I need to know how to make a complaint (or if there's any point) about the poor service from NHBC
We bought a new home 5yrs ago and understood that the shared drive would not be completed until later in the estate build. However the builder then went bust and a new builder took over the rest of the estate.
Initially we were told that the new builder would complete the drives but then told this would not be the case.
We contacted NHBC last December (4yrs in) and fortunately because we had proof that we have pursued the surfacing, they agreed to do the work.
Contractors came in January (when it was frosty) and laid the surface but almost from day 1 it was apparent that it was not right and started lifting. We complained to the contractor and refused to sign the satisfaction report.
Since then we have complained to NHBC and their inspector has visited an number of times, making a report but not really giving any satisfactory resolution.
The drive is an access road for 3 houses and NHBC (and the contractor) proposed just patching sections which I have said is unacceptable. If it had been done correctly at the start then a repair wouldn't be needed.
We had heard nothing since the last site visit on 20th September but then received a call at the end of last week from the contractor asking why we hadn't been in touch and could they start work on Monday 5th Nov.
I told them we were waiting to hear from NHBC which they said they would check and they rang back on Monday saying they were only going to do a patch. I told them I didnt agree and they said they would take up with NHBC.
I came home last night to find the contractor had been out and removed section of the surface in preparation to patch an area.
I tried last night and again today to contact the NHBC inspector with emails and calls but he is not available. We cannot be at home but our neighbour has tried to stop the contractor but they now say it is a hazard and needs to be completed!!
I am appalled at the way NHBC have handled this and their total lack of communication. Now that a "repair" is being carried out I doubt we will be able to get the whole surface re-done which in my opinion is what should have happened.
Should we just accept it or make a complaint and who do you complaint to about NHBC?
First of all, if a house builder goes bust before all the work has been completed on the home (including shared driveways) you are protected and covered by the Buildmark Warranty.
Even better, you had a written record of making a complaint so the NHBC had no option but to arrange the work.
This work, must also be carried out to industry, British and NHBC standards.
Clearly something has not been done properly as the surface has broken up quite quickly.
You must not accept a "patch repair" of the driveway.
This may be done as a temporary measure until such times as the whole wearing course can be removed and replaced properly when the weather permits (I would suggest in the spring.)
Regarding the NHBC write to the NHBC Chief Mike Quinton and let him know how his organisation is letting you down.
Tell him that you require the whole driveway to be taken up and re surfaced properly with a 5-year full warranty.
tell him if he refuses you will arrange the works yourself and take legal action against the NHBC to recover all costs involved.
You can also complain to the Financial Ombudsman but dont hold your breath!
See nhbc grp lintels and sills
Dont accept it and do nothing. It will only break up again next winter and this time you and your neighbours will have to pay!
Be aware, modern powered-steering can chew up tarmace wearing courses, especially in hot weather, which is why many house builders use block paving.
Last edited by NewHomeExpert; 9th November 2012 at 10:21.
Thanks for the response. I've still not had the courtesy of any response from NHBC from my emails and calls yesterday.
However our neighbour got a call from the contractor last night to say they are going to replace the whole road and are starting tomorrow
I will probably still write to the NHBC Chief as the service has been v poor.
Re the power steering, both the contractor and NHBC had mentioned this as they sited it as being the main cause of the damage
The power steering "explanation" is a favourite for both house builder's tarmac companies and now the NHBC.
It can deteriorate a driveway, but if it is breaking up anyway and has not been completed properly power steering is not a reason for not relaying the driveway.
Sopunds as if the whole drive is now being done.
1) All the old wearing course is taken up and the surface swept clean of loose debris, leaves and dust.
2) Make sure that a "tack coat" is applied (normally by spraying) before the new tarmac is spread.
3) The new tarmac should be left on the lorry and taken out is small measures or if dropped off, the pile should be covered to stop it cooling down.
4) The minimum thickness anywhere must be at least 20mm after rolling.
5) The new surface must be rolled whilst still hot with a "ride on" vibrating roller such as a Bomag 90.
6) It is better to avoid days when it is very cold or wet.
7) Tell your neighbours to stay off the new surface wuith cars for at least 24 hours until it has cooled.
8) Make sure you and any children take their shoes off at the door for a few weeks!