Remedial works in excess of £130k, taking NHBC to court

Creakyfloor

New Member
We bought our new build home in 2006. The contractors have gone out of business but the developers are still trading.

The house had creaky floors, we assumed it was settling and tried to ignore it. By 2014 when doing decorative work we discovered there was something wrong with the construction of our floor.

After six NHBC inspections our claim was rejected as their expert witness stated in years 3-10 there needs "to be damage as of a result of a defect in the subfloor or parts of it.

The defects are:

Our suspended block and beam is not contiguous, ie it has 60mm gaps in it down to bare soil.
The screed layer is missing completely.
There is no vapour control layer.
The load bearing insultation is not on a flat surface, it is not taped together, thus there are voids under the decking.
There are no battens of any kind.
The decking is not marine waterproof, it isn't glued of nailed.
There are no expansion gaps in the decking.
The wooden floor had cracked, has evidence of end splitting, and cupping, the boards have pulled away from the skiritng board.
The tiles in the utility have cracked under the dead weight of the washing machine.
The floor moves with live loads. We know this because we exposed our block and beam in the hall for 18months while they conducted their investigations and got expert witness report. It was very cold and dusty and detrimental to our health, we all got dust related injuries.
The NHBC expert ignored all evidence of damage and declined our claim

The bathroom upstairs has parallel cracks at 600mm intervals and cracks radiate out from the pedestal, the wc has pulled away from the wall cracking the wall tiles. The bathroom claim was finally agreed, but wouldn't cover any damage caused by the remedial works. I rejected their offer and insisted that any wall tiles damaged (now discontinued) would have to be repaired. Begrudgingly my claim was agreed.

I cannot go through with the bathroom repairs until the downstairs is gutted, skirting taking of, kitchen ripped out, fireplace removed, block and beam filled in, screed levelled and set, correct construction of floor completed. We estimate we will be out of the house 6mths as 50mm screed takes 1day per mm to go off.

We will not accept a non standard construction as we wont be able to sell to a normal buyer if we have to explain the entire ground floor is non standard construction.

We have got our expert witness to confirm defect and damage in the subfloor and floor. We had a QS quote for remedial works including insurance, contract manager, site safety. The cost is in excess of £130k.

We are about to disclose our expert report and QS damages and go to mediation, which we are not inclined to settle at as this has gone on for nearly three years. NHBC do not know we have a full record of the Building Control records. There is not one record of the NHBC inspecting the site, but there is correspondence from BC that if the developers continue to fail to comply with their instructions they will take out work unapproved.

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated
 

jpbletchley

New Member
I hope you are in a better position to when you posted this. One out of numerous complaints I have logged with NHBC is about the inspection during the build stages. I have made a statement to the Chairman of NHBC after receiving her apologising letter (like she means it), that NHBC had special arrangements with the builders and they never ever visited or did inspect our home during the build process.

I have already taken the conveyancers to court and currently in process of taking the cowboy builders Avant Homes. Next is NHBC in my list. If search for building control inspection regulations or rules, you may be able to find a government website which should list what a building control company should follow. There is a document I found a month back which talks about the key stages when the building control inspection has to take place. If your records do not match them, then NHBC are in clear breach. In our case they did not even bother looking at the property and issued a worthless CML certificate. But I will deal with them.

Good luck.
 

Creakyfloor

New Member
We are out of time to sue the builders or conveyencers. We can legitimately go after warranty provider. We are considering mediation but every deadline, every single time is completely ignored.
 

new build inspector

snagging inspections 01788 494400
Nhbc

I have two clients with scaffold around thier home thats been there for nearly a year

Why ? Because the NHBC is so slow .

Or cannot handle its case load

Or have a deliberate policy of wearing down home owners hoping they will give in

They are now getting a reputation as bad as the builders and need a good shake up

More and more properties are being built without the required number of inspections and some with none other the foundations and final CML

We need an ombudsman for new build homes
 

Creakyfloor

New Member
I agree. We have been in contact with the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Services Authority, the Information Commisioners Office. All have been helpful, but none could tackle the key point that the house wasn't built properly. Quality control through warranty providers is not being regulated.
 

NewHomeExpert

Well-Known Member
Quality control through warranty providers is not being regulated.
Warranty providers do not inspect for quality and do not control quality at all, despite what housebuidlers might tell you.
In an official government document, the NHBC told a committee of MPs that:

"every single house it inspects is visited five times. The inspections are purely to prove to our underwriters that the property is a standard risk and the primary function on the warranty side is to manage risks – it is not about providing quality control."
 

Trapped in hell

New Member
Why can the NHBC get away with this ? The building control performance standards contain statutory requirements and ' guidance' which should be followed and implemented , so how can the NHBC be operating by assessing on the basis of acceptable risk. Our first floor was closed encompassing so many defects we have been trapped in legal action for 2 years!!! How was our floor closed??? The building control inspection log stated ' NOTHING REPORTABLE'!! We asked how the many defects were not seen and why there were no notes about the fact the floor is not installed to the drawing, NHBc tech standards/ building regs, the BBA certs or the manufacturers installation instructions!! We were informed the inspector does not have to make ANY notes, he also said the floor may have been closed at the, We asked why was this not noted , no need to make notes of course!! This makes no sense and trying to have proper remedial work destroys your life , health, career , sanity and all we did was buy a house feeling safe it was an NHBC house this time!
 

jpbletchley

New Member
Why can the NHBC get away with this ? The building control performance standards contain statutory requirements and ' guidance' which should be followed and implemented , so how can the NHBC be operating by assessing on the basis of acceptable risk. Our first floor was closed encompassing so many defects we have been trapped in legal action for 2 years!!! How was our floor closed??? The building control inspection log stated ' NOTHING REPORTABLE'!! We asked how the many defects were not seen and why there were no notes about the fact the floor is not installed to the drawing, NHBc tech standards/ building regs, the BBA certs or the manufacturers installation instructions!! We were informed the inspector does not have to make ANY notes, he also said the floor may have been closed at the, We asked why was this not noted , no need to make notes of course!! This makes no sense and trying to have proper remedial work destroys your life , health, career , sanity and all we did was buy a house feeling safe it was an NHBC house this time!

Why can the NHBC get away with this ? The building control performance standards contain statutory requirements and ' guidance' which should be followed and implemented , so how can the NHBC be operating by assessing on the basis of acceptable risk. Our first floor was closed encompassing so many defects we have been trapped in legal action for 2 years!!! How was our floor closed??? The building control inspection log stated ' NOTHING REPORTABLE'!! We asked how the many defects were not seen and why there were no notes about the fact the floor is not installed to the drawing, NHBc tech standards/ building regs, the BBA certs or the manufacturers installation instructions!! We were informed the inspector does not have to make ANY notes, he also said the floor may have been closed at the, We asked why was this not noted , no need to make notes of course!! This makes no sense and trying to have proper remedial work destroys your life , health, career , sanity and all we did was buy a house feeling safe it was an NHBC house this time!


Trapped in hell, I feel your pain. I have been fighting NHBC from over two years and have received two apologies (on top of few more) from both their Chairman (Mike Quinton who departed and the current Isabel Hudson). The apology in simple terms says, NHBC cannot enforce the standards on builders and it is on to builder to ensure they follow it. When you will challenege them about the resolution service, they will try to help, but when they realise the amount of builder's &_(*&&% they have to deal with, they will delay and will try to make you forget the pain. If you still fight, they will come back and say go to Financial Ombudsman, and the reason they can say that, is because the resolution service is not regulated.

NHBC is growmore compost which is helping weeds (cowboy builders) to thrive and survive in this day and age. Government keeping a close eye also helps both NHBC and the cowboys to have bigger impact on families.

I am not a legal expert, but there is two ways you can approach this. Keep banging your head with uselss NHBC or take some legal action against them. You need to look for the regulations and acts which apply to you, and always take them to court if that helps you to finally find peace.

Good luck and keep fighting. And I am sure it will help you to know, that you are not alone, there are more people in the similar position as you are.



"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
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jpbletchley

New Member
I am sorry to hear that. Couple of things I would point out from my experience in dealing with the new build scam. Any defects or damages raised with the builder within 2 years of completion, carry 6 years builders liability. So if a defect was reported to the builder within 2 years, and builders fix it, they will still be liable for fix it if it reoccurs within next 6 years. You google for 6 years builders liability and it should provide more information.

In my opinion, I would seek legal advice instead of spending more time banging your head to the wall. The new build situation is run as a scam and you will be stuk for years in the loop between cowboy builders, NHBC and other useless organisations, who have to follow their processes and make innocent people go through hell. They do not care about your problems and are there to tell people like us, the useless policies they follow.

I would suggest checking to see if you have any legal insurance cover, as part of home insurance or any other cover, which you can call upon to try and seek legal advice. The longer you stretch it the worst the matter gets. The sinister part of the new build scam, is that it ruins families and without court, I do not see any of these organisations giving you any justice.


"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. - Mahatma Gandhi"
 
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Creakyfloor

New Member
The whole process is completely unregulated. We thought erroneously that Building Regs were a legal requirement, according to NHBC they are for guidance.

We are in the third year of our claim. We are preparing a Scott Schedule to quantify our loss and to prepare to go to court. Raising the particulars will take time, getting court will take time, we dont anticipate settling this for another two years.

It is absolutely soul destroying.
 

jpbletchley

New Member
The whole process is completely unregulated. We thought erroneously that Building Regs were a legal requirement, according to NHBC they are for guidance.

We are in the third year of our claim. We are preparing a Scott Schedule to quantify our loss and to prepare to go to court. Raising the particulars will take time, getting court will take time, we dont anticipate settling this for another two years.

It is absolutely soul destroying.


Completely agree and I believe this has to stop. I am in my third year of this fight and I have come to terms with the situation by thinking, I am doing a part time unpaid volunteer work chasing crooks and NHBC.

My aim is to share my experiences later with people in similar situation in future. There is no way I can get time back which included the birth of my baby and her early years, but I will make sure that by sharing and helping others I will add some value in stopping this new build home scam.

Take care and keep fighting, you are not alone.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" - Martin Luther King Jr.
 
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Creakyfloor

New Member
UPDATE

This claim is still ongoing. We went for a mediation day, at their insistence, at their Head Office with their Extraordinary Claims Handlers.

Absolute farce of a meeting. Despite our FRCCS expert report, our decibel recording, our photographic evidence of damage our claim was rejected.

We were told the movement of the floor was within acceptable limits. There is no regulation stating acceptable movement as floors aren’t designed to move.

We’ve instructed a barrister, the QC report was highly favourable and we are issueing proceedings for damages.

Our legal fees are covered by insurance. We will be issueing a writ to protect our legal position as this was started nearly five years ago.

We will be seeing them in court.
 

Needhelp

New Member
UPDATE

This claim is still ongoing. We went for a mediation day, at their insistence, at their Head Office with their Extraordinary Claims Handlers.

Absolute farce of a meeting. Despite our FRCCS expert report, our decibel recording, our photographic evidence of damage our claim was rejected.

We were told the movement of the floor was within acceptable limits. There is no regulation stating acceptable movement as floors aren’t designed to move.

We’ve instructed a barrister, the QC report was highly favourable and we are issueing proceedings for damages.

Our legal fees are covered by insurance. We will be issueing a writ to protect our legal position as this was started nearly five years ago.

We will be seeing them in court.
 
Hi

Reading this with interest. Raising court action against the housebuilder.....most standard missives contain a supersession clause meaning court proceedings must be raised within 2 years (date of entry). Although you may be able to get round this with consumer protection act unfair terms. I dont think there is any settled law on this but hopefully someone has experiences they can share.
 
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