Author Topic: Soft Mortar  (Read 3054 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
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!
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.


michaelmge

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
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.

Tim Fee Snagging Inspector

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
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.
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.

michaelmge

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
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

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
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!
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.

michaelmge

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
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.

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
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.


michaelmge

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2018, 06:11:28 pm »
Another update.
I have refused the offer to sign a non disclosure agreement.
As far as I am concerned as the problem was reported within the first 2 years and they have to carry out the repairs without trying to gag me.
This west facing wall that I believe has the problems being caused by incorrect exposure zone leading to incorrect mortar. 18 days after the 2-year with Bloor Homes expired, my westerly facing roof has tiles lifting!! Coincidence or bad workmanship?
I carry on.

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2018, 08:09:40 am »
I am pleased you refused to be gagged. If only more buyers had the courage to do this.
Trouble is, for most, money talks and they would rather have a small cheque and their home fixed than spread the word about the terrible standard of new homes and dire service from housebuilders.
That then gives this terrible industry to claim that those like you who have problems are "isolated instances  and the vast majority of new home buyers dint have any issues"

I think the roof tiles are a coincidence (in timing) as they could have lifted at any time due to bad workmanship.
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.

michaelmge

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2018, 09:53:08 pm »
Further update.
Having complained to MDInsurance (underwriters of LABC warranty) about the decision on my mortar, they agreed to look at it again based on my complaint being about the exposure zone.
It has taken them 13 working days for warranty to tell me that Bloor have provided information that BS 8104 has been applied correctly and that the wall in question is sheltered.

So without coming to review the property, they have applied all the evidence that Bloor have supplied and declared exposure and mortar are fine and that there is no defect. So why did they not sort this out at the beginning of March? Anyway I still have weak mortar, not caused by rain or frost at time of build, not caused by defective mortar or incorrect exposure but will anybody give a reason why there is an issue?

The regional managing director saw the mortar so you might expect him to be saying that they need to find the reason, but no word from him at all. Logic says to me it is the exposure despite the position they have adopted as we cannot leave the upstairs windows open when the wind blows there are 250 perps in the car port that can be rubbed out, but warranty ignored this. Two days of this week homeowners are being visited by Bloor and cavity wall insulation installers because houses appear to only have insulation installed up to head height. Bloor knew but did not see fit to inform us but it got around through Facebook.

Thanks for taking the time to review what I write.

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2018, 06:09:54 am »
Firstly MD Insurance do not underwrite the LABC or Premier Guarantee warranty they are scheme administrators. The policies are underwritten by AmTrust Europe Limited. AmTrust Europe Limited is part of the AmTrust Group.

As the mortar can be rubbed out it has clearly failed (for whatever reason) and therefore does not comply with Building Regulations and is not "fit for purpose"  Bloor Homes are also in breach of contract as they have not built your home in accordance with Building Regulations and in a workmanlike manner!

As for LABC, this is why I always say to buyers, if the home does not have a NHBC warranty, walk away!
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.

michaelmge

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2018, 09:41:29 pm »
I have come on here today to have a rant at the way LABC warranty have dealt with my complaint.

I understand that there would be a reluctance to accept that Bloor homes architects could make a mistake when looking at wind and rain exposure but to have dismissed my claim in favour of a desktop review I find appalling.

I have told MDInsurance that I could have sent a RICS report and it would have been ignored.
Their surveyor is working off photos I sent and photos he took last October and his opinion is that there are a few 'minor problems'. Having been told that there are 250 perps in the carport that I can remove by rubbing out they did not even comment on it.

I have told them my evidence was physical but still they would not come for a look. Having a look would have raised the question that all was not as it should be despite the paperwork saying otherwise. I have asked them to tell me what level of evidence they expect householders to provide them with but I do not expect an answer. My neighbours have now found issues with their mortar but this will be dismissed because warranty have ruled on my case. I will not give up on this and now I have a grievance not only against Bloor but warranty as well.

Rant over.

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2018, 06:27:29 am »
Feel free to rant.  You have every good reason. The very least that Bloor and LABC can and should do is come and look at the problem. A desktop study or design does not mean that something will not fail in the real world. Buildings do fall down.

Likewise whatever the suitability of the design of the mortar mix on paper, there are so many things that can and do go wrong that cause mortar to be weak or soft.
A visit to your home is essential. 

Next step, write to LABC and say if they refuse to properly consider your genuine warranty claim seriously, you will be complaining to the financial ombudsman.

I think iot is also time for you to join forces with your neighbours and share information and decide on a joint action. Strength in numbers. Housebuilders divide and conquer!
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.

michaelmge

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2018, 04:42:28 pm »
HI am still trying to understand why my mortar can be rubbed out so have been asking about the use of BS8104 and all I am getting is that the stations used for the site are sy3, sy4 and py9.

Cannot find what these relate to but apparently they comfirm the site to be sheltered or moderate. Which of course means nothing is making the mortar come out, except it must be doing it to itself.
Strange!!

New Home Expert

  • Global Moderator
  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Country: england
  • Expert advice for new home buyers
    • New Home Blog
Re: Soft Mortar
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2018, 08:00:24 am »
See NHBC Exposure map below.
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.