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21
I have been fighting with the developer for over two years now being patient and giving them the benefit of the doubt.
There are still multiple snags but the biggest ones are squeaky/bouncy floors and missing insulation.
Developer is now refusing to fix both after promising to fix the issues for 2 years.
Is there anything I can do at this point?
It's a small developer (only 10 houses) based in Exeter
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Snagging and defects / Re: DPC and air bricks below the ground level
« Last Post by New Home Expert on March 14, 2024, 10:38:20 am »
DPC below the bi-fold doors is normal. It should be 150mm above finished ground level at either side of the door. Clearly this is not the case.
It would appear the NHBC warranty inspector and the Building Control final inspector are not doing their job.

Not only does the NHBC warranty standards state the dpc should be (at least) 150mm above the finished ground level but this is also contained in the building regulations. The crucial words being "should be" which is not "must be"

The developers solution" is a bodge job that is easier and cheaper for them.
WHO IS THE BUILDER/DEVELOPER?
It may (or may not) solve the problem. But as you clearly state, the NHBC standards suggest what can be done in this instance and the solution is not that.

My opinion is any water in the 150mm trench" will drain away under the PCC beam and block floor which will probably cause dampness in the house at some point.

This same issue is posted time and time again over the last ten years and it appears that those working on housebuilding sites still even now have no clue as to how to sort their levels out properly to avoid this.

As for the house value, it is a new build and they tend to devalue over the first few years anyway. they are also less desirable to buyers for many reasons. A good buyers survey should highlight this clear defect and any offer you do get may be reduced because of it.

Keep going with the complaining and you could use the New Homes Ombudsman Service in about 6-9 months once you have worked you way through the housebuilder's customer complaints service procedures and jumped through all the NHOS hoops.



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Snagging and defects / DPC and air bricks below the ground level
« Last Post by ls523 on March 09, 2024, 02:54:00 pm »
We've recently moved into a new-build (completed in May 2023) and been made aware of an issue with the DPC and the air bricks to the rear of the house (with bi-fold doors opening to a patio). Both DPC (above the air bricks) and air bricks are below the ground level and covered by gravel (see image attached).

We talked to the developer who said that they are below the ground level because the patio has to have a level threshold. To allow sufficient ventilation, the developer suggested to cut back the patio 150mm from the rear house wall on both sides of the bi-fold doors, dig out below the air bricks and then fill the bottom of the trench with gravel so that the top of the air bricks will be 150mm above the gravel.

I am not happy with the proposal by the developer, because 1) I am not sure if 150mm wide trench is sufficient, as NHBC Technical Guidance says "air bricks below general ground level are acceptable with continuous strip of lowered ground extending at least 600mm away from front of air brick(s)". and 2) The proposal didn't solve the issue that the DPC below the bifold doors are still below ground level. The Building Regulations about a level threshold and the DPC being 150mm above ground level seem to contradict with each other.

Could anyone advise what is the best solution to fix this issue and whether it would impact the value of the house?

(On a related note, the house passed Building Control during construction. I emailed Building Control, who basically admitted that they didn't check air bricks at all. I wonder if I could do anything about it).

All suggestions are highly appreciated. Many thanks!





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Yes no building regulations for floor tiles. But there are NHBC warranty standards.
Workmanship and quality are, unfortunately, subjective. But the NHBC tolerances do put a figure on what is deemed unacceptable.

Quote
They do make reference to the NHBC warranty but only in so much as to the registration of the house with NHBC and that the buyer must pursue appropriate claims for defects with the NHBC and not the seller.
You may have a case against your solicitor for not highlighting this. It is a big red flag warning that Elan homes appear to be not interested in dealing with defects in the poor quality homes they build and sell.

Regarding the SAR and I'm not an expert but have applied for SARs myself, there are very few reasons that an organisation can legally withhold information with you name on. So again Elan are being difficult  for no reason as the ICO will after around a year, compel them to comply in every respect.
You can always write the the NHBC and request a SAR from them. Might be interesting.

What Elan Homes are prepared to give you is sales and handover paperwork.  You have a legal right for copies of all Building Regulation inspections carried out during the construction of your new home, whether your name is on them or not. These may have been done by the NHBC.

If nothing else, I do hope your post and experience acts as a big red flag warning for others even considering buying a new home from Elan Homes.

25

Good morning and many, many thanks for your response to my query.

I have scrutinised my contract and can only find the following clause:

The Seller shall construct or procure the construction of the Property in all material respects in accordance with the relevant planning permission and building regulation approval…. – there is no reference to the standard of workmanship and I’m guessing there are no building regulations relating to the laying of floor tiles?

They do make reference to the NHBC warranty but only in so much as to the registration of the house with NHBC and that the buyer must pursue appropriate claims for defects with the NHBC and not the seller. 

Can it be considered an ‘implied’ term that the house would be built to a certain standard of workmanship?

Prior to posting my query, I sent a lengthy email to the Technical Director (his was the only Director’s email address I knew). He did not communicate back with me but simply forwarded my email (full circle) to the Customer Service Team I had originally been blanked by! This time they did acknowledge my email and 10 days later sent me the gesture of goodwill offer of £750.

Prior to receiving your response, I sent an email advising their offer was derisory and used your template to make a Subject Access Request. Elan Homes have acknowledged my request but advise I ‘only have the right to see the personal data they hold / use rather than a right to see the documents that include that information’ ie. My name, address and contact details. Do you know if this is correct as I was sincerely hoping to have sight of a copy of the Site Manager’s report following his attendance at the NHBC investigator’s meeting?

They have simply offered to provide me with copies of the following:

Contract relating to the purchase of your home

Reservation & Incentives Agreements

Colour Choices Selection Form

Gas Certificate

Customer Demonstration Checklist

Customer Demonstration Manual Checklist

Customer Demonstration Report

Customer Handover Certificate A

Customer Handover Certificate B

Welcome letter

7 Day Courtesy Call Report and 28 Day Sign Off

NHBC Build Mark Cover Note

NHBC Final Certificate

I can confirm we made every effort to source the original tiles over 12 months before the tenting happened. In August 2022 when we heard of a number of properties on the estate having an issue with their tiles lifting, we contacted the original tile supplier to Elan Homes in the hope of purchasing a number of spares. (At this time, the grout had started to crack in our house which was reported to Elan for the sake of good order). The tile company advised us that our particular tile was out of stock and discontinued (email evidence available if Elan request it).

 

26
I think you would have a good case as a breach of contract law, whereby Elan Homes presumably stated in the contract they would "build the property in a workmanlike manner to warranty and building regulation standards." or similar wording as is often used.

The fact that the out of level/uneven floor was levelled by putting one time on top of another is pretty clear cut.

I would be minded to write to Elan CEO and question the accuracy of the misleading content on their website (screen shot it as they may just take it down) and suggest an acceptable settlement figure.  As the tiles were no long available, that would mean it cost more than if you had perhaps acted sooner. You need to show that you have tried and been reasonable for the next step below.

This can and should end up with a claim against Elan Homes in the Small Claims court which I suspect you would win, or Elan Homes would settle before a judge ruled.



27
Snagging and defects / Re: Weak / Sandy Mortar
« Last Post by New Home Expert on February 22, 2024, 01:18:44 pm »
Please do, but start a new thread.
This one started in 2022!

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Snagging and defects / Re: Snapping/Cracking Noises Heard In Room Below
« Last Post by Admin on February 22, 2024, 01:16:01 pm »
The NHBC seem to be trying to fob buyers with defective homes, with a cash offer for them to go away and either live with it as is, or get the works done themselves with everything that entails.
You would need to read the small print on your warranty policy as NHBC may have opted out of arranging for the works to be done.

One thing that always applied is the defect if not properly rectified first second or even third attempt stays on the books and is covered under the warranty until it is resolved. Again NHBC may have changed this too!

New home warranty is after all, an insurance policy. Insurers hate paying out claims.
But you can take a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Services (as many do re new home warranties)
Please do this if you are not happy as there is a permanent record of all complaints to the FOS so when new home warranties come under the spotlight as not working as they should, perhaps the government will act.
29
Snagging and defects / Ceramic floor tiles have delaminated and tented / popped-up
« Last Post by Jivebunny on February 18, 2024, 02:50:32 pm »
The ceramic floor tiles in our five year-old new build house have de-laminated and 'popped-up'. In one section, we have found that two tiles have been laid on top of each other!

During an on-site inspection, the NHBC investigator said: The combination of differential thermal movement of the tiles and floor slab, exacerbated by the orientation of the property and the insufficient preparation of the sub floor to receive a tiled finished has led to the failure of the tile adhesive bond to the sub floor.

The house builder (Elan Homes) has refused to take responsibility as we are 'outside of the two-year builder’s warranty'. They have simply offered me £750 as a gesture of goodwill. This nowhere near covers the £5,000 it has cost me to replace the tiles (repair was not an option as the tiles are discontinued and the whole sub-floor appears not to have been primed).

The same thing has happened in a number of other properties on the estate - the builder agreed to replace the tiles in those properties.

Whilst talking with one of the customer care assistants prior to the NHBC inspection – the assistant said on a number of occasions "Don’t worry about it, as we have looked at your photographs and we are fully expecting the NHBC to find against us". When I asked on what grounds – she said "Reasonableness – it is reasonable to expect a tiled floor to last more than 5 years"

In their marketing material, they even use the phrases: "We build homes that stand the test of time for generations to come. From fitted kitchens…..to floors and skirting boards designed to withstand all the knocks of life. Elan Homes put exceptional care and attention into workmanship…..employ only the best tradesmen who take pride in their work. All our lovely homes are built for living and unlike older properties won’t require lots of costly repairs and renovations." They use the word ‘quality’ numerous times

I would like to know if we have a valid claim against the builder?
If so – under which legislation?
I have read that a new build house is not covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
I wondered whether I could approach via the misrepresentation of their marketing material using the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Thanking you in advance. All comments will be gratefully received.
30
Snagging and defects / Re: Weak / Sandy Mortar
« Last Post by Jeff Raine on January 26, 2024, 03:44:42 pm »
The article on this site is worth reading.

We are still fighting the same battle in 2024 with everyone blaming everyone else!

I may start a post on here and share our experiences


http://www.new-home-blog.co.uk/weak-mortar-new-homes-scandal/#google_vignette
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