My £¼M dream home disaster

A FAMILY who paid a quarter of a million pounds for a brand-new ‘dream home’ claim it is so littered with faults it’s now worth just £60,000.

Pauline Young, 45, and husband Brian moved into their four-bedroom house in Ashton last February with their three children.

Almost immediately they noticed problems with the luxury home.

“The decorator said some walls were longer than others. It looks like the ceiling bows in places in the kitchen and all through the house the walls are not straight,” said Pauline.

“We asked somebody from Barratts to come and have a look and they said it was because the wallpaper wasn’t hung properly, but we then instructed a surveyor to come out and he said the footings weren’t level. They’re out by 50mm on one side.

“You can tell because when you walk upstairs on the landing and in the bedrooms you can feel yourself going down in places.”

Mrs Young says the house was this week valued at just £60,000 by an estate agent.

The couple say Barratt Homes is refusing to acknowledge the severity of the problem at their home on Cravenwood, off Rose Hill Road.

“Barratts say they will come out and pack the joists, but we asked an independent surveyor to come out and he said that woudn’t put it right. Not only is it not level, it’s not square either. It’s wider at the front than the back.” she said.

“Barratts say it’s structurally safe but our surveyor says we won’t be able to sell it in the condition it’s in.”

She added: “We don’t want to do anything to the house because we don’t know what will be happening to it. We wanted to build a conservatory so my daughter could practice piano in there, but we can’t,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Barratt Homes said: “The two surveyors (Barratt’s and the Young family’s) are in the process of agreeing work to be carried out.

“Following that we will write to the family so that we can expedite work to the customer’s satisfaction as quickly as possible.”
Source Manchester Evening News

Reasons why new homes are poor quality

Changes to the Building Regulations and NHBC standards

It is desirable and necessary to improve the standard of the nation’s housing stock and this is done through revision of the building regulations. However, in recent years this has been a continual process. No sooner has the industry accepted new standards, produced designs, specifications and developed new materials enabling the new standards to be met than they are changed again. (Part E Part L Part M) This causes problems at site level with certain trades, possibly working with out of date drawings, unaware that the specifications for their work have now been changed.

Increased importance placed on safety procedures

Nearly all construction and house building companies have invested heavily in implementing new health and safety strategies to comply with new legislation and limit their exposure to prosecution in the event of an accident or fatality. Statistics from the HSE would indicate that safety on construction sites is improving with a reduction in the number of people killed; 59 in 05/06 – down from 71 for both the previous two years. However, compliance has a price and it can take up a large proportion of the site manager’s working day. Not only has he to carry out various and necessary safety inspections but now everything must be recorded in writing, even a visit from the HSE. Such is the onus placed on the site manager preparing and implementing risk assessments, method statements, COSHH assessments, inductions, tool-box talks (training) lift plans etc, that he is spending less and less time out on the site inspecting the standard of your new home as it is built.

Poor site managers

The growing incidence of employing site managers with a trade background also contributes to the lower quality of newly built homes. These site managers tend to have a very limited knowledge outside their own particular trade, with poor management and communication skills and a lack of enthusiasm, confidence and knowledge of the latest techniques and building regulations. It is not uncommon for forklift truck drivers to be acting as site managers on smaller sites.


Lack of continuity

It is becoming rare these days within the house building industry for site managers to have any continuity with their employers. It is often inevitable that as soon as the site is completed, the site manager can find he is either surplus to requirements or is required to travel great distances to his next site. With this as a prospect, it is not surprising that some site managers are not as professional and diligent as they could be.

Reduced size of developments

Owning to ever increasing land prices and lack of availability, the majority of sites are limited to 35 homes or less. This can mean that by the time the site manager and his tradesmen have ‘ironed-out’ all the problems for each new house type and have solutions for the design issues, the site is completed. Finding solutions to design problems can mean quality suffers. As the site team will not be available on site for any length of time it is unlikely they will be called on to deal with any remedial works and this may also result in less care being taken.

What can be done to improve the quality of new homes?

Employ professionally qualified site managers with a degree or HND as a minimum. Motivate them and give continuity of employment.

Set realistic build programmes to prevent homes being rushed to meet targets.

Place more emphasis on profitability and less on the number of completions. This should ensure homes are not rushed to meet end of year deadlines and profitability can be “managed” throughout the year.

Employ one apprentice for every 100 homes completed and pay at least the minimum wage to attract more people and help the skills shortage.

Revise and streamline the planning process to prevent delays to the start of developments. Planning gain supplements should be standardised.

Enable house builders to quickly and easily substitute their own standard home designs for the existing approved designs to reduce the number of one-off developments built.

Simplify site safety procedures for site management and consider employing Safety officers on site to manage and enforce health and safety matters to free up the site manager to inspect and organise the building work.

Increase the number of warranty inspectors to ensure all new homes are regularly inspected, not just those sites which are thought to be ‘at risk’. Attract professionally qualified and experienced people by providing higher salary levels.

Revisions to building regulations should be limited to every five years, with the building industry being invited for consultation at every stage of the revision process.

Source Brand New Homes

Pensioner is bombarded with phone calls after bungling building firm put her home number on sign warning of road closures

A pensioner is being bombarded with angry telephone calls – after her number was mistakenly printed on a road closure sign.

Construction firm Barratt Homes has erected a number of signs informing residents of road closures as building work starts on their 222-home development in Plymouth, Devon.

But the phone number for Barratt’s regional office is just one digit different to that of Laura Bradford – and they printed her number by mistake.
Read more:

Are Barratt Homes trying to kill people?

Are Barratt Homes trying to kill people in Thornbury in their quest to build more homes?

They have erected a security fence with plastic shuttering to protect prying eyes from their building site at the junction of Upper Bath Road and Rock Street.

This has created an extremely dangerous situation for vehicles trying to exit Upper Bath Road and turn right towards the town. They have to edge out across half the carriageway to enable the driver to have a clear view of the oncoming traffic.

Source Snagging Org

I bought a new flat in July, built by Barratt Homes

Customer Question

I bought a new flat in July, built by Barratt Homes. The flat was purchased in with Merlion Housing Associaton (I own 75%). The problem I now have is my central heating/hot water system has packed up-again! The first time it caused a problem I called out the emergency plumbers (K. A. Watts, Southampton), said they had repaired the fault (this was in October). I have been away over Xmas period and returned home today (12:00 30 Dec) to find that my central heating system is defective (boiler shows error). I called KA Watts, they refused to come out as they say it is Merlions responsibility, I tried to contact Merlion-no answer. I phoned Barratts-they gave me an ’emergency number’ and said a plumber would contact me-nothing! Again I spoke with the emergency people (20:00) who said Barratts and Merlion argue responsiblity and the only solution is to call a plumber at my cost or wait until Mon 5 Jan! This property has a 2yr warranty that no one wants to honor-please can you help? M. Harris

Source Just

East Hull family bemoan Barratt Homes

The couple bought a new three-bedroom house on Barratt Homes’s Connexion East development off Marfleet Lane last December for £131,000.

But Mrs Bricklebank said the couple returned from their Christmas honeymoon in Puerto Rico to find water everywhere.

She said: “When they sell these houses they say you will never have any problems, but it’s not that easy.

“Everything goes wrong. It’s just problem after problem. It’s our first home together, but we haven’t been able to enjoy it.”

Barratt Homes gave the Bricklebanks £500 in compensation after they complained their leather sofa was ruined by water damage. But two holes in their living room ceiling remain, as Barratt Homes says its plumbing contractors “have not been able to identify the cause of the problem”.

The Bricklebanks also say they have had persistent problems with their boiler.

A spokesperson for Barratt Homes said: “We are sorry Mrs Bricklebank has experienced problems with the plumbing and the boiler in her property.

“As faults have been reported, we have responded quickly by completing a full investigation and resolving the issue as quickly as possible.”

The house is covered by a structural warranty for 10 years and everything else, including the boiler, is covered for two years.

Anything good to say about Barratt Homes?

Nope. Their houses are built cheaply which means eventually in a few years something will happen. Like for example, my friends flat is cold, she has to have the heating on all the time, all year around.