Portfolio - Case Study 1

Snagging, Edinburgh Owner Occupiers

Defect Diagnosis & Expert Advice

Project involved investigating concerns raised by the Owners of 14 out of 17 newly constructed executive houses by a well known House Builder (individual market value circa 700 - 950k). We were initially called upon to advise on roof tile failures. The Builder, according to the Owners, had failed over a period of time to respond sufficiently well to allay their fears. As a consequence we were initially requested to fully inspect 5 homes and ultimately acted for 14 out of the 17 owners in the Street in bringing a variety of concerns to the attention of the Contractor.

During this exercise we engaged in discussions with the NHBC on behalf of the Owners. We also received a significant amount of support from the local authority Building Control department who were equally keen to see issues resolved before they would issue their Completion Certificates. The defective roof tile fixings ultimately involved more than half of the house roofs being completely stripped and re-covered. Other significant issues included: incorrect construction of chimneys (no DPC or cavity), poor installation of gas fires (majority failed smoke tests despite having been operational for many months), incorrect tying of masonry corners (failure to adequately bond the blocks), ventilation of roof voids (failure to comply with British Standards) and a failure to properly identify safety glazing (BS Kite mark). We also prepared and successfully pursued extensive snagging lists for a number of Owners.

The overall cost of the remedial works, we estimate, was well in excess £500k. This project proved that neither NHBC registration nor industry accolades are sufficient to protect a purchaser in all cases. A Builder is only as good as his weakest sub-contractor and the supervisory controls he imposes upon them. The importance of quality control measures on building sites is critical. The presence of third party inspection by NHBC and even Building Control at irregular intervals may not always provide sufficient protection against a poor Builder.

Footnote

This is a recurring theme in the building industry and it is important that if you have any concerns about the manner in which your property has been constructed, even if it seems fairly petty, that you take Professional advice to ensure that there is nothing more sinister going on.