Author Topic: Poorly Laid Turf  (Read 23973 times)

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boredsailor

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Poorly Laid Turf
« on: August 11, 2011, 07:18:17 pm »
I'm a new member here and I have a query regarding my 18 month old lawn (if I can call it that).
Where do I stand complaining to the house builder regarding the quality of the work undertaken in laying of turf?
I have just finished digging out an area 15cm wide by about 4 metres long and have cleared untold amounts of rubbish, the biggest piece of which consisted of half a house brick from it (photos can be attached if required). There were also numerous lumps of metal among other things.

I have also had to lay topsoil and fresh grass seed (all at my expense) due to the amount of dead turf and bald patches that I had.  There are bald patches all over, dead patches around fence posts where they seem to have laid turf over concrete (again photos can be attached if required) and the unevenness of said lawn leaves more than enough to the imagination.  It appears as if over the 18 months or so where we have been walking on it, the clay has compacted and the rubble is rising to the surface.  I have a two and a half year old toddler and at the minute I consider the garden unsuitable for her due to the unevenness of the ground.  Do I have grounds for complaint and if so can I expect full remedial action to be taken?

Very many thanks in advance and all constructive advice welcomed.



Philofacts

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2011, 01:20:35 pm »
I think 18 months is a bit too long to make a first complaint about your lawn.
However, it is still worth complaining you never know.

Most house builders use cheap grade "meadow turf" and it sounds like this is what you have.
Most turf tends to die/go brown at path edges and areas like fence posts.  This is because the soil is shallower here and dries out quicker.
Sadly this is not a defect and there is little to be doen except water it in hot dry weather.

As you have already tried to lay more topsoil and re seed, I can see the house builder declining any responsibility.
However, there should not be any rubble or builder's debris under the turf or within the top 150mm of topsoil.   This is an NHBC requirement.
This would be your best area of complaint.

I would suggest you ask the house builder for an amount of compensation so you can go ahead and get the lawn re laid yourself.
Especailly so if you paid extra for turf to be laid.

Good luck go to the How to complain section of this website for template letters and guides on how to get your house builder to get defects remedied.
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boredsailor

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2011, 02:54:52 pm »
Very many thanks for the reply.  This is not the first complaint as 1 month after moving in I spoke to the site manager about the poor quality of the job undertaken.  When walking on the turf when we first moved in it felt like sponge underfoot and had not been compacted properly.  The first time I mowed the turf after moving in it was scalped in places due to the unevenness of the surface. The site manager came round with the turfing contractor who rollered the lawn and then mowed it and that was it.  Slowly over time the turf has died to nothing in places and the soil/clay underneath has compacted further than other areas leaving some quite severe indentations and uneven areas all over the garden. There is no way that the top 150mm of topsoil is free from builders rubble due to the pile that is currently sat on my patio which I have dug up and found in only the top two inches or so.  I will look at the NHBC method via the How To Complain section of the site and see how I get on.

Very many thanks again.

Greenfinger

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2011, 03:03:07 pm »
The topsoil should not be compacted!  I know some landscapers lightly roll it flat.
It shouldnt have been so uneven that you scalped it on a first mow.

You should certainly bring it up again with your house builder.
Out of interest who was the builder by the way?

Anyway good luck with it.

Fred

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2011, 08:12:01 am »
We found that the turf we had laid by the builder was not very good either.
We ended up re seeding as you have tried.

Good luck with your complaint Boredsailor.

The Brickkicker

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2011, 09:49:08 am »
Quite a number of issues here:

1. Firstly my advice for getting a good surface is to lightly roll the soil ...so I agree with previous comment ..I have seen too many so called landscapers filling divots with sand ...it makes walking across the turf in the early days less destructive ...turf should be laid using scaffold boards or similar to prevent foot divots

2. The NHBC requirement is for a foot of top soil within the immediate curtilidge of the property (after that they are not interested)  - so long as:-

3 The rest of the garden area is free of vegetable matter

4 The rest of the garden is free on large rocks and builders debris

5. Builders turf is generally a hardwaring meadow grass ..this tends to grow evenly ...but is hardy and easy to keep ...if you want Rolawn ....then you're going to have to ask for it and pay extra.

6. These days sites are stripped of the top soil ...and its kept in a pile out of the way (for various reasons) it is then brought back ...and this the reason why it can get contaminated with sub soil ...or be very thin i.e less than a foot deep.

If your builder has met all the conditions above its likely a claim will not be upheld .
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Philofacts

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2011, 11:00:26 am »
Blimey Brickkicker, I would have loved my topsoil to be a foot deep, even after rotovating.

However the NHBC standards require just "100mm of topsoil to all garden areas. This has been made possible now that garden areas
have been defined as any area up to 20m from the new home."  This would cover all of most new home gardens except those on very large plots perhaps with a paddock. Any topsoil needs to be clean and free from contaminants which could be a hazard."  (NHBC Standards Update July 2004)

As a general rule 150mm six inches of clean topsoil should be an absolute minimum.
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boredsailor

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2011, 09:21:52 pm »
The topsoil should not be compacted!  I know some landscapers lightly roll it flat.
It shouldnt have been so uneven that you scalped it on a first mow.

You should certainly bring it up again with your house builder.
Out of interest who was the builder by the way?

Anyway good luck with it.

The house builder was Strata.  Apologies for the delay in replying, have been out of town with no internet access.

boredsailor

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2011, 09:27:38 pm »
Quite a number of issues here:

1. Firstly my advice for getting a good surface is to lightly roll the soil ...so I agree with previous comment ..I have seen too many so called landscapers filling divots with sand ...it makes walking across the turf in the early days less destructive ...turf should be laid using scaffold boards or similar to prevent foot divots

2. The NHBC requirement is for a foot of top soil within the immediate curtilidge of the property (after that they are not interested)  - so long as:-

3 The rest of the garden area is free of vegetable matter

4 The rest of the garden is free on large rocks and builders debris

5. Builders turf is generally a hardwaring meadow grass ..this tends to grow evenly ...but is hardy and easy to keep ...if you want Rolawn ....then you're going to have to ask for it and pay extra.

6. These days sites are stripped of the top soil ...and its kept in a pile out of the way (for various reasons) it is then brought back ...and this the reason why it can get contaminated with sub soil ...or be very thin i.e less than a foot deep.

If your builder has met all the conditions above its likely a claim will not be upheld .

Brickkicker,

Many thanks for the points above.  Given the pile of builders rubble and debris that is currently sat on my patio which i have found in only a small area of lawn I somehow feel that the building company have not complied with point 4 and given that i found turf laid pretty much on top of fence post concrete it appears as if they have not even complied with the NHBC basic requirement of a minimum of 1 foot of topsoil all over.

Many thanks for your comments and regards.

Philofacts

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2011, 09:51:02 am »
I am not sure if Brickkicker is correct  about the NHBC requirement being 300mm of topsoil.
By the way Rolawn recommend a depth of 150mm topsoil for laying turf or seeding.

Nevertheless there shouldn't be any builder's rubble or rubbish in it.
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The Brickkicker

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2011, 07:57:29 am »
My apologies 100mm was correct ...just checked the books ....150mm was my personal preferred standard

Here is the extract from the NHBC Standards:
 
Sitework that complies with the design and the guidance below will be acceptable for private roads, drives, paths and landscaping.
constructions for private roads, shared private drives, private drives, car parking, paths and patios.

GARDEN AREAS
(up to 20m from the habitable parts of the home)
9.2 - S5
Garden areas shall be free from obstructions beneath the surface
Old foundations, concrete bases and similar obstructions occurring within 300mm of the finished ground surface should be removed.

9.2 - S6
Garden areas shall be adequately prepared for cultivation
Construction rubbish and debris should be removed from garden and other areas around the home.

The ground around the home can be compacted by machinery and storage of materials during construction as well as when topsoil is being replaced and this can affect the structure of the soil and its draining capability. Where this occurs within 3m of the home appropriate action should be taken to suitably restore the drainage characteristics of the soil.

Any ground disturbed during construction should be re-graded to conform to the general shape of the adjacent ground.

Subsoil should not be placed over topsoil and any topsoil disturbed should be reinstated. Garden areas should be provided with topsoil to a thickness of not less than 100mm. The topsoil should not contain contaminants which are likely to present a hazard to users of the garden area.

LANDSCAPING
9.2 - S8
Planting shall be completed in a manner appropriate for the site conditions and layout
If landscaping is specified, the work should be carried out and completed in a competent professional manner. Landscaping should meet with the guidance given in the Design section of this Chapter.

The NHBC recommendations on the protection and planting of trees should also be followed. See Chapter 4.2 'Building near trees' (each section).


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Greenfinger

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2011, 11:22:10 am »
I would concur that 150mm, six inches in old money is a minimum of topsoil required for a good lawn.
It certainly shouldnt have any bricks and rubble in it.

boredsailor

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2011, 03:09:17 pm »
Many thanks to all the posts since my last comment.  I have initiated the complaints procedure against the home builder and hope to have a resolution soon.

Regards

Admin

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2011, 09:12:00 am »
Let us all know the outcome.
The important thing is not to give up.
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BobTB

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Re: Poorly Laid Turf
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2011, 02:41:53 pm »
Blame the landfill tax!
Most builders will bury inert debris (brick rubble and the like) if they can get away with it.
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