JSHarris

New build quality

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47826166

 

This line caused me to raise my eyebrows:

 

Quote

The Home Builders Federation own satisfaction surveys show a rise in the number of customers reporting snags - from 93% in 2015 to 99% in 2018.

 

The implication is that having 93% of customers reporting snags with their new home was OK, but that 99% isn't.  What the heck do these people do in terms of pre-completion inspections and de-snagging?  It would seem that the answer to that is sod all, which then rather begs the question as to what hidden defects there may be, if they can't even be bothered to do visual inspections.

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just finished reading this as well, NHBC say  "In addition, new warranty claims continue to fall, with this trend being a clear sign that the quality of new homes covered by NHBC continues to improve." how?

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1 minute ago, Simplysimon said:

just finished reading this as well, NHBC say  "In addition, new warranty claims continue to fall, with this trend being a clear sign that the quality of new homes covered by NHBC continues to improve." how?

 

I believe this may be partly down to the time when the NHBC warranty becomes effective.  My experience with them was that they don't cover the first year (might be two years) after completion, and expect the builder to cover any claims made in that period.  Their warranty only becomes effective after the initial guarantee period from the builder expires, and is intended to cover unforeseen defects in the property.

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1 minute ago, JSHarris said:

 

I believe this may be partly down to the time when the NHBC warranty becomes effective.  My experience with them was that they don't cover the first year (might be two years) after completion, and expect the builder to cover any claims made in that period.  Their warranty only becomes effective after the initial guarantee period from the builder expires, and is intended to cover unforeseen defects in the property.

but there are now so many complaints not being fixed, it surely means they have to then resort to NHBC to have them fixed or ignored, if you believe the reports about NHBC warranty

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We spent well over a year trying to get NHBC to cough up for a leaking roof before we gave up and just had the flashing fixed ourselves, and if our experience is typical then it suggests that there is a long delay in settling claims, so what NHBC might be reporting now could well be defects that in reality date back two or three years or more.

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10 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

We spent well over a year trying to get NHBC to cough up for a leaking roof before we gave up and just had the flashing fixed ourselves, and if our experience is typical then it suggests that there is a long delay in settling claims, so what NHBC might be reporting now could well be defects that in reality date back two or three years or more.

My Aunt has a simalar exsperience 

She has to pay a set amount Refunded if the claim was upheld

When the lead valley was striped It was found that the contractor had Nipped the lead with his grinder 

They stated it was bad work and not covered 

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27 minutes ago, Simplysimon said:

just finished reading this as well, NHBC say  "In addition, new warranty claims continue to fall, with this trend being a clear sign that the quality of new homes covered by NHBC continues to improve." how?

 

 

Because "snagging" covers a wide range of consumer householder whinging for minor problems that would fall well below the minimum claim threshold covered by NHBC. 

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24 minutes ago, Simplysimon said:

but there are now so many complaints not being fixed, it surely means they have to then resort to NHBC to have them fixed or ignored, if you believe the reports about NHBC warranty

 

 

Nope, you misunderstand how the NHBC warranty functions. If your new home turfed lawn is dying before you move in because the builder had not watered it and you then enter into a 6 month dispute with the builder who blames you, you do not have the option of appealing to NHBC as an ultimate backstop guarantor.

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6 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

Because "snagging" covers a wide range of consumer householder whinging for minor problems that would fall well below the minimum claim threshold covered by NHBC. 

or they weasel out of it as per the two posts above

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Simplysimon said:

or they weasel out of it as per the two posts above

 

 

Maybe but it is entirely possible that building standards are improving for matters that might trigger big ticket NHBC claims at the same time the house holder tolerance level over minor cosmetic stuff like ceiling nail pops is declining due to media coverage. 

Edited by epsilonGreedy

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building control, 'i don't know about beam and block floors, i'll have to read up on them' fills you full of confidence, luckily i will probably know more than him.

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My experience of watching two new build estates being constructed over the past three or four years suggests that the build quality is inherently pretty poor.  I've seen several houses with missing or very badly fitted cavity wall insulation, absence of cavity closers around openings, dormers built with no roof insulation and pretty poor internal blockwork.  This is just stuff that's been easily visible from the road by the estate, and it seemed that the builders really couldn't care less who saw the poor work, as no attempt was made to hide what they were doing.  I discussed it two years ago with our then MP, who strongly defended the right of builders to self-regulate and not be subject to independent inspections.

 

We've since seen, from Grenfell, the consequences of a regime that allows self-regulation and poor inspection practice, plus product approval that bordered on being fraudulent.  I think we can reasonably assume that there is an endemic quality problem with the UK building sector.  My own view is that we've had a problem developing ever since the building inspection procedure was opened up to a competitive market, as it seems inevitable that there would be a loss of independence, and that inspection companies that found faults in new builds probably wouldn't win contracts from that developer in future.

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My last house had a faulty roof. The NHBC were totally useless and washed their hands of it.

 

In the end one person in the street was an ex architect and they got a commercial surveyor to write a report on her house and then other houses in the street.

 

This was enough to embarrass the builder into action. They had to strip down the roof on 5 houses, I think, to get the bracing in which they had missed when they put up the trusses.

 

As ever it makes you wonder what building control, NHBC inspectors etc were doing.

 

On the worst house the roof wasn't tied to the house and could have flown off in a storm, all of them were structurally not built to the SE specs.

 

The NHBC did absolutely nothing. They do nothing in the first two years, you just have to badger the builder, actually the builder was pretty good on snagging, then after that I suspect they only pay out in the case of subsidence or massively obvious structural issues.

 

Clearly self builders spend a lot more time checking what is going on in their builds than large builders with dozens of sub contractors, yet they seem to get a lot less oversight than we do.

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51 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

Because "snagging" covers a wide range of consumer householder whinging for minor problems that would fall well below the minimum claim threshold covered by NHBC. 

 

I write snagging reports and trust me, what I see - even as minor problems - can be underlying issues that are significant. 

 

For example, I did one where there were nail pops on a ceiling - sounds innocuous ..? It was in a line, all along a single joist and the contractor had been and used filler to the holes, and repainted it as a fix. Two weeks later, same issue, contractor said it was “fixed”. 

 

I checked the ceiling and there was some give in it - camera through a downlighter hole revealed that the plumber had drilled a series of holes - some with no pipes in them -  along with some notches for heating pipes and and wastes from a bathroom and en-suite above. 

 

That required a new kitchen ceiling when the joists were repaired including having to sister up two of the joists that couldn’t be repaired as there were a dozen or so holes with pipes and wires through. 

 

First thing that I use is a 6ft level... it’s amazing how many times you will find floors and ceilings out by 10mm over 2m, walls that have significant bows and doors and windows that aren’t plumb in the openings.  

 

I’ve had one successful claim against NHBC for significant issues with drainage -  this was for rainwater pipework completely missing underground and that involved a remediation contractor taking out paths and driveways and completely relaying the whole lot with new pipework. Cost was in excess of £6k

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10 minutes ago, AliG said:

The NHBC did absolutely nothing. They do nothing in the first two years, you just have to badger the builder, actually the builder was pretty good on snagging, then after that I suspect they only pay out in the case of subsidence or massively obvious structural issues.

 

 

Why should they? If you insure your car with another insurer a month before the renewal date and then crash your car the following day you don't appeal to the new insurer who does not currently cover your car.

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55 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

Because "snagging" covers a wide range of consumer householder whinging for minor problems that would fall well below the minimum claim threshold covered by NHBC. 

Agreed there was one on the local news with over 400 snags 

some where quite serious 

Most where so minor 

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2 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

Why should they? If you insure your car with another insurer a month before the renewal date and then crash your car the following day you don't appeal to the new insurer who does not currently cover your car.

 

It comes down to the way that NHBC advertise and the fact that lenders may insist on there being a warranty, which leads to an expectation that the house has a ten year warranty from NHBC.  The reality is that it has an 8 year warranty from NHBC, plus a 2 year guarantee (that only covers construction defects) provided by the builder (not necessarily the developer). 

 

I strongly suspect that it's only those who have ever tried to claim on a house warranty that will uncover the way that responsibility is split, with them having to deal with the builder initially, and then with NHBC once the initial period after completion is over.  Part of our problem was that NHBC initially refused to accept the completion date for the house.  It had been a show house on a small development of 6 houses and so was the first house completed.  We bought it as a "new" house, but in reality it was nearly two years old, and we didn't discover the leaks until some time after we moved in.  The defect in the roof flashing was known by the builder, as we found evidence of silicone sealant that had been applied around the flashing when we had it replaced, plus there were old watermarks down the chimney breast in the loft.  Our first hurdle was convincing NHBC that we should be dealing with them, as they claimed to have "lost" the completion paperwork.  This was the first of many delaying tactics that they used, and which continued even after we got our lawyer involved in chasing them.

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I was NHBC registered for a while as they were pretty much the only show in town at one stage. Sometimes you would get a decent inspector but mostly it was just the same checklist for the stage and they would look at stuff like door closers and window locks then shift to other irrelevant things.

 

I would say the chances of a claim succeeding is close to zero, although I did have one where someone had weather ingress around a door - just needed re-sealing - after 7 years and NHBC "invited" me to fix it to keep my claims record clean. As I was liable for only 2 years I didn't play ball and in the end NHBC got someone to do the work without cost to the customer or me.

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21 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

The reality is that it has an 8 year warranty from NHBC, plus a 2 year guarantee (that only covers construction defects) provided by the builder (not necessarily the developer). 

 

 

The existence of snagging lists indicates initial cover is pretty good, maybe this is offered due to obligations under basic consumer product law.

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25 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

Why should they? If you insure your car with another insurer a month before the renewal date and then crash your car the following day you don't appeal to the new insurer who does not currently cover your car.

 

Can you please look at the cover the NHBC claim to provide then reconsider this post.

 

Firstly the NHBC claim that builders must comply with their standards to be NHBC registered and that they inspect all new developments. Indeed they give out awards to site managers. This is supposed to give you some comfort that the build of your house has had some oversight over and above building control.

 

The house is then insured with the NHBC from the date of completion, you are also insured against some losses pre completion.

 

In the first two years the warranty is with the builder but the NHBC are supposed to provide a resolution service if you cannot get the builder to fix something, which was exactly the position we were in to begin with. They are also supposed to become liable if the builder does not meet its obligation to fix things. They say that as part of their resolution service they will investigate the defects.

 

In years 3-10 they are supposed to cover problems arising from the house being incorrectly built.

 

The house comes with an NHBC warranty from the day it is completed, it isn't something you buy later.

 

In our case the NHBC simply said there was nothing wrong and that was the end of it. Only surveyors reports and the threat of bad publicity and legal action got anything done.

 

Even after the builder fixed it the NHBC never accepted any wrong doing.

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NHBC were hopeless in my experience. Just kept referring us back to the developer who was also hopeless and completely ignored all snagging issues as they were simply getting on with building more sub standard houses. The whole development covering many different house styles had multiple issues and the developer and NHBC weren't interested in addressing any issues. Never did get my snagging list addressed. In the end we had them all fixed at our expense as it just wasn't worth the time and effort continually fighting them. We decided that life was too short. 

 

We used to go most weekends when the house was under construction to see how things were progressing. One day we arrived to see the lintel above the back door not even reaching across the other side. It was a few inches short so completely useless. NHBC would still have been happy to sign that house off as they wouldn't even have known but WTF! Where is the quality control?! We reported it and it did get addressed. 

 

We didn't get our cavity wall insulation installed even though we had been handed a guarantee for it. It became evident later on when the OH put a vent for a tumble dryer in and then installed an outside tap on a different wall and there was no evidence of any insulation in the cavity. The developer tried to say that it was 'settled' so there would be areas of voids but we made a huge fuss so they sent a surveyor to appease us in the end. He drilled holes in every wall and looked in with a camera. His face was a picture when he found no evidence of insulation anywhere and they did address that issue and filled with beads. Told our neighbours who checked theirs and it appeared that a whole batch of houses had been missed but the developer maintained it was just our house and they were simply ignored.  

 

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38 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

The existence of snagging lists indicates initial cover is pretty good, maybe this is offered due to obligations under basic consumer product law.

The existence of snagging lists indicates that a lot has gone wrong during the build.  

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I think the building industry is rotten and the so called ‘trades’ the professionals who charge us significantly more than they charge developers are the worst.  There are few real tradesmen around these days...I was lucky with my wonderful carpenter who was the saviour of the build.  

 

Generally it seems the standards of building in this country have sunk very low. I do know of cases where NHBC have paid out....not easily but they did....I acknowledge that is not usual either.

 

I think the poor standards evident in mass building do transfer to us too.....just look at issues with slabs, timber frames, bricks, blocks,, windows, poor plumbing to name a few that have been discussed on this forum

 

I had my last house built 30 years ago by a builder (now quite a prestigious small developer) who was and is a personal friend.  The general house build quality then to now is very different, he still builds to a high quality and charges for it. If we had been going to build a ‘conventional’ house he would have built it but as we wanted tf passiv style he said not for him so we ended up with so called experts who in reality knew probably less in a lot of areas than the more experienced members of this forum. 

 

I think there is a little bandwagon of people setting themselves up to ‘help’ selfbuilders(at a cost) and it does the industry no favours.  It is not just my own personal experience I refer to I have spoken to others who have been down similar roads.  Because they are ‘professionals’ the warranty providers and building inspectors like them.......more than they do Joe Bloggs the self builder doing his own stuff and doing to it an undoubtedly higher standard.

 

Its all a racket......if only we could tell them all to go and put their warranties where the sun don’t shine.  Unfortunately we self builds have to stick with the frustrating situation if we ever want to sell or get a mortgage.

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1 hour ago, AliG said:

Can you please look at the cover the NHBC claim to provide then reconsider this post.

 

 

I have not said anything incorrect, we disagree about expectations of the NHBC during the fist two years of ownership. The NHBC does not warrant to you that it has ensured a new house meets all building standards instead is it insuring you against defects arising from transgression of these standards.

 

You say the NHBC did nothing about your roof defect but you cannot be sure of this. Your evidence might have spooked them and led them to conclude there was  £100k timebomb likely to go off during their 8 year responsibility, behind the scenes they could have been threatening the builder with no further new warrants or legal action.

 

I react to threads like this because:

  1. The Aussie's call us Whinging Poms with just cause. These routine rip-off Britain press stories about builders are just a symptom of the national character.
  2. When I purchased a new house in 2000 the site foreman had to nag me to submit my snagging list. When he visited to inspect the one significant problem I raised, he spent no more than 90 seconds measuring the fault and scheduled the fix that involved a jack hammer and mixing free concrete.
  3. The NHBC publish a wonderful range of free to access technical standard docs that I am an avid reader of, I get his free of charge. The culture behind the pursuit of raising building standards promoted by the NHBC must be the single most significant motive force in the UK that improves standards.
  4. The one time I read an article in a newspaper about shocking building standards it transpired the 1300 faults counted every nail pop, plaster shrinkage crack and dead rectangle of turf.

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15 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

The NHBC publish a wonderful range of free to access technical standard docs that I am an avid reader of, I get his free of charge. The culture behind the pursuit of raising building standards promoted by the NHBC must be the single most significant motive force in the UK that improves standards.

 

Only if you think they are of value. They allow you to meet bare minimum building regs and are poor in a lot of places as they define their own best practice ... the LABC guide is similar and is in some places at odds with NHBC - so which is correct ..?

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