Author Topic: Very cold new build + other queries  (Read 273 times)

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user2000

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Very cold new build + other queries
« on: February 25, 2019, 11:58:40 am »
So pleased to have come across your blog to confirm that I am far from alone.

Firstly I should say that I was initially delighted to get the keys to our new home.  I am self-employed and missed the boat on self certification to buy a house and although I get by I will never be rich, so after 20 years patiently waiting on our council housing list we were over the moon to be offered an affordable rent new build property managed by a housing association.  I live in Scotland so the development was funded by the Scottish Government and so obviously building regulations etc are different in some ways compared to the rest of the UK.

It's depressing enough when there is an expectation from others that we have a "lovely house" and should perhaps feel eternally grateful but after a year in the property (when the developer is looking to get shot of the house to the association) I have had to start thinking that my family will be living here for the rest of our lives and that it would be prudent to nip any problems in the bud now, instead of 20 or more years later down the line when the developer has long since buggered off.

The usual snagging things were discovered in the first week, I have a couple of mates in the building industry (complete with their own hair-raising stories), as well as another friend who has bought several new build properties in his time, who had a look and gave me their tips and insights into things that were clearly not right but that I would never have spotted having always lived in private rented accommodation (and the same one for over a decade).

This produced a list of maybe 20 or so snags, not that many when I have read into what others suffer, that was met by the associations own "independent" Clerk of Works with the disdain that I find being a social tenant can covet - "we'll just say you're not happy with your house then, get you somewhere else?" - although I am sure he may run into his fair share of choice tenants I had to inform him that just because I'm a social tenant does not make me a moron so I would be obliged if he would not treat me like one.  A great start one week in...  (apart from the fact that there are plenty choice candidates I see in the wider, private, development but of course you are tolerated if you have money!)

I have always been interested in consumer affairs and such things (especially running my own small business) and so I have come across various "nightmare new build" types shows over the years so I was pleased that our home does not appear to have anywhere near the level of some of the serious defects highlighted in such programmes.

But having lived in the house for over a year now and with the developer trying to offload the property there are a few things, one I regard as serious and a couple of "first world problems", that I am digging my heels in about but getting met with a pass the parcel type game between the housing association and the developer.  Usually this results in a kind of Chinese whispers happening where something is reported and by the time it has bounced down to the site manager someone turns up with half an idea what they are supposed to be attending to.  That's if they do turn up without me constantly chasing them - an example would be our bathroom sink - it was sloping at the back pooling water.  Seems simple enough - remove the four tiles above the sink, move the sink up, reapply the tiles and touch up the paint.  Seven weeks that took from start to finish.

Another more recent eye opener was a few weeks ago when two builders rang the bell to ask my wife if they could measure one of the living room windows from the outside... to make sure the one on the house they are currently building is the same size!  Needless to say this does erode confidence in my own home somewhat given some of the other things I have witnessed from contractors in my own home and around the wider ongoing site.

I've tried to gen myself up on what is and isn't required and although my own line of work is in a technical background, some of what I read seems to be open to a great deal of interpretation, especially with the Scottish Building Standards being different in many respects I find there just isn't as much information out there.  Also I am not sure about NHBC guidelines, which the developer says they adhere to but I am finding that in reality it's a bit pick and choose for them.

It's while investigating what I consider the most serious issues that I picked up on a couple of things that are definite "first world problems" but if I am reading the regulations right shouldn't be the way they are.

The first problem is getting the bins out.  We have a path, 595mm wide, leading from the back gate to the driveway/parking space (more on that next).  You can see this to the right hand side of the attached photo of the drive/parking bays.  The wheelie bins are 555mm to the outer wheel edge.  This does not leave much room for error, I've already had a few injuries as the bin invariably gets stuck on the bark on one side or stone chips on the other side of the path.  My wife will not take the bin out any longer after it got stuck and fell on top of her.  Other properties, in both the private development and the social housing development have 900mm paths, as you would expect given the guidance set out by NHBC, "paths used for the removal of refuse".

http://www.nhbc.co.uk/Builders/ProductsandServices/TechZone/NHBCStandards/TechnicalGuidanceDocuments/102/filedownload,65399,en.pdf

Basically I'm looking for a 900mm path here (like everyone else) so I can wheel the bins out without injuring myself.

The other minor issue is with the drive itself.  Or is it two drives?  Or two parking bays?  My mother in law went over on her ankle getting out her car either straight onto the sodden grass or the stone chips in the middle.  Again, while investigating my main issue I came across the Scottish Building Standards...

Our house was completed in November 2017 so I assume the 2017 standards will apply, however the 2013 ones look the same in this respect:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/building-standards-2017-domestic/4-safety/41-access-to-buildings/

https://www2.gov.scot/resource/buildingstandards/2013Domestic/chunks/ch05s02.html


If I'm reading that correctly then our parking bays are not 3.3m wide and do not offer an "accessible route to the accessible entrance" when both bays are occupied.  There is not a way "to alight from a vehicle directly onto the firm surface of an accessible route to the dwelling".  These parking bays are the only way to access our "accessible entrance" (front door).

"Where a driveway or car parking space forms part of an accessible route to a dwelling, it should be at least 3.3m wide to allow a 900mm wide pedestrian route past a parked car. That portion of the driveway surface should be in accordance with the recommendations in clause 4.1.4." - i.e. not a "loose-laid material".

When looking at the other properties, the driveways do conform to the 3.3m rule as they are not split in the middle by stone chips.  I notice they are careful not to advertise single or double driveways in the literature for the private houses, only talking about garages.  This is of course because even though most driveways can take two cars, this then leaves no room to pass by!  The majority of the houses on the social housing development have the driveways at the side of the house, capable of housing two cars like my own; but the size rule does not apply as these houses have their own separate path to the front door.  Mine does not.  It does appear undeniable that there is provision for two cars to park within the curtilage of my building given the layout (The reason for my drive/parking bays to be as such is that access to my house is from the main road).

I feel that this would easily be resolved, for them anyway, if they got rid of the stone chips and filled the gap in with the same block paving.

So onto the main issue.  Our house is cold.  Very cold in the winter.  Too warm in the summer.  I initially had problems with the boiler and the heating system which was attended to but it seems the problem is actually with the windows and doors.

Our front door has always had problems - the first door we had was like a banana.  Visibly so, they did not need their level edge to work that one out.  However in saying that it took FOUR VISITS to agree that the door would be replaced with a new door (even though this was already agreed on the third visit).  The new door is now straight but no better.  Cold air pours in from it, mostly at the bottom.  I have tried in vain with draught excluders and towels to keep the draught out.

The other way cold air is getting in is from the corners of the window frames.  We have separate heating controls for the bedrooms and another that controls the living areas.  Even pumped up to 24c the bedrooms still feel cold.  The minute the heating goes off the heat disappears and you can feel the coldness wafting around.  Even putting my hand at the corners of the window frame you can actually feel the cold.  Initially I took some readings with an Infrared laser thermometer I use for work which also confirmed a vast difference in the temperature.  This is now the second winter and we shiver in our beds at night.  I already have thermal blinds and again I try in vain to combat the cold with towels, soft toys, ANYTHING that will soak up the coldness.  Waking up in the middle of the night because your nose and ears are cold is not pleasant.  We are supposed to live in an energy efficient house after all - 90 rated on the EPC.

With nothing being done I decided to make sure I wasn't imagining all this.  I cannot imagine a third winter of this never mind 10, 20 or (hopefully) even 30 winters down the line so I bought myself a Thermal Imaging Camera and took a crash course in thermography.  Even though I am in the technological business I do not profess to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination in this field but as I could already physically feel the cold then the pictures I have taken do not surprise me in the slightest.  I have no doubt that a professional survey would highlight the issues in even starker detail.

I've asked time and again for an independent thermographic survey and air leakage test to be carried out and finally after submitting these photos I've been told that the site manager has arranged to have the thermal imaging camera sent down from head office and that he, as a qualified thermographer, would take a look around.  Hardly independent but I suppose it's a start given the extraordinary lengths I've already had to go to to even begin to prove there's a problem.  He's on about the radiator sizing and how he would check they are what they are supposed to be, but I am quite sure they probably are adequate - IF the house wasn't pouring cold air in through every opening (not to mention to cold spots around the eaves and bedroom ceilings below the loft).

It was very interesting to listen to this podcast on your site, as this seems to be what I am experiencing:

http://www.new-home-blog.co.uk/house-builders-are-cheating-new-home-air-leakage-testing/

Also an interesting article in The Guardian the other week, more or less mirroring my problem:

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/02/new-build-homes-why-some-owners-are-left-feeling-the-cold

My question with this, the biggest issue, is what can, should or MUST be done about this?

I can already tell they are trying to grind me down, but I remain resolute - my first priority is to the health and safety of my family not to mention my own mental health.  However I've never been a "shoulder shrugger" and I don't intend to start now.  As I've said it's difficult when EVERYONE comments on how lovely our house "looks" - it's easier just to smile through gritted teeth, I mean, who wants to hear all that above?  Even saying it out loud makes me sound demented!  What should have been a dream come true (and still is in many ways) has I feel rather interrupted our lives somewhat but if pointing out the shortcomings can help change one shoddy building practise for the future then I will be more than satisfied.

I'm really needing some reassurance that I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill here.  I've had to make the complaint official now as I was fed up getting fobbed off and having no concrete answer from anybody (if I hear another developer site manager tell me they aren't going to BS me and then continue on about how kit build houses are put together I will probably scream).  Now I am finding that process is slower than it should be so I now need to decide whether I am getting my local Councillor or MP involved (after all it was their party that put the money up for these houses), getting in touch with Building Standards at the local council or taking it further up the ladder towards the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and perhaps the Scottish Government themselves. 

Passing by the local paper, Twitter, Facebook and anybody else that will listen of course.  Obviously I would still have the same problems if I had bought the house but it's possible that the fact of being a social tenant with a secure tenancy gives me greater power to have things put right that a private resident may not - more rights buying a tin of beans than a new build house as I have read - but I would hope that any resolution I can extract will help ALL those with new build properties.

Of course I am delighted with our new home, and I do feel grateful to be one of the lucky ones (albeit after 20 years waiting) to have access to affordable housing, but I don't feel that as a prerequisite I should be expected to put up with a substandard build.


michaelmge

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 10:02:45 pm »
I don't know that I can help you much but I live on a new estate in the south west of England where properties were experiencing cold rooms (still probably warmer than where you are).

There have been numerous properties with missing or partially missing cavity wall insulation and poorly laid loft insulation. Interesting that you have a 'qualified thermographer' as a site manager!! Our developer carried out their own imaging by site management and declared that there were no issues.

There was a number of us who got independent thermal imaging carried out  and all of us proved them wrong. With thermal imaging there is a British standard bs en 13187-1999 that lays out how the imaging should be conducted (check thermal imaging companies). This is how we knew there were problems with the results they told us of. They will not want to instruct a thermal imaging company because as we found out, there were issues other than CWI that turned up such as poorly fitted Windows.

Good luck.


user2000

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 07:50:37 am »
Hi.Don't know that I can help you much but I live on a new estate in the south west of England where properties were experiencing cold rooms ( still probably warmer than where you are ).There have been numerous properties with missing or partially missing cavity wall insulation and poorly laid loft insulation.Interesting that you have a ' qualified thermographer' as a site manager!! Our developer carried out their own imaging by site management and declared that there were no issues. There was a number of us who got independent thermal imaging carried out  and all of us proved them wrong.With thermal imaging there is a British standard bs en 13187-1999 that lays out how the imaging should be conducted (check thermal imaging companies ).This is how we knew there was problems with the results they told us of.They will not want to instruct a thermal imaging company because as we found out there were issues other than CWI that turned up such as poorly fitted Windows.Good luck.

Very interesting, thanks for that insight.  I'm in this for the long haul now as we have every intention of seeing out our days here unless my business suddenly goes stratospheric or that lottery win comes in (although don't know if I'd buy a new build!) so I feel that I must press them to get it right now, instead of later.  We have had several site managers in the year or so we've been here so maybe this new guy can get the camera down from head office before he's seconded elsewhere  :-\  (he's already, worryingly, told me he's not a BS'er so we will see...)

As I can only post 3 pics per post, here's some more I've taken, the shots referring to the bedroom are of the same room, ours (the large window faces north and the little window east meaning there's a double whammy in that this area of the building gets next to no sun at all so we really need this room to be at its best thermal efficiency!), however the other two bedrooms and the rest of the windows downstairs show exactly the same cold spots (with cold air ingress able to be felt on the back of the hand).  Again I will say I am no expert, and I've allowed only for automatic calibration on the IR camera, but I reckon there can be no doubt that a professional survey would highlight the issue with glaring clarity.  I've taken an outside shot of the house, very far from being properly calibrated, but it's fair to say that around the eaves lit up like a Christmas tree!

I've already taken advice from a 30+ year veteran of the double glazing game and he reckons it is indeed a combination of poorly fitted windows and missing insulation.  All the cold air is seeping in from the corners where the internal wooden sill meets the uPVC frame.  Not much thought has been put into avoiding thermal bridging either.

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 08:11:05 am »
Ok the good news, which you may not want to hear is you are a tenant and can simply request to be rehoused, obviously in a home that you will pre check with your thermal imaging camera is not also leaking like a sieve.

But I can see you are determined to not let your housebuilder get away with their clearly defective work.

The basin is easily remedied. All they need to do is remove the white silicone, undo the screws fixing it to the wall. Pack it out at the top so it is level, re tighten up the fixings and re silicone!

You are quite correct there should be a minimum width path for wheelie bins. But is the issue that there is not room for a wider path?

Regarding the parking bays, quite why the housebuilder hasn't added some block paving instead of the shingle I don't know. Again easy to do at minimal cost.

Looking at your photographs, it is clear your have cold bridging at the window openings and the windows themselves are poor quality and/or badly fitted. This is not acceptable. The property owner the Housing Association should be complaining to the housebuilder. They have a duty to endure their publicly funded housing meets the required standards.

I believe your best option is adverse publicity for both the housebuilder and housing association.
"Public money being squandered on shoddy-built  new homes."

I know from helping other new homeowners in Scotland getting this sorted will be every bit as difficult as in the rest of the UK.

Who is the housebuilder?
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user2000

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 11:13:53 am »
Ok the good news, which you may not want to hear is you are a tenant and can simply request to be rehoused, obviously in a home that you will pre check with your thermal imaging camera is not also leaking like a sieve.

But I can see you are determined to not let your housebuilder get away with their clearly defective work.

The basin is easily remedied. All they need to do is remove the white silicone, undo the screws fixing it to the wall. Pack it out at the top so it is level, re tighten up the fixings and re silicone!

You are quite correct there should be a minimum width path for wheelie bins. But is the issue that there is not room for a wider path?

Regarding the parking bays, quite why the housebuilder hasn't added some block paving instead of the shingle I don't know. Again easy to do at minimal cost.

Looking at your photographs, it is clear your have cold bridging at the window openings and the windows themselves are poor quality and/or badly fitted. This is not acceptable. The property owner the Housing Association should be complaining to the housebuilder. They have a duty to endure their publicly funded housing meets the required standards.

I believe your best option is adverse publicity for both the housebuilder and housing association.
"Public money being squandered on shoddy-built  new homes."

I know from helping other new homeowners in Scotland getting this sorted will be every bit as difficult as in the rest of the UK.

Who is the housebuilder?

Thanks for your reply!  Stewart Milne is the housebuilder - from what I understand this development is their first foray into social housing partnership building.  The last I heard they were already 4 months behind schedule on the build (around 60 properties mostly 2 bedroom houses as seen in the photo with a handful of 3 bedrooms and some 1 and 2 bedroom maisonettes - our 3 bedroom was the first constructed).

To tackle your points:

The basin was remedied, I was just giving an indication of the pains it takes to get the simplest of simple jobs done on this site (and no doubt every site) - it took them SEVEN weeks to accomplish this, the site manager at the time actually came himself to take the tiles off (they do not have a dedicated team for the affordable housing, having to take guys off the private builds as and when), then it was subbie after subbie, days and weeks apart to move the sink, retile and silicone then paint.  Seven weeks in various states of repair.

There is plenty of room for a path so I really cannot understand why they put this silly thin path in.  Where you can see the shrubs in the bark - that extends up the side of the building about ten metres and gets wider the further up it goes.  The distance from the edge of the path over the bark to the pavement is just over 2m as shown in the photo and extends to 3.5m between path and pavement at my back gate.  I've had a good look around the wider estate, both private and social developments, and there are a number of properties where there is only enough space to have the 900mm path leading from the rear between the sides of the house and the adjoining fence and they all seem to have it.

Again with the block paving, a strange one but it would seem that the Scottish Building Standards are quite clear on this.  I shouldn't be stepping out onto the stone chips especially seeing as this is my only entrance (the 900mm path from my door in front of the cars stops before another decorative shrub/bark collection).

I'm glad you concur on the windows.  The fact that I have been telling them that the house is colder than any rickety house I've rented in years gone by has gone for nothing until I took the steps to acquire a thermal imaging camera myself.  This has perked them up a bit and I've already told them I intend to start making a song and dance about it.

This could, and SHOULD, be a lovely energy efficient house to be proud of and raise our children in comfortably.  We waited a LONG time for this place - I thought we were never going to get there as there is always someone in greater need.  Sometimes, gratingly, with self inflicted problems - just getting on with it, privately renting and patiently waiting does not  make you a priority.  I am so grateful to my friend to whom we rented from over 3 different properties for nearly 15 years or so as I met my wife and our family grew (OK, a mutually benficial arrangement which clearly he had the better deal on, but he didn't bother us, MOSTLY repaired things (certainly when the double glazing failed he replaced it without quibble), and of course although it wasn't technically secure, we felt safe enough that we wouldn't have to be moving around every 6-12 months.  So when we found out we were to be offered a brand new house we were elated.  I'm not shy to say we were in tears of joy at the news.

With the benefit of hindsight I would have had the thermal imaging camera in at day one.  It would be easy to ask to be rehoused, but I would dread to think where we might end up.  I grew up in this town and the whole area is widely considered to be the most pressuried areas in Scotland for council/social/affordable housing.  I've also already spent thousands on all the things an empty shell of a house needs - even though throughout the years privately renting they were always unfurnished and it was easier not to move aging white goods that now would not fit into their new surroundings.

You are right - I am determined.  I want to MAKE this our home.  I have to say I am not a publicity seeking kind of guy but if it comes to it that's what I will do.

Can I ask your opinion on what you think the remedy is going to be for the cold ingression - am I looking at the internal walls being ripped off to pad the windows?!?  I'm not really bothered what they need to do, but I dread the thought of winter after winter like this.  I am also concerned about the front door, a composite door on a near level threshold.  The draught along the bottom and sides of this is terrible as well, as shown in the photo.  It has never sat tight in the frame, there is quite some give in the top right corner and the door moves about 10mm in the frame when lightly pushed.  Any gap makes it either to jimmy one would have thought.

Thanks again for your thoughts, so glad to have found your blog.  The biggest hurdle I have found is battling against developer nonchalance when they are confronted with issues and I then find I'm trying to convince myself that there's really a problem!

michaelmge

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 11:29:13 pm »
If yours was the first house constructed, then I would have thought that it would have been used as the example for air tightness for achieving the u values. I am presuming that you have an EPC?

If so, it will have the assessors name on it. Give them a ring and ask the site manager for the results of the air tightness tests for your type of designed house and what plots were tested.
Are there other properties like yours built?

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2019, 06:57:05 am »
The threshold to the front door has dropped or is damaged. It is rectifiable.

Re the windows, I would say that the are all bad and should be replaced. In doing so, the cold bridging issues can be addressed at that time too.

In my opinion, Stewart Milne do not have the best of reputations for quality housebuilding judging by the comments I have seen over the years!  Your main issue is the housebuilder is required under the warranty to deal with the homeowner.
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user2000

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2019, 07:17:33 am »
Thanks for the replies guys.  I'll just keep on at them, now I've made the complaint official I intend to see it through as far as it will go.

The houses are semi-detached round the social housing development, so mine and my neighbour were first up.  There are only six houses like mine on the estate.  Another two went up last summer and they are building the final two just now (the ones where the subbies wanted to measure the outside of our living room window to make sure they were getting the sizing right!).

Hmm, looking again at the EPC is interesting.  Beside "Air Tightness" it says in the description "Air permeability 6.0 m³/h.m² (assumed) - and gives is a 4 star out of 5 rating.  Does the (assumed) bit mean they didn't actually carry the test out here?

My windows and walls have a 5 out of 5 rating - HAH!  The EPC says my house is Band B - with a 90 rating.

In fact scrap that, I've just notice I have have 5 pages in the report of which only 2 relate to my property and 3 are for next door.  I'll speak to my neighbour later and get my other pages but OMG, just another botch up.  They can't even shuffle some papers in the correct order!

Reminds me when the council left the bins for the street, 3 per house.  Someone - not sure who - had gone to the trouble of writing the house numbers in marker pen on the bins.  Needless to say when they were taken to the houses they were just randomly thrown in.  A waste of someones time and effort there.

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 07:23:39 am »
Assumed does mean that your actual home wasn't tested for air tightness.
Only one of each house type on each development is and even that is often a "fiddled pass"
http://www.new-home-blog.co.uk/house-builders-are-cheating-new-home-air-leakage-testing/
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user2000

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 07:48:06 am »
I did listen to that very revealing podcast before I started posting - it all rings true for me.

I have noticed that I have the page with the air tightness results of my neighbour, so I will ask her later to swap for my page, assuming she has it and it's not in a random house down the street as per the bins!  You would think that if her air tightness has been assumed then they would have tested it here, being the only two housers of their kind on this development at that time?

You are very right though, my main issue IS that it is up to the Housing Association to deal with this as the owner of the house.  Easier said than done - currently they are "passing my complaint(s)" onto Stewart Milne. 

It's all very frustrating,  I'm complaining to the HA as my contract is with them, it's THEM who should be having the complaint with Milne, not me!  You would have thought they would be more proactive so that all the cost of this is down to Milne and their shoddy buildings practices and not having to come out their own pockets years down the line affecting every one of their tenants because of the cost.  As I've said though, I have extra avenues of complaint having a secure tenancy and I will certainly be following them all through.  My home insurance has an element of legal cover if it comes to that.

You are also right, no one is going to want to see the headline "Public money being squandered on shoddy-built new homes."  I'm going to have to let them know that's the way things will go if these issues are not sorted out.

Next on my agenda is to fill my local SNP councillor in on things.  Not sure his governing party will be entirely chuffed with money being wasted or any bad publicity.

user2000

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2019, 10:41:05 am »
Got the site manager coming on Tuesday with his thermal camera, along with the Housing Association (HA) independent Clerk of Works.

Need some advice guys - it LOOKS like I'm in for an excerise in fobbing off - can't say this will surprise me.  I spoke to two lovely, but not technically minded, ladies from the HA the other day who told me they had met with the site manager who had "given them a lesson in how timber kit houses were built".  Oh dear....   
They've told me that he has told them that there will ALWAYS be cold spots and he will "explain" this to me on Tuesday (skirting boards were mentioned even though I hadn't said anything regarding this).

What should my riposte be to this?  Never mind that my house is VERY cold from all the bottom corners of all the windows, I cannot see how he is going to talk his way out of that one - I will mention the cold bridging and how if more care and attention had been taken then this would have been eliminated when the windows were installed, is there anything else I should say about this?

But I am concerned he is going to waffle away all the could spots along every part where the interior walls meet the ceiling - is this a case of them not being sealed on properly?  I'm looking for the correct terminology here.  Is it REALLY the case that I should expect cold air ingress from all the windows, and massive cold spots in the corners and edges of the interior walls? 
The picture above, showing the ceiling in the large bedroom window - theres a small bedroom to the left of that room, so I'm not sure why there is a big cold spot there, it's only the top edge that faces outside, the left hand side is a wall separating the bedrooms!  It's like that along every edge of the building (on the inside) and every corner...

Spoke to him already about the bin path and the drive as well - says it's been "passed up to the architect" - whatever that means - if the guidelines haven't been followed then what difference does it make who designed it?  The architect could have put a helter skelter on top of my house by that reckoning!

Thanks in advance for any help, it's much appreciated!

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2019, 08:50:27 am »
Timber frame houses should have draughts.
The Inside directly behind the plasterboard is supposed to have a continuous polythene vapour barrier.
It should be sealed at the ceiling and floor levels, around windows and electrical switches and sockets.

Timber frame needs a ventilated cavity so any gaps on the inside of the frame mean cold air gets in.
In addition, the space between the studs should be fully filled with insulation quilt too so there shoud be no gaps.

Finally the timber frame dries out it shrinks meaning it drops in relation to fixed parts such as the external walls and any steelwork. This means that any mastic seal around windows and door frames could be broken.

I am always wary when anyone refers to timber frame construction as a "kit" too. 
It shows to me at least a lack of understanding of what they are actually building.
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user2000

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2019, 09:18:35 am »
OK, I'm understanding a bit better.

So, looking at my photo above - "CEILING ABOVE LARGE BEDROOM WINDOW" does this show that it has not been sealed properly at the ceiling level, or that the seal has broken - or is that to be expected?

Obviously they have not sealed properly around the windows given what you say, as there is a constant cold air coming in around all window frames.  They appear to have created a cold/thermal bridge from the reading I've already done.  I've noticed cold spots around the plug sockets as well, so no doubt that's another bodge job.

I have a couple of other photos showing the same thing in different rooms upstairs...  is it supposed to be like this?  Am I expecting too much from the walls?  I cannot accept the windows and/or frames are correct - I've been in a lot of houses over the years and I've never seen anything like this.

And anyone on this building site always refers to "timber kit frame" or suchlike.

Is there anywhere (on your site or elsewhere) where I can get a quick readup?

If he is coming to fob me off as I expect I'm just wondering what I should really be expecting to be done to remedy this - the cold air from the windows especially as it is just intolerable.

Thanks again for any ammunition you can give me against these charlatans!

user2000

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2019, 09:21:57 am »
Sorry that last picture should read that the next door semi is on the LEFT hand side of the stairs.  Also my house sits a foot or so above the semi next door.

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Re: Very cold new build + other queries
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2019, 07:23:54 am »
You definitely have issues with cold air from outside getting in.
The pictures are quite clear and this breaches building regulations.

More of a concern is the revelation that this is a semi=detached house AND timber frame.
Any breaks in the fire barrier could have serious consequences.
http://www.brand-newhomes.co.uk/timber-frame-new-home-fire.htm
http://www.brand-newhomes.co.uk/quality-issues-with-timber-frame-new-homes.htm


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