Author Topic: Soft Mortar  (Read 1502 times)

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New Home Expert

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Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2018, 07:15:15 am »
What you have said, I've seen all this before.
Builder blames mortar company. Mortar company says design mix and our test results prove it is OK.
Then blame builder for site based issues - freezing etc). 
Warranty company gets involved and suggests 25mm repointing with stronger (higher cement content) mortar.

Soft weak mortar is far too common, across most mortar suppliers and housebuilders to be ignored.
Even if you do get it sorted you will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement "gagging order" so your neighbours never check their mortar as it is certain to be a site-wide issue!
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michaelmge

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Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2018, 10:50:57 pm »
Update.
Today I have had an email from LABC warranty resolution saying having weighed all of the evidence and especially the report from the testing agency that they have found there is no defect against their technical manual and that no visit to the site is warranted.

My argument has always been against the designation of mortar used not whether the mortar is what they have said they used. They have always said they used an M4 designated iii mortar and have proved that. On the 6 March they were asked by warranty if they had used a designation ii mortar as per their technical manual but then refused to give a ruling until the testing was carried out. So in their email there is no mention of weather zone or mortar requirement.

At a meeting last week Bloor said that my property would have been worked out with an individual exposure assessment so are confident of their calculations. There is no mention of this that I can find in the T.M. But surely this could then lead to different exposures on the same site. They have also used f2 s2 bricks which would be used in areas at risk from high saturation. So I battle on.

Up to now I have not involved anybody else on the estate in alerting them to a potential problem,as I would not wish to cause undue alarm if I am wrong. Two other things that came from the meeting was they would repoint the problem areas using an M6 mortar. Why would they if their figures are right!
And they seemed extremely pleased in telling me in justification that they are using an M6 mortar in Brixham instead of M12. Any advice would be welcome concerning mortar designation use in severe wind driven rain areas and the calculation of the zones.


New Home Expert

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Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2018, 09:47:35 am »
You might find my article on weak mortar and various mixes of interest.

I think a repoint using M6 (severe) is to ensure that the problem goes away. It costs very little more to use M6 than M4. The significant cost is in the labour aspect.

It is ridiculous to claim that each home on a development is assessed individually for exposure!  Just think how many different mortar mixes they would need and how much work would be involved to ensure the right mix was used to build each home.
From the NHBC exposure map here it can be seen that Brixham is in a 'Very Severe' category. In my opinion designation (ii) or M6 mortar should have been used anyway, perhaps even (i) M12 mortar!

Please tell your neighbours as some of these may not find out about the issue until the warranty expires!

I would have more respect for Bloor Homes (and other housebuilders)  if they just came clean and dealt with it (like BMW have this week) rather than try and avoid doing anything at all.
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michaelmge

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Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2018, 09:31:15 pm »
I could not agree with your last paragraph more. I served them with a Subject Access Request in March. They missed the 40 day requirement and I had to write to them again. It finally took 52 days! I had a 12-month battle with them over dpc level only to find out from an email in the SAR that they knew in December 2016 that the levels were wrong.

They still made me fight for a year to get the dpc improved. Now they are refusing to answer questions arising from the SAR. LABC have not even bothered to acknowledge the emails I sent them yesterday, which, when you consider their verdict and the effect it could have on me, I think is poor customer service to a policyholder.

I am sure they were banking on the chemical testing to prove that there was no problem and totally forgot what I had raised a complaint about. The person trying to get me to believe about exposures was an extremely senior person! That person is also aware that the issue I have, is showing on my neighbour's garage that backs onto my garden.

It is a shame that their customer service is based around adversity and confrontation rather than conciliation, even more so as the overall product is very good.

Thank you for your support. I look forward to keeping you updated.
One other thing about SAR you will get a load of rubbish but it will provide information you can use. Rules change soon, I believe 25th May, response to a request is 30 days (instead of 40) and I believe it will be free.

New Home Expert

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Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2018, 09:44:16 am »
You should report Bloor to the Information Commissioner's Office [ICO} as they have broken the law in not complying with the requirements of the Data Protection Act as it currently is.

You are quite correct, from 25th May 2018, it will be completely free for new homebuyers to make a SAR to a housebuilder or warranty provider and they will indeed, have just 30 days to comply.

I have been instrumental (I would hope) in making new homebuyers aware of and encouraging them to make a Subject Access Request.  Most buyers will receive lots of useful, enlightening information (ammunition) which they can use against housebuilders to pursue legal action if required. New Homebuyers should be aware there is a ever growing incidence of housebuilders redacting huge swaths of information on what they send to buyers. (probably to hide damning and incriminating evidence].

Some of this may be permissible under commercial sensitivity rules of the DPA but given the new 30 day deadline, they will have less time to do this after 25 May 2018!
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michaelmge

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Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2018, 03:50:55 pm »
Hi,
Here we go again!
A a further update.

Today LABC warranty concilliation told me more or less to go away. They have concluded no visit to site required and that there is no breach of their technical manual because the third party report on the mortar analysis proves that there is nothing wrong.

So no defect lets the developer off. Strange that their South West regional managing director has had discussions with them prior to the verdict. The following are taken from an email sent by warranty before the testing:

Quote
  "The property is in an area considered a severe weather exposure as per Technical Manual.  Guidance on mortar strength is given in TM table  2.3.2.1c.  External walls with high risk of saturation due to severe weather exposure should have a designation ii mortar.  The developer will have to provide us with documentation showing that they have used the correct mortar."

The analysis of the mortar proved it to be designation  iii. But that does not seem to matter anymore even though they are using the report as the be all and end all. There is no mention in there findings about weather zones or why a designation iii mortar is now suitable and they refuse to discuss their findings or reasoning.

So how good are LABC warranty? Have they ignored their Technical manual?
I would not mind if there was a reasoned argument to back it up but all there is, the report was beginning, middle and end of the argument. So I am losing mortar but there is no defect and they have given no direction to the developer.

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Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2018, 06:34:53 am »
In my opinion LABC warranty isn't worth the paper its written on. I get many buyers who tell me their claims are dismissed out of hand.  I always say that if there is no NHBC warranty, walk away. Even so, NHBC warranty also has a very poor record for sorting out and preventing weak mortar issues in the homes it inspects. If it does, they are covered by non-disclosure agreements so others on the development never know.

All you can do now is write to the LABC and ask for them to send you a 'deadlock letter' so you can make a formal complaint (about LABC warranty) to the Financial Ombudsman Services. It wont cost you anything to do this and it be recorded against LABC in FOS statistics.
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.