Dream home turned nightmare as family complain of countless snags in new-build house
PUBLISHED: 11:53 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 11 April 2019
After a lifetime of saving, a new-build in Mulbarton was meant to be Heidi Franklin's dream home.
But a walk through the five-bedroom family home in Golden Orfe Close, located in the picturesque Oakley Park plot, shows a house in disrepair.
Cracks on the ceilings and walls are scattered throughout the house and paint is flaking off the edges of doors and window sills.
Some of the major so-called snags include unstable banisters, a broken shower door, buckling carpet and misaligned floor tiles.
An independent insurance provider has upheld 22 of the 43 snags identified in the house, built by developers Hopkins Homes, including lumps of plaster underneath the carpets, garage and utility doors that do not lock and the showers trays moving in all of the bathrooms.
The quality of new-build homes has become a growing issue all over the country, with an increasing number of complaints being made to homebuilders over issues of snagging.
Hopkins Homes said some of the work needed to be carried out in the house were “prevented from starting” as Mrs Franklin rejected their approach in dealing with the matter.
But despite visits from contractors to fix some of the snags, the problems remain and the cracks have reappeared.
Mrs Franklin, 43, said the house was built within six months before she and her family - husband Paul Franklin and their twin sons, aged 12 - moved in on December 15, 2017.
“Hopkins Homes gave us a date to move in in December, but we didn’t expect to move in until March ,” she said. “They made the house in six months, why was it a rush? We didn’t rush them to move in.”
“I love the plot, we have always wanted to live in Mulbarton and my children go to schools here,” Mrs Franklin added. “You save all your life. It’s almost like they don’t care.”
She said Hopkins Homes had offered £5,000 to cover the costs of repairs but that this was not enough to fix all of the problems.
The dispute has been escalated to warranty and insurance provider the National House Building Council (NHBC), which is carrying out some of the remedial work although normally would not intervene within the first two years of a house being bought.
As part of its resolution service, which aims to resolve disputes between homebuilders and homeowners, an inspection report carried out in February this year identified 43 problems in the house which required action.
An NHBC spokesman said: “Not all of the problems notified to us will fall within the cover provided by the ten-year buildmark warranty and insurance policy. We do, however, understand that it can be very distressing for a homeowner when problems with their property arise.”
He added: “As a warranty and insurance provider, we work with builders to help them improve the construction quality of the homes they build. However, it is the builder who is ultimately responsible for the quality of the new homes they build.”
A spokesman for Hopkins Homes said: “We really do feel that we have done everything to address the legitimate items that have been raised. In some instances, our recommended approach to fix these items, such as the tiling, was rejected by the couple and prevented work from starting.
“The NHBC concluded that almost half the requested items did not need addressing and confirmed our approach to fixing many of the other legitimate items was appropriate.
“We have always been willing to complete this work ourselves but accepted the NHBC recommendation that a cash value to cover the costs of the upheld works should be offered to Mr and Mrs Franklin instead. Mr and Mrs Franklin have since rejected the NHBC’s decision and offer.”
Mrs Franklin said she hoped the problems in the house would be fixed this year, adding: “All of the things that NHBC are not dealing with up until this day I have continually been asking Hopkins Homes ‘what are you going to do about this?’”
A growing number of complaints are being made by homeowners within the first two years of moving into a new-build house.
More than nine out of 10 new-build homes in the UK have snags and defects, according to a survey by the New Homes Review (NHR).
It has prompted the Homeowners Alliance to launch a campaign for snagging retention, where new-build homebuyers retain a set percentage of the cost of their house until the faults are fixed.
In 2017, families in Peter Pulling Drive, Costessey, had to move out of their homes after a number of faults were uncovered, including poor insulation and fire and building regulation breaches.
Housing developer Taylor Wimpey said at the time that it regularly checked the Costessey homes as they were being built.
But despite assurances the problems would be resolved, in May 2018, homeowner Justin Revell had to move out for the second time in a year after a surveyor found the insulation was still not properly installed.
Have you had problems with your new-build home? Call Taz Ali on 01603 772531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org