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'Our new Bovis home is falling apart and our warranty is worthless'

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'Our new Bovis home is falling apart and our warranty is worthless'



She had bought off-plan but was reassured by the Buildmark warranty issued by the National House Building Council (NHBC). The warranty – which is presented as a regulatory stamp of approval for the quality of most of Britain’s newbuild homes – dictates that any structural problems found in the first two years will be dealt with by the builder.

From years three to 10 the NHBC takes over repairs. When relations turned sour with Bovis Ms Leonard turned to the NHBC, which describes itself as the “leading standard setter for new homes”. Far from having her building defects rectified, however, she found her living conditions deteriorating further.

The NHBC first investigated Ms Leonard’s home in July 2016 after Bovis washed its hands of the case and agreed that there were 60 issues to be resolved.

The first set included repair work to substandard brickwork using the NHBC’s contractor. But Ms Leonard said: “Due to poor workmanship I had to advise the NHBC that I no longer wanted them in my house. The brickwork looked better before they started to make good the damage.”

More repairs were agreed a month later. An NHBC report showed that coping stones on the balcony were marked and stained and very untidy in appearance. It wasn’t until April 2017 that the NHBC took the coping stones away and removed the glass barrier from the balcony. The stones and the barrier have not been replaced. “It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Joe Ward, her ex-husband.

Rather than a vista of rolling countryside, Ms Leonard now looks out over abandoned scaffolding. “There are a lot of defects in my home and both the speed and skill of the NHBC contractors leave everything to be desired,” she said. “My health has been affected by this experience, I am on antidepressants and sleeping pills and have had counselling.

I feel terribly let down by the whole rotten newbuild and regulatory system. The NHBC allowed a home with breaches of building regulations to be put on the market and sold.” The public impression that the NHBC, which has 80pc of the warranty market, is an ombudsman of quality rather than an insurance company is compounded by the marketing of developers such as Taylor Wimpey.

“The NHBC was established over 60 years ago and is the independent regulator for the new homes industry,” the firm’s website read until this summer, when the word “regulator” was suddenly dropped..

The Conservative MP called for a new ombudsman to regulate the warranty industry. Her concern followed reports this summer that payments flowed between developers and the NHBC.

The most significant of these “premium refunds” was £2.7m to one developer in 2012, while last year the biggest single payment was £750,000. This calls into question the independence of the warranty system, especially when nearly a fifth of the members of the NHBC governing council are also on the board of builders such as Bovis and Barratt.

The NHBC said premium refunds were a way to reward a developer’s good claims history and were not uncommon in the insurance industry.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “There is a definite requirement for a new homes ombudsman or regulator that would act in the best interest of buyers – not the industry – to ensure that consumers are protected and our homes meet the standard that is expected.” This month the NHBC offered Ms Leonard a £10,000 cash payment to fix the outstanding defects herself. But she said: “The only offer I will accept is for Bovis or the NHBC to buy back my home.

For every mistake we uncover there are more behind it and repair costs could escalate quickly.” A structural engineer agreed, saying: “If the site manager has allowed some of these errors, what else has been done or not done? There are a lot of hidden aspects to construction that will show over time.”..


Edited by Saving For a Space Ship
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"Cheap EU labour" is used throughout the EU, and houses don't crumble there. UK has poor quality builds, and I bet it comes more from the rent seeking housebuilders than anything else.

Poor regulations, poor standards, poor quality control apparently.  Disgusting through out.

I really pity the buyer.


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New builds at the end of our garden. I took a close look at the planning applications to make sure they didn't overstep the conditions. There was a revised application, which explained that changes were necessary to the original plans because they'd forgot to provide any drainage from the flat, parapet roofs. Not that the revision was particularly notable - they just put a slight rake in, and punched holes in the parapet. No drainpipe, so the rain's just running down the walls (already stained), or, if the downpour is heavy enough, chundering into the microscopic 'garden' (a 5ft square box with a high wall).

One oddity - the work is still ongoing, and the other day I propped a ladder up against the nearest one and had a look at the lower roof over the kitchen. Planning regs mean that there are no windows or access to this roof (since otherwise they'd be peering down into our garden), but they've put little rock-gardens on each one. The only way anyone will ever see or be able to maintain them is with a ladder.

Seems like the problems start with the architects.

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Still good enough for a rental innit?

chuck a few families of Eastern Euros in there on teaser rents, they love a good fixer upper, free labour, be sure you don’t offer to pay for materials then If they pipe up the courage to ask say you’ll contribute 25% if they provide receipts. Then if they send you the receipts... nope never received em buddy take it up with Royal Mail eh 

then when the works are complete just bang the rents right up to reflect new market value, what’s that you can’t pay? Uh oh time to chuck a load of affluent young professionals in there two to a room


all about being able to adapt to the market innit bruv

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Balcony, glass barrier, coping stones... sounds like an expensive new build.

I remember reading that UK newbuilds were going to be allowed to self inspect their work, rather than an Independent building inspector doing it, I take it this has taken effect now?


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8 hours ago, Andy T said:

Balcony, glass barrier, coping stones... sounds like an expensive new build.

I remember reading that UK newbuilds were going to be allowed to self inspect their work, rather than an Independent building inspector doing it, I take it this has taken effect now?


Been going on for years, nhbc have key stages they inspect on, foundations, superstructure before the trusses go on, pre plaster, drainage and final inspection for occupation, all the other bits inbetween  are self certified. Also if they can’t make an inspection you are allowed to carry on. 

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12 hours ago, thewig said:

I memorably made the observation back in 08 that the new build estates were the slums of the future

Apologies but I just had to.

Development of flats locally has no parking, apparently the main 106 sweetener was that they pay for the roads leading to it be widened however because of where it is the actual roads in its direct vicinity are only single track if vehicles park on them. Can’t imagine the residents in the area of the road widening not being nimbys as they know that they are about to find that their roads used as a car park.

So the solution the house price crisis is to build our way to affordable housing, really?

Edited by Blod
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