 as the faults go through every elevation and the ultimate best outcome for us would be to remove all of the old render and start again. The NHBC may not see it that way though.

Thanks for your recommendation of Webber Monocouche.
I have no idea what was used before, only that it was the "best product on the market and will need no maintenance other than power washing". Sadly not true. I agree that it was most likely workmanship rather than the product as another self-builder used it a few plots away and it's performing as it should.

I looked through all our previous documentation last night, the survey, the photos, the solicitors letters etc. and we did indeed include the section you quoted from Page 9. We shall send it all again.

Thanks Again

Sharon


Philofacts

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 08:28:14 am »
You said in your first post:
"The NHBC was adamant that our defective render was not stuctural and would not be able to assist"
which is strange as you quoted the cover (including render) on page 9 of the Solo warranty policy.
Quite why your solicitor and surveyors did not pick up on this I don't know.

From your description, it would seem that Monocouche might have been used.
CemRen is another, but in my opinion is nowhere near as good.
Workmanship is critical and Webber has strict recommendations regarding their product, movement joints, blockwork background, and weather conditions and protection.

Good luck with the NHBC.
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oddlyuk

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 02:50:30 pm »
Hi Philofacts

I wonder if you'd be good enough to help with another query regarding the above NHBC issue?

NHBC have replied to our letter asking for photos of the damaged render plus a questionnaire to complete. The questions are pretty standard i.e. the size of cracks, which direction are they going etc. One question that bothers me is that they want to see our house insurance policy and (in bold type) to inform them of this issue. Why? If we believe this damage is from the initial build and has gotten worse since we first reported it years ago, then surely the claim is with the NHBC alone for the 10 yrs. What would they gain from seeing our policy details and would it jeopardise our cover with our home contents & buildings insurance if we have to involve them?

Kind Regards

Sharon

Philofacts

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 10:08:11 am »
From memory, (you will have to check your SOLO policy documents) I seem to remember that the NHBC Buildmark warranty only provides cover if your home insurance buildings policy does not cover you.

I suspect the NHBC are viewing this as a potential subsidence claim, which your home insurance will cover, whether or not it has been caused by breached NHBC standards that are covered by the NHBC warranty.

My advice would be to ask the NHBC why they want your home insurance details.
You are correct that your home insurer (and the whole insurance industry as they communicate with each other) would be made aware of the potential "risk" of a future claim from your property and premiums would increased to reflect this 'added risk.'

Until the NHBC have investigated properly and found the actual cause of the cracking, they are not in a position to instruct you to claim on your home insurance anyway. 
Some render will need to be removed to see what is underneath and samples taken away for laboratory analysis.
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oddlyuk

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 12:25:56 am »
Just to update ....

An NHBC inspector called and did a thorough inspection. Weirdly, the letter stated that he would be inspecting the front elevation only. This must be standard letter speak as the inspector was happy to go around the whole house. Several areas of "debonding" were identified on each elevation and our claim has been accepted.

Unfortunately, they are only committing to repair the debonded areas and that there may be some "unobtrusive areas where blending is not perfect". They will also be painting the areas that are repaired to "blend" with the rest of the render. Well that is going to make the repairs incredibly obvious as the rest of the house is pretty shabby (as no tradesman would touch it given the state of the render). I suppose my best bet is to negotiate with the contractor a price for painting the whole house...sigh.

I am so grateful to have found this forum and for the advice received. I'm so glad that at long last we have some sort of solution.

Thank You  :)


Philofacts

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 08:08:54 am »
No problem. You can always make a donation here.

As I said in my earlier reply, some of the render should be removed to find the cause of the cracking.  Superficial repairs will not necessarily solve the underlying problem.
It would appear that the NHBC are proposing a stop-gap job rather than a permanent solution. 
Will the repair have a warranty?

If the self-coloured render is painted, this will be an ongoing maintenance issue for you and any future owners.
Painting this type of render defeats the object of using it.
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jensuz

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2013, 06:11:11 pm »
Not sure whether I'm in the right area for advice re. NHBC Buildmark Choice Policy.  I am a shared owner of a flat (25%) with the remainder being owned by Sanctuary Housing.  I have been advised by Sanctuary Housing that the policy should be put in my name but my solicitor who acted for me when buying the flat has stated it should be in the name of the housing association.  Have lots of problems with the flat so this as a first step is important to get right. Any help much appreciated.

Philofacts

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Re: NHBC Claim Help
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 08:45:21 am »
If you are within the two-year warranty period you should write to the house builder listing the defects and instruct them to put them write. 
Copy your letters to the housing association as they should also be aware of defects and issues with your home as they are co-owners.

Regarding who should have their name on the warranty policy documents, you should ask your solicitor or perhaps the NHBC. 
Either way, the warranty policy is for the property, not the owner and is transferable when a new home is sold.
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