Just seen another horror story

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On Channel 4,Tuesday 8:00 pm there was a programme about people's problems with houses. The first item concerned numerous defects with a new Persimmon house. Basically, the house was considered not up to standard, although one of the presenters tried to play down the owners' concerns somewhat.
I am planning to buy a new home! And I can do without horror stories like this. And this is not the first time I've watched programmes like this, where some brand new houses are shown to be of dubious quality or even structurally unsound (anyone remember that house with the massive cracks in the walls?).
How can I pick a builder with some kind of reputation to maintain and some concept of quality work? Where are all the lists of recommended builders, and the lists of builders whose products one wouldn't touch with a bargepole?
I have brochures from about a dozen builders, one of which is Persimmon. But I also have my eye on Morris Homes, Bryant, and Chestnut Homes.
Any advice to avoid a dud? This is a dream of a lifetime and while the couple portrayed on tonight's programme were angry, they were fairly resigned to the situation and just wanted out. Apparently they have negotiated some kind of confidential deal with the builder. But if this happened to me, I would be absolutely livid. Surely it must be possible to avoid jerry building in 2003/4?
MM
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wrote:

Another possibiltiy is to speak to a surveyors (or someone suitably qualified), and ask how much it'd cost to get them to go round and check on the building at various stages of the build. I considered doing this for my property, however I had good feedback from others about our builders and so didn't bother.
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On Tue, 5 Aug 2003 23:47:24 +0100, "L Reid"

Actually that is a very good suggestion - the surveyor doesn't need to do a lot - he can drop by the building site once a week on the way to or from the office, and as he's not going to be writing reports for each visit it's cash in the bank for him, and peace of mind for you.
Andrew
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My house was done that way rather than by having an NHBC guarantee. It is backed up the surveyors insurance. My solicitor said it was generally regarded as much better than the NHBC guarantee because the time limit is much longer, and because any solicitor who's had any dealings with an NHBC guarantee will tell you just how worthless that is.
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Andrew Gabriel

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On 6 Aug 2003 08:53:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

I wasn't aware that you could opt-out of the NHBC guarantee. How does that work then?
Andrew
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Builder wasn't a member of NHBC, and so had no choice. It was a small local company. They have to employ a surveyor to come and inspect the build at various stages. At the end, the surveyor signs a certificate saying he checked the house was built properly. If he turns out to be wrong, you claim off his insurance. I don't have the details as they're lodged with the deeds or the local council (can't remember which). My recollection is that there is an initial 10 year period, but unlike the NHBC guarantee, you can still claim for problems which come to light after the 10 year period and were not obvious beforehand. I think you have to claim within 3 years of a problem becoming aparent though. There is no upper time limit, but the amount awarded in a claim after the first ten years would be reduced to reflect the length of satisfactory time/usage of the building before it showed up, and I think she said in practice a claim after 20 years was unlikely to award anything. I don't know how general these limits might be for such schemes, or how specific this is to my particular guarantee.
I suppose if you are buying a house before it is built, you might be able to specify this mechanism to be used instead of an NHBC guarantee, but I don't know if that would be possible.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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On 6 Aug 2003 08:53:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

Eh?!! How can the NHBC guarantee be worthless! This new house buying lark has got me really worried now. I'm beginning to think it's best if I stay put...
I wanted to consider a brand new property so as to avoid any chain hassles. But surely we should be able to trust any accredited building firm, like any of the big-name firms, to erect a property that reflects quality of work, and is value for money. It should NOT be up to the owner, as depicted in last night's programme, to have to consider putting the brand new property to auction (realising a 50 per cent drop in value) in order to get shot of it. The house they showed had daylight showing through the roof, for Gawd's sake! The bannisters on the landing were flimsy and probably dangerous. There were major problems with flooding, and so on. We're not talking here about a cracked tile in the bathroom or a sticking front door.
Perhaps a smaller, local builder would be a better choice than going to the mainstream builders?
MM
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It was a solicitor who told me solicitors regard them as pretty worthless, so I wouldn't stake too much hope on that path either.
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(Andrew

No, get a surveyor to inspect the build at crucial stages. Also he must insist snags are put right pretty well straight away before the next stage. If the they do not cooperate then put out of the deal. Better than loosing half of the house value and you will get a better built house overall. The BCO is supposed to catch all these snags. They don't. They are either too lazy, incompetent or too much on their plate.
A good BCO would not allow a build to progress unless he inspected that stage of the build. Most don't care and allow the builders to do what they like.
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writes:

I see very liitle advantages in an old house. No insulation, damp etc.

A myth propagated by nasty Wimpey house of the 1960s. Most house in the UK are built of brick and block and are far better built, and cost a fraction to heat, than older houses.

Planning again. House should be allowed to be build on such small,plots.
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Two-foot-thick stone walls; 200mm loft insulation (did it myself); fully damp-coursed on renovation. It costs a little more to heat than the 1950s semi we moved out of, but then the floor area is slightly more than doubled. A relative's construction-management degree-course staff advocated putting up with living in nothing built post-WW2 and ideally nothing built post-WW1.

Eh? I drive past nasty Lego developments being thrown up out of wood-frame with brick cladding every flippin' day all---and they tend to be thrown up fairly frequently on flood plain land. If you're ever in Stirling, I can show you several such.
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writes:

Aart frpom sound insulation, I see no benefit.

How wrong they are.

Lego? Don't be silly!!

Timber frame. A far better, and more eco, method of construction. Fabulous!

Planning depts again for allowing it. Those bastards should be shot.
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Thermal inertia.

Sigh. I meant `might as well have been built out of red and white Lego, to look at them'. All plug-ugly, critically cramped, spacewise, and built with no thought for the accessibility of any particular service from them other than by car.

How long do you supposed they'll last? On R4's PM recently, it was pointed out that with house-building going at the rate it's going at the moment, each house built now needs to last 4000 years. No-one need care about what happens after they're dead, though, eh?

I don't see responsible, reliable builders in the business for the long term turning down the opportunity. Surely a responsible builder that knows the area would decline the opportunity to build in such places.
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Insulation is still poor.

The oldest timber framed home in the UK dates from the 11th century. 100,000s are still standing and they amount to millions of old and modern buildings. Timber frame is brill! Most of modern homes are timber anyhow. The roof, floors, doors, stairs, etc. take it awy and there is only a brick and block shell left.

4000 years? then we have to live in earth shelters.

The point is that they should not be allowed to build there in the first place.
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But you can't compare those ancient timber-framed buildings with the modern cheapo variety! Sure, if it's a Swedish, Canadian, or self-build home, where you can choose a design with really solid beams, that's a different kettle of fish altogether. Without naming names (but I sense the first letter was quite like a W or something similar) those timber-framed houses there was so much fuss about in the 1980s were in my opinion jerry-built rubbish.
As to the point about most modern homes consisting of timber, well, no. Increasingly, it's MDF. I noted in one brochure that the skirting is all MDF. Now this may well be sound enough, but it's not "timber". Also, look at the roof trusses in an older property and compare them with those in a new house. In the latter the timbers used are spindly in comparison. In our village, builders recently completed a couple of very boxy "cottages" which passers-by (me!) were able to observe from week to week. Although the finished properties look "okay", I noted areas during the build which I would have thought looked like a bodge. A wavy foundation trench; uneven foundation beams; poorly fitted fascias, and more. The road has been dug up twice to fix problems with the wiring/plumbing/phones/drainage. Yesterday the BT van was parked outside again. These cottages sold for 265,000 each!
I would LIKE to buy an old property! I would LOVE to buy an old property, but everyone I know or knew who did so had tremendous problems with (a) gazumping (b) vendor withdrawing (c) chains (d) surveys (e) all the other problems. An old house with vacant possession might do the trick, though. But there aren't many of them around.
MM
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wrote:

The early 1980s world in action programme killed them off, but they are coming back big time. World in Action took some poorly built house and passed them off as the norm. They omitted the poorly built brick and block houses which suffer from all sorts of ills, like concrete and brick cancer.
The only difference between a brick and block house and timber fame one is that the inner frame, that holds up the house is timber (which creates a void which is filled with insulation) rather than block work. Otherwise the house are the same.

It's a derivative of timber, that is for sure.

The uprights need not be too thick to hold up a house. With a timber framed house the rooms are exact in that if it supposed to 4 x 5 metres it is. They are also square.

Build a new one, with state of the eco features, that looks old. Our Natural snotty uni man did this, or attempted to.
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Whilst unfortunately the walls under sometimes aren't. In my BCO days we had more than one case of having to insist on work stopping until the substructure walls had been rebuilt in the right place.
One of the big problems with timber frame is that it is far more liable to problems if the bricklayers (and others) do not do a good job. It may or may not be better now, but then things like accuracy in setting out, not dropping mortar down cavities and proper firestopping were often not there.
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"Mike Mitchell" wrote | I would LIKE to buy an old property! I would LOVE to buy an old | property, but everyone I know or knew who did so had tremendous | problems with (a) gazumping
move to Scotland
(b) vendor withdrawing
move to Scotland
(c) chains
move to Scotland
(d) surveys
You normally survey before offering, so you may end up having to survey several properties before having an offer accepted
(e) all the other problems.
As most property is not sold through estate agents that removes one layer of fee-grabbing incompetents from the equation
And property ownership is different, which also affects build quality. The speculative building in England was typically for a 60-year property life on a 100-year lease. In Scotland feus were granted in effect in perpetuity.
| An old house with vacant possession might do the trick, though. | But there aren't many of them around.
Keep an eye on the obituary columns.
Owain
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No - no - no -no !!!!! :-)
Well - move to Scotland, yes - but only buy FIXED-PRICE.....
A friend of mine has been - for 6 months - trying to buy a flat in and around Edinburgh.
The system in Scotland is positively Kafkaesque in its design.
She has looked at flats with "offers over" 79k - this would make a great board game - guess the selling price:
1. Well, pick a random number anywhere between 90k and 130k.
2. There are no rules or guides - solicitors have been hopeless - their advice has been largely based on rule no. 1 - see above.
3. After nearly twenty flats - she, and all her family - would give anything to have the English system with gazumping, chains etc
The English system is far from perfect. But given the choice ? The English system - ask the above Scottish family.
-- Phil
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On 10 Aug 2003 05:50:59 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@philandlaura.com (Phil) wrote:

sold pretty quickly a few weeks before and as it was an identical design we put ours on the market at the same offers over price (OO 69k, I was happy with around 80K) We had loads of interest but no offers so went back to discuss with the solicitor. It turned out that the one across the road went for 100k (absolutely outrageous IMHO) so it was obvious that prospectous buyers expected mine to go for the same.
Made it fixed price 83K and it sold the next day.
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