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Old 7th September 2008, 11:51 PM
eg7 eg7 is offline
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Default Block and Beam floor building regs

I have a semi detached 4 bed room supposed dream home, which is now 2 years old. From the off we had noise problems from next door mainly banging sounds. I eventually plucked up the courage to ask the neighbours to keep the noise down. They then said they could hear us and that is when I realised the house was the problem not he neighbours. I called the Builders a smal firm of brothers, to solve the problem and they basically said that it was covered under RDL (Robust Details which is a naff invention from the government to let builders off of pre-completion testing under Part E of the building regs) and that they had conformed to sound insulation and basically tough luck. I then called NHBC who came in and found that the gap between the two party walls varied from 72mm to 75mm. The air gap between walls should be 75mm all the way up to the roof. So the builder was forced to get a sound test done. We had a sound test done and we then were told it passed on 45 decibels the minimum standard allowed. I was still not happy something was inherently wrong with this build. I found out the people who did the test was not UKAS accredited and I found that out, they were using another memberís accreditation number. Against the rules. I reported them nothing happened, instead they were rewraded for breaking UKAS rules with an acrediation number some 2 months later!!!!!!!

So we had another test performed by an NHBC chief audio expert again it passed dead 45decibells, but I knew something was not right as I could feel their washing machine vibrate through my floors when I sat down on ther floor. So I called in an expert in civil structural engineering. He found that the block and beam floor runs was liad incorrectly as it runs through to the house next door and visa versa, so basically we are sharing the same floor. Thus the sound travels down the walls and along into our respective houses in the form of flanking, transferred sound.

While all this was going on I acontacted Hazel Blears (secretary of State)and head of communities and government and according to her RDL and Build Control should have inspected for this problem, Incidentally I also took Build Control to the ombudsman for mal practise, but the ombudsman found in their favour, apparently they have done nothing wrong. Even though they have not inspected my build correctly. UGGGH!!

I have also pursued RDL and their manager said there is nothing they can do, beacuse Build control do not need to take any notice of them as they are not policed by any official body. But according to Shona Dunn the head of Legislation making for build control; RDL and the local authority must and do inspect for such problems as aprt of thier remit for part e the passage of sound. Bu the reality is no they do not. No one does.

An RDL certificate is useless and worthless to me a homeowner, because the builder can purchase one and avoid pre-completion testing and no one checks whether the builder has built the floor and walls according to specification and no one cares as long as the has bough the certificate and presented it to Build control. According to the operations manager of RDL it is not policed and they only test 3% of the whole countries RDL compliancing, WHAT AN ABSOLUTE JOKE.

Build control should inspected party walls and floating floors, according to the government but build control said they are not at all required to do so. Finally NHBC who is supposes to protect me the consumer came to mediate and even sent a surveyor who found nothing wrong except for a deviation i the air gap from 75mm to 73mm. The air gap must be minimum of 75mm according to Building regs. But me a man that knows knew nothing about building regulations before this found out that the builder broke RDL compliance and building regs and no one is accountable. DISGUSTING...

I even though I had legal expense cover with my mortgage provider, who provide me with my building insurance, but I do not. I bought my buildings and contents Insurance from a large mortgage provider(who shal remain nameless for legal reasons) withh my mortgage and they inform me that because I purchased my insurance on completion and not on exchange of contract my legal expense insurance is invalid under English law. This means I was sold a mortgage policy the same time I was sold a useless house building insurance which I have been paying a premium on since May 2005 and it is useless, NO GOOD. To add insult to injury the legal expense part I was hoping to use taking the builder to court is also invalid. Because it still does not cover me for building, planning or the construction of my new home, even though I informed my insurance company I was purchasing a new build. They also did the survey. Strange that. I am so upset I just want to pass this information onto other first time new build buyers. Please beware, because I thought that as long as my home had, a completion certificate signed by the head of a Local Authority Build Control who inspected the build and an HNBC warranty for ten years and I had House building insurance, with legal expense cover up to £25,000 I was as safe as houses, well I was wrong. The government and the Insurance institutions should looking after the public interest but alas they are not.

Whilst this has been going on I NHBC forced The builder to replace; the kitchen work tops as faulty, Carpet replaced as faulty, cracks repaired all through the house, the French doors had no screws in them was falling out, the drive to the house was to steep had to be lowered, the sink drain put on wrongly, the shower heaters had to be replaced, the oven fell out, the banisters were not secured in properly (my son nearly fell down, could have been killed), the joist in the roof holding the loft entrance were not screwed in properly, we had reverse polarity at the boiler mains, the boiler flue was not sealed properly, there are no air vents running from front to back of house, no mastic holding the windows in and water leaking in house and now I have found out the block and beam floor that holds the house up is faulty and will cost some £50,000 to repair. ANY HELP MUCH APPRECIATED..

Last edited by eg7; 8th September 2008 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 8th September 2008, 09:50 AM
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Dear eg7,

I completely feel for you, I have written about the Robust Detail on another forum - New Homes Snagging and Advice Forum from Snagging.org it is all about saving money for the builders.

This is not much help to you now, but the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been investigating the housebuilding industry and is due to report back with their recommendations this week - I really hope they will recommend that consumer protection is improved. You have more rights when you buy a can of soup from the supermarket, the current situation is a disgrace. However, given the current state of the housebuilding industry I am not very hopefully. (Perhaps this is a bit cynical)

You can go down the legal route and I know people that have done this. However, it takes time and money - £50,000. Send the owner of this site a mail as I know he has gone down this route - Persimmon Homes my house of horror nightmare - Maple Lodge

The big builders will from my experience settle out of court, but at the last minute. However, you would need to check the financial health of the company. If they did go bust you would be stuck, so perhaps the NHBC would be a better starting point. You MUST get professional legal advice and find someone who has specific experience with new build.

I hope this helps,

Tony

Last edited by Tony; 26th March 2009 at 09:19 PM.
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new build, new homes, newhaven residential, nhbc, office of fair trading, oft, persimmon homes, snagging


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