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61
Wow, by far the most interesting post on this forum for a long while.

You have the added protection such as it is of the New Homes Ombudsman Service .  You will need to go through the builder's complaints procedure first with, I suspect, many steps to take.

Please name the housebuilder.

It is crystal clear (a slam dunk) that you have been mis-sold. It can never be argued otherwise and the housebuilder wants it kept quiet hence the disclosure agreement condition.

Question is:
Could the estate roads ever be transferred to the local authority now?  Were they inspected by LA highways during construction? Do they even meet the Section 38 Agreement standards?

I suspect the builder abandoned the Section 38 Agreement because the LA would never adopt the estate roads.

So you and other early buyers, have clearly been mis-sold and should not have to pay these estate charges at all.
Obviously, these charges will increase over time, so any amount of "compensation" would not guarantee you would not be out of pocket in the long term.
You need to employ a solicitor to act for you in your interests. DO NOT use the builder's solicitor or any firm recommended of suggested by them.

You may be able to have the Title Deeds changed so that it is written in that you and subsequent owners (your house is now worth less than one with adopted estate roads due to the ongoing cost) are not required to pay the management costs.
Quite what would happen if the builder ceased trading I'm not sure - why you need a solicitor.

If, and its a big if, the estate roads could be adopted by the LA, then the more buyers that have been mis-sold make a claim the more pressure it would put on the house builder.  Again your solicitor may wish to make a class action against the builder.

As a minimum I would suggest you would need ten years estate fees rising by 15% per year to ensure you are covered.

It is high time this estate management fees rip off aka "Fleecehold" was ended.

Please also write to your MP and Michael Gove.


62
Snagging and defects / Re: Sloping floors upstairs
« Last Post by New Home Expert on October 25, 2023, 07:40:04 am »
Your post demonstrates the value of a snagging inspection.
And thank you for recognising the value of the forum.

I suspect what you have are composite joists. These do deflect and in smaller span homes they will span across the whole house. This means there is a possibility that there is an out of level floor within the rooms upstairs.

Please pay no attention to the word settlement. It is builders speak for "it is normal" or "nothing can be done"

If your upper floors are outside the NHBC tolerances then this is a clear defect and needs addressing.  It may indicate that the I joist manufacturer's installation instructions and/or warranty standards have not been followed, such as a large hole cut in the web of the joist mid span or damage or cuts to the flanges and a whole host of other things.

If this is the case, you will probably have to move out for a month or two whilst any defective joist are removed or replaced.
Expect push back and further delaying and "explanations" from the builder.

Who is the house builder?

63
I recently purchased a new-build property, and I have encountered a situation that I could use some advice on. The property is subject to an annual maintenance/estate charge, and here's where the issue lies.

When I signed the transfer title documentation, it was clearly stated that the main road on the development would be put up for adoption by the local council. However, since then, the developer has changed their plans, and now they want the main road to be part of the estate charge.

Naturally, I was concerned about this unexpected change, especially given that the original paperwork clearly indicated that the main road did not form part of the charge, and therefore, I believed I was not liable for it. In response to my queries, the developer has suggested amending the legal documents to "correct" this perceived error. They've also agreed to cover all legal fees associated with making this amendment, which is appropriate.

My question is, what kind of compensation or fee should I request from the developer for agreeing to this change? By accepting this correction, I will now be liable for an additional charge for the road each year. Initially, I thought it might be fair to ask them to cover the additional amount I'll be paying for the road for the entire time I own the house.

However, after discussing this with a friend, they suggested that I should consider asking for more. They proposed requesting a fee in exchange for entering into a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). The reason for this is that I suspect other residents in our development might be facing the same issue, but they may not be aware of it yet.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this matter. What do you think is a reasonable compensation for this unexpected change, and should I indeed ask for an NDA as a part of the deal and at what cost? Your input and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
64
Snagging and defects / Sloping floors upstairs
« Last Post by Newhomeowner23 on October 16, 2023, 08:41:41 pm »
First time poster as recently completed on our new home but have so far found this forum very helpful reading, so a thank you to those who contribute in advance 🙂

We have a question about flooring and NHBC tolerance. We’ve just had our snagging survey back which has highlighted 1 bathroom and 2 bedrooms have creaking and uneven floors. We hadn’t noticed these initially so glad to have had the Snagger find these.

The Snagging Inspector has raised them as they are outside the  NHBC tolerance which I understand is 3mm deviation across 1 metre for floors up to 6 metres, max 20mm out of level for floors over 6 metres across, and flat within a +\- 5mm deviation measured using a 2 metre straight edge with equal offsets. What we have is the following:
- bathroom (16mm deviation in level measured with snagger's 2m spirit level)
- bedroom (10mm deviation in level with a 2m spirit)
- bedroom (17 mm deviation in level with a 2m spirit)

All sloping seems to occur towards centre of house/stairwell

We’ve raised this with builder who so far have agreed to investigate, although we have had some initial suggestions such as settlement, which I’m not sure about since downstairs is ok. According to the carpenter who visited today (who had fixed the creaking but did not investigate the floor slope) he has suggested it could be deflection of joists and because the joists span the entire top floor across rooms they are allowed to be deviating by 20mm according to NHBC but I’m not sure if that is right, given the other NHBC guidance allowing max 3mm deviation within 1 metre for rooms up to 6 metres seems to apply, since all impacted rooms are within this size?  Obviously going to ask for further investigation on this and to take up boards to understand the issue, but just looking for a bit of guidance really on how to apply the NHBC standards in these case and what possible causes/solutions could be.

Many thanks in advance for your help & suggestions
65
Snagging and defects / Re: New house taking ages to warm up
« Last Post by CuriousAvocado on October 12, 2023, 12:53:23 pm »
Check the roof space for insulation.

My guess is it is you that is feeling the cold and need to put the room thermostat up to 20degC.

As your house was cooler in summer it does seem to indicate the walls and roof have insulation.
Turn the boiler thermostat up a notch too, as this controls the temperature of the water in the system.


There is 400mm of insulation in the loft.

I thought a flow temp of 70degC should be more than enough for new build house, especially when it's not yet freezing cold outside.

It could be just me that feels the cold but I still don't understand why it would take so long to heat up.
66
It is not unusual to have a crack at the junction of the stair string and wall finish. Normally, this is filled with decorator's caulk when re decorating. If the stair string is fixed with screws to the adjacent wall, the cracking is usually minimal if any.

I have no idea what you are saying about "movement joints" internally, as these are normally only on external masonry walls.
However, there are movement joints in timber frame, which allow for the shrinkage of the time frame (vertically) as it dries out. These are at soffit level and under the windows.
I also cannot begin to understand what the builder is doing by "adding a 10ft x 1ft plank of wood" above the staircase!

Regarding the silicone to the tiling, again I assume you mean between the tiling and bath and/or shower tray.
These are not designed movement joints.
As the floor joists dry out they will shrink with the bath dropping. The best way to solve this is to jack up the bath or shower tray from underneath, fill a bath with water and then re silicone the junction around it. Leave water in the bath until the silicone is hard.  You may be indicating the silicone at internal tiling corners is coming away. This would be due to the tiling being greasy or not cleaned before the silicone was done. It would be easy to strip it and re do it properly.

Regarding snagging and the fact that the Client (Housing Association) had a QC process means nothing if defects are found or develop. Staff on the end of the telephone at the HA will not understand about how to action work for defects. In fact most plc housebuilder's customer care departments are lacking in experience too.

Your tenure is shared equity, meaning you own a proportion of the property and as such you should be able to deal with the builder directly although the HA will have more sway as they will/should be holding retention monies from the builder.

"Settlement" is a term used by those that either don't know anything about snagging or try to minimise it and make snags inevitable and unpreventable.  All so called "settlement" is actually shrinkage - cracks appearing as a result of the building drying out either after being too wet during construction or drying out too quickly. Within the first 6 months these are "defects" if wider than the thickness of a 10p coin. 
67
Snagging and defects / Shared Ownership Snagging issues - Guidance needed
« Last Post by gambitgsy on October 05, 2023, 12:03:50 pm »
Good morning everyone,

Apologies if this has been answered previously, I have searched for answers prior to posting this.

I have recently entered a Share to Buy arrangement with a local housing association and because of this, I cannot go directly to the building company with any issues I have. The process I need to follow is to submit a 'defect' request via the housing association which does cause delays and some confusion. It is also worth noting that the housing association have conducted their own QC and accepted the handover from the builder to them, which should mean there are no snagging issues!? (This does not include settlement defects)

First issue
I started to notice cracks/movements on the wall next to the stairs and after lots of onsite meetings, it looked like the floor level was causing this. An 'operative' was assigned, and they admitted that there were no movement joints, so cut one into the wall and then placed a plank of wood on top of it (approx 10ft long by 1ft wide) and painted it. This has been 'signed off' as complete and no acknowledgement of what caused it. I have expressed my dissatisfaction and this is being investigated!

Question - Has anyone else experienced this and any guidance on what my next steps should be if the investigation shows that this is acceptable? (no other houses have this and also could it be structural, but now hidden by this plank of wood)

Second issue
The bathroom/shower tiling is not up to standard and the silicone joints are not covering the expansion joints and already peeling away, allowing water to pass them. My previous trade was as a Ceramic and Natural stone tiler, so I have some knowledge in this area and can tell them what is wrong.

Question - It has been a long time since I was in this profession, but even then we would waterproof the wet areas before tiling and this does not seem to have been done. I checked Building Standards and this is now a requirement, but does not provide much detail on to what standard it should be done to? Anyone have experience or knowledge of this area?

Third issue(s)
The rest of the issues are the 'usual' finish of walls and woodwork, door seals, faulty items etc. I am managing these separately.

Thanks for reading and any help/guidance is welcome
68
Snagging and defects / Re: New house taking ages to warm up
« Last Post by New Home Expert on October 05, 2023, 07:57:01 am »
Check the roof space for insulation.

My guess is it is you that is feeling the cold and need to put the room thermostat up to 20degC.

As your house was cooler in summer it does seem to indicate the walls and roof have insulation.
Turn the boiler thermostat up a notch too, as this controls the temperature of the water in the system.

69
Snagging and defects / New house taking ages to warm up
« Last Post by CuriousAvocado on October 02, 2023, 10:11:41 pm »
Last weekend the temperature in the house dropped below 17C so I put the heating on to get the chill off (outside temperature was around 9C overnight). However it took almost 2 hours to get to 19C, and another hour to 20C! I don't think this is right for a new build so something must be wrong!

Some facts on the house:
-The house is a 4-bed detached with gas central heating.
-I've checked the radiator sizes and they're sized correctly for the rooms.
-The radiators are all hot to the touch with no cold spot.
-I've also checked the temperature at the flow & return pipes at the radiators (by touching with hands), and I can feel a distinct temperature difference so I think the balance is ok.
-The flow temp at the boiler is set to 70C
-The air permeability of the house is 4.7, which is within the requirement of 5

Everything seems to be fine on paper, which doesn't explain why the house takes so long to heat up!?
One thing I did notice is that during the heatwave this summer, the temp inside the house seems to be lower than the outside temp. I could feel a temp drop as soon as I enter the house, only managed to bring the inside temp up after opening all the windows and patio doors.

Can anyone suggest what is wrong with my house?
70
Energy / Re: Compliance with Part L 2022 changes
« Last Post by Newbuild on September 22, 2023, 05:53:15 pm »
As far as I would deduce, an oversize boiler would not use more gas. 
It would heat the water up quicker than a smaller boiler.
Once the room temperature was reached the thermostat would turn it off, probably much earlier than a smaller output boiler.

The regulations surrounding the boiler oversizing seem strange. I would also question why, a greedy housebuilder would specify and fit a larger, more expensive boiler than they are required by regulations to do.

You are not quite right there.

An over sized boiler often has a minimum modulation that can be far too high for the heat demand of the property for much of the year. The typical example would be a 30kwh combi that is only capable of modulation to 9kwh CH demand. 9kwh of heatloss at -3C is quite a significantly sized property and as such the boiler will cycle - the initial start up for most boilers invovled a full flame which uses more gas than just sitting at the correct modulation would be.

These boilers often have cash back at the wholesaler hence why you see them, also manufacturers offer silly rule of thumb specs like 40kwh = 10 radiators" and other such stupidity.

ON/OFF heating is not efficient in the majority of UK homes.
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