Creaking Ceilings - Getting Nowhere with NHBC

neilthechimp

New Member
Hi all, apologies in advance for the length of this..

We moved into our newbuild house in September 2013. We have a problem whereby our ceilings creak loudly, like a cracking sound, when someone walks about upstairs. The builder, Dorbcrest Homes, tried a remedial fix by cutting in at the point where the plasterboards used for walls meet the ceiling. The logic being that research has shown the noise to stem from excess adhesive getting pushed upwards as the boards are dot-and-dabbed. This adhesive rubs on the bottom of the joists creating the noise when there's movement. Cutting in is intended to create a void and thereby eliminate the noise.

This approach did improve it SLIGHTY but not sufficiently. We then noticed the noise in other rooms downstairs. When we reported this to Dorbcrest they said the only way to eliminate it completely would be to drop all the ceilings, clear any residue, then replace and make good. BUT they didn't think the noise levels warranted this level of work so refused to do it. Enter the NHBC!

We arranged a visit where they came out, with the builder, to assess the noise and within 2 minutes their guy agreed with Dorbcrest that the noise levels were 'acceptable'. When I pressed him on this for a scale of what was acceptable and what wasn't he simply said it was his opinion. Even though noise is measureable, he couldn't offer anything by way of an upper limit which I found very strange. I've measured the noise with an app and the spike when the cracking noise is heard takes the decibels from 25 to over 60 so it's like someone clapping their hands in the room each time there's a footstep overhead.

I then got talking to a neighbour who'd had a similar problem. She had uncovered some research commissioned jointly by the NHBC, UK Joist Manufacturing Body and Plasterboard Body with Salford Uni Acoustics Dept. to investigate what causes this noise and how to deal with it. There was also an NHBC newsletter detailing the issue with information on how to avoid causing it at the build stage. All available on line and only published in the last 12 months.

Armed with this information I went back to the NHBC. They said regardless of the research (which was clear in stating that this issue was caused by a 'lack of care' during construction), they stood by their claim that the noise level was acceptable.

I've played this from the angle of homeowner. We have put our life and soul into this property and will probably still be living in it when we pop our clogs so who are the NHBC to say what's acceptable when they don't live here?! The builder has the answer they need and are hiding behind the NHBC decision, understandably.

The neighbour who found the research is getting her ceilings replaced for a second time later this month. Her levels were greater but I simply want to know at what point, between our noise levels and hers does the sound become unacceptable? The NHBC can't or won't tell me this. They've given me details of another mediator to go to but before I do that I want to find a homeowner that's had a similar issue that their builder has agreed to put right after the NHBC have been out to listen to it.

I went on MoneySavingExpert to scan their forums and this site came widely recommended so hopefully there'll be one of you out there that knows a) what the hell I'm on about and b) how to get a result.

I'm seriously toying with the idea of going through the small claims court, basing my case on the fact that the noise results from a lack of care and is therefore avoidable coupled with the fact that the NHBC have researched this topic but still cannot tell me what the acceptable limit is! But that's for another day, I'm in no rush.

Yours in Great Anticipation

Neil - Merseyside
 

jmb1981

New Member
There is an easy Way to fix this, have done around 40/50 of these over last 12/18 months. Might be worth me giving dorbcrest homes a call????? Changing the plasterbord will not resolve the issue
 

neilthechimp

New Member
OK, tell me more?? I can give you email addresses if you like. They are based in Wigan by the way.

Have since found out there's a couple more homes on the development with the same problem, all asking for a full resolution, so DH might welcome the offer of help.
 

neilthechimp

New Member
Hi mate,

I can give you the email address of Dympna Boylan, she is the director.

Seeing as this is a snagging site though that's supposed to help homeowners with issues they are struggling to resolve, would you mind telling me what your solution is? I'm thinking if you get nowhere with them I'm still in the dark. If you don't want to put it up here I can give you an email address. If you share that I will give you her address and that of the office manager.
 

jmb1981

New Member
The fix is not really for discussion on here in honesty because very few know the fix, if we get the go head from dc to fix yours then will elaberate more into how its fixed. Whats the email of who you been dealing with????
 

neilthechimp

New Member
I'll pass on that offer thanks.

There's plenty on these forums to suggest possible solutions. Extra screws in the ceiling boards, re-fastening the floorboards etc and I'm sure the builder knows about them. They propose the most inconvenient repair to put the homeowner off pursuing it. But you've missed my point completely. The NHBC have already been out and said the problem is tolerable so Dorbcrest won't spend a dime putting it right.

I'm looking for homeowners who've had similar issues and had them resolved so I can compare notes and go back to the NHBC. The builder can kiss my ar$e.
 

LeeW

New Member
Hi. New to the forum. We have the exact same issue in our new build. It was built by local builders and no NHBC guarantee but we did manage to get them out to look at the issue. We and they assumed it was the floorboards and they replaced them in our master bedroom (chipboards, screwed and PVA glue) but it didn't work and they wouldn't come back out again, I suspect because they had no clue how to fix the problem. Having got on a chair and pushed the ceiling with my hands I recreated the popping noise so now think it's not the floorboards but the plasterboards that are the issue. We have quite a few nails popping out the ceiling too. How are you getting on with this? Can anyone help? We can't get a builder in our area (West Midlands) to come out for love nor money!
 

justinitus

New Member
We had the same problem in our lounge - awful cracking noises coming from the plasterboard ceiling itself when someone walks above and dozens and dozens of nail pops. Re-screwing the ceiling only helped temporarily, so the developer got a contractor to take the whole ceiling down and install resilient bars across the joists before putting up a new ceiling. 98% sorted now, just the odd noise but 6mths on and very happy with the result.

Resilient Bar | Plasterboard isolatation

Now we have the same issue in the kitchen diner and trying to get the developer to do the same thing.

Justin
 

LeeW

New Member
Hi Justin

Thank you for your reply. In a weird way it's reassuring that others have had this issue! We have no chance of getting our builders out to rectify the problem unfortunately. The house build was instructed by others who sold the house to us. Did you have a creaking sound upstairs when you walked on it too? Less loud and a different type of noise to the ceiling? More of a creak than crack and pop the ceiling makes.

Your solution sounds great but messy and expensive if having to pay for it ourselves! JMB1981 has said in an earlier post there is an "easy" way to fix the issue which I assume isn't taking down the ceiling? Understand he isn't keen to disclose what it is but would love to know!
 

NewHomeExpert

Well-Known Member
The fix is not really for discussion on here in honesty because very few know the fix, if we get the go head from dc to fix yours then will elaberate more into how its fixed. Whats the email of who you been dealing with????

No very helpful to anyone was this?
They (he) just wants to come on here and tout for business.
I for one would be very wary of any firm that chooses to operate under such a cloak!

Whatever their "solution" is, it probably involves taking down ceilings and ripping up floors!
Re fitting plasterboard ceilings to resilient bars with screws and using one of the many forms of floor decking isolating "cushions"
 

jmb1981

New Member
Mr new home expert. Your miles away with your guess on how its fixed. Its a 100% guarenteed fix with minimum mess and fuss. You can use resiliant bars which are about a 97% fix and far more mess trouble and expense to fix.
 

Aeropars

New Member
Mr new home expert. Your miles away with your guess on how its fixed. Its a 100% guarenteed fix with minimum mess and fuss. You can use resiliant bars which are about a 97% fix and far more mess trouble and expense to fix.

So what is your issue with disclosing the fix? This is a help forum and not a place to be touting for business so I don't see what help you are offering to people with the issue. If your fix is going to work as you say it does, I would want to know exactly what it is you are going to be doing on my home before I let you anywhere near it.

Incidentally I am in a Taylor Wimpey home which was built 18 months ago and have the exact same problem across all of my downstairs rooms. I've had the cut along the perimeter as well however it has not fixed the issue although slightly reduced the noise in the first instance however this has been getting worse since the work was last carried out. In the Kitchen it has not reduced the noise at all.
 

Bucko

New Member
Similar problem. I have a new build with excessive noise

So what is your issue with disclosing the fix? This is a help forum and not a place to be touting for business so I don't see what help you are offering to people with the issue. If your fix is going to work as you say it does, I would want to know exactly what it is you are going to be doing on my home before I let you anywhere near it.

Incidentally I am in a Taylor Wimpey home which was built 18 months ago and have the exact same problem across all of my downstairs rooms. I've had the cut along the perimeter as well however it has not fixed the issue although slightly reduced the noise in the first instance however this has been getting worse since the work was last carried out. In the Kitchen it has not reduced the noise at all.

I live in Persimmon 3 storey newbuild. On the 1st and 2nd floor. If you roll over in bed the floor above/below can here it! Is the consensus the noise is from the ceiling creaking or the floor? I appreciate the two are connected. Walking around in any room in the house can be heard round the rest of the house. It is my believe that it is the floor boarding and lack of support beams? Has anyone added additional support beams to the flooring and found the noise reduced? When tiling the bathrooms the tiler had extra beams installed so the tiled wouldn't move so we know the beams are set right up to the maximum spacing allowed (to save £).
 

crazydave

New Member
you can sister the beams which adds strength or try doing what the builder didn't namely glue and screw the floors down. the floor is supposed to be glued to the joists and to each other or at least to each other. floating floors were fine when the houses weren't specced on the cheap.

you can try to force a construction adhesive into the joins if they are bad or polyurethane wood glue, regular pva into tighter ones to help bond them, decking screws are reasonably cheap way of tying a springy floor down to the joists and get over loose nails. it will still creak but hopefully not as much.

I'm doing one room at a time after I've done what I need under the floors.
 

frank3

New Member
I feel frustrated reading threads similar to this and hearing how homeowners are being fobbed off with excuses from developers and Nhbc.
Almost all creaky and sagging floors are down to shoddy installation or not being installed to manufacturers instructions.
Any after fixes are mostly bodges even if they do seemingly cure the problem temporarily.
Hopefully attached is just one photo taken last week, this house has been passed off by site and Nhbc as ready to be closed in.
The joists have been stored outside in muddy puddles for weeks prior to being fitted.
The amount of deflection in the joists is not shown properly in the photo.tmp_822-20160317_090303869265740.jpg
 

Trapped in hell

New Member
You can see there is no glue in places and also other problems with the wiring and where the holes have been made? There is an NHBC technical extra 2003. and an article from building .co.UK of how I joists we required to be installed, it is also in the NHBC technical standards 6.4. You cannot just sister I joists when you have moved into to your new home! There is no quick fix for this and as you have said even resilient bars is not a fix for poor workmanship and not installing properly.It is beyond comprehension that the NHBC are signing the floors off with clearly defective installation before covering! I have also seen I joists stored in mud, floorboards soak through before installation, the NHBC must walk round blindfolded when visiting sites, the correct storage of materials is paramount.The NHBC actually Knew that these floors deflect but requested that the BS was increased so these floors could be used!The NHBC is supposed to be about improving standards not lowering them so the industry can save millions of pounds.see NHBC technical extra 29 2004 where the NHBC made the representations to have the BS increased so the deflection these floors have can be allowed!
The NHBC afterwards are unhelpful and do not assist even though they know what the cause will be.They use the floor phenomenon to suggest the channel will fix, they know full well there is no strange phenomenon, it is poor workmanship and not installing to manufacturers instructions.These floors apparently save the industry millions of pounds to the detriment of the homeowners there are various sites which show the terrible pathway that is required to fix and how anybody can suggest they have a quick simple fix for poorly installed ijosts cannot be true. You need to know which I joists you have then look at the installations requirements the manufacturer stipulated. Check you home insurance for legal expense cover.
 
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Dolphin

New Member
Squeaky wall

The fix is not really for discussion on here in honesty because very few know the fix, if we get the go head from dc to fix yours then will elaberate more into how its fixed. Whats the email of who you been dealing with????


Hi ,
The partition wall of the bedrooms squeak when we walk in to the room. The squeaking seems to come from the base of the wall presumably where the track for the stud wall is screwed to the floor. The squeaking sounds like metal scrapping up and down as pressure is applied to the flooring. It is a metal stud wall.
Will you please give us email or mobile number so that we can contact you?
Thank you!
 

jayprice1985

New Member
To give everyone an update on our situation. Strata homes have taken every ceiling out in the house and fit resilient bars across the joists. They have also layed fibreglass covering across the resilient bars. They have attached the plasterboard to the resilient bars and it has 100% cured the issue. The reason why it has cured the issue is that when they took the ceiling out you can see a slight bit of movement in the TJI joists when you knocked them gently. The resilient bars have clearly held the joists together more tightly which has solved the issues! Don't back down people, get your builders to fit resilient bars the way ours have! It worked![image1.jpg
 

mkfc1981

New Member
I have the same issue. We completed in October 2016, and the list of snagging is endless. Wonkey installed hobs, wonkey walls and ceilings, Rotting fence, dropping ceilings, and worst of all the creaking floors and stairs.

Multiple attempts have been made to remedy this with no success, in fact 2 weeks ago, they ripped everything out (carpet, floor boards and screwed and drilled for 2 days) just to "fix" HALF of one bedroom. I was then told buy the team that the other half would fixed another time. Since then the NHBC got involved and came over yesterday, and like some you say, they just subjectively make a decision what they think is ACCEPTABLE level of noise (like one of you said, without actually measuring the level of noise, it's a new build and there should be NO noise).

The noise is substantial enough to wake people up. But they now deny a) that they said they'd complete the work b) that there was a problem in the first place.

NHBC is useless, what other options do I have? I don't think suing would get me anywhere? Bad publicity? Thought about it, but i really just want my floors fixed. If i wanted to sell my place the floor issues would impede my sales price.

Any help would much appreciated.
 
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