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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    My sister bought a house off plan and moved in in 2014 less that 4 yrs ago. A flat roof over a bedroom is leaking and from the photos the roof has not been done to specification as laid down in the building control plans. The LABC signed off the house and there is a LABC warranty insurance in place. However when she made the claim the insurers have calculated she needs to make a contribution as calculated under policy excess, of over £1000. It seems grossly unfair to have the problem never mind been asked to pay a good sum towards the repair. Would there be any come back against building control in that they were negligent in that they signed off something that was done properly. It is very evident that it is not to specification as the chippings dressing has not been put on, the roof does not slope properly and a builder friend has stated that the felt is of a type that you would put on a shed not a dwelling.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    Unlikely but the builder should be liable
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    Is there an NHBC guarantee?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    That won't cover it, they run away from everything and only major structural is covered and even then only with a fight.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2018
     
    As Tony said, it's the builder who is liable, not building control or any other contractor. Your sister made a contract with the builder, so he's the person to take to court to recover the excess. If there's a realistic chance of suing him, the LABC insurance might just be interested in a chance to recover the money too.

    See e.g.:
    https://www.footanstey.com/updates-a-publications/1079-can-you-sue-building-control-if-they-fail-to-spot-defective-work
    http://www.probyn-miers.com/perspective/2017/02/but-it-was-approved-building-control-and-design-responsibility/
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    Thanks djh for the links they are very useful. Will be interesting to see the outcome of the Grenfell fire enquiry and BC role in that. I am concerned that I myself have trusted my BCO to inspect my build particularly important stuff like the foundation trench before the concrete pour. Surely if I am paying the local authority for such a service they should exercise reasonable care and skill in doing this and be answerable if they get it wrong. I have personally paid for this service so in that respect they are contracted to me. They are the final arbiter on whether the trench is deep enough not the contractor who excavated it.

    The builder in question is difficult to trace he avoided doing the snagging list that had been prepared by a surveyor. He had a building company set up in 2006 and dissolved in Feb 2012 via a compulsory strike off (what ever that means) and receivers were appointed. He built a block of 4 houses (one of which my sister bought) presumably in his own name and in 2014 set up a new company under a different name. How you can be a director of a company that is compulsory struck off in 2012 and set up another one in 2014 I do not know.

    There is a further issue in that the first roofer (a good one she used on a previous house) came around to do a survey and take some photos but has refused to comment on the work or offer a quote because he knows the roofer that was subcontracted on the build. Being in a semi rural area in N Wales it is difficult to get quotes for work and even harder to get them to do the work.

    At the end oft he day I guess she will have to cough up and try to get some redress in the small claims court if the builder can be traced.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2018
     
    Posted By: revorI am concerned that I myself have trusted my BCO to inspect my build particularly important stuff like the foundation trench before the concrete pour. Surely if I am paying the local authority for such a service they should exercise reasonable care and skill in doing this and be answerable if they get it wrong. I have personally paid for this service so in that respect they are contracted to me. They are the final arbiter on whether the trench is deep enough not the contractor who excavated it.

    The architect is ultimately responsible for the depth of the trench, and the clerk of works for whether it was built according to the design. Now who took those roles on your project may be different people or different labels, but neither of them is building control.

    AIUI, it's exactly the difference between 'exercise reasonable care and skill' and 'be answerable if they get it wrong' that is the issue in those links. It's all about what happens if there are mistakes.
  1.  
    IMO the roof problem could be a bag of worms, as the law as I understand it is less than clear about where the liability between main and sub contractor lie. E.G. who supplied the roofing felt for the roof, what does the build contract say (if anything) about sub-contractor liability.

    What I would do here, if it went to court, is to sue both the main and the sub contractor and their respective solicitors would have to argue the responsibilities with the last man standing carrying the can - but of course its different over there.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2018
     
    Posted By: revorHowever when she made the claim the insurers have calculated she needs to make a contribution as calculated under policy excess, of over £1000.
    Small Claims Court is the route I would go.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2018
     
    Make sure you get a copy of the Warranty and check what is covered and what it says about the excess. Does it mention an excess?

    As I understand it warranty companies are usually liable for things that degrade or fail but wriggle out of anything that could be considered a quality issue with the original workmanship. They are likely to argue the original workmanship was fine because it didn't leak when she moved in!

    In short I suspect you might get further arguing the roofing felt has failed prematurely rather than arguing the original build quality was inadequate.

    I am concerned that I myself have trusted my BCO to inspect my build particularly important stuff like the foundation trench before the concrete pour.


    https://www.barrellison.co.uk/legal-news-and-views/building-control

    Extracts...

    Can I bring a claim against Building Control?

    The answer is ‘no’, save in limited circumstances. The recent decision of R (Gresty and another) v Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council confirms this.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2018
     
    Small Claims Court is the route I would go.


    Against who? Builder can't be traced.

    You could try taking the LABC warranty provider to court but they appear to have agreed the claim subject to the excess.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2018
     
    Latest on this is that another property has been identified with similar problem done by the same builder but only after 2 yrs. Building control have confirmed that the roof timbers on my sisters house were not examined when they should have been they have also confirmed that the roof was not done to specification. A proposed roofer has now confirmed that the issue is condensation due to lack of ventilation of the cold roof. No doubt there is no vapour barrier either and probably limited insulation. Despite many efforts the builder cannot be found. I don't know where Mrs May is going to conjure up 300,000 more houses from where are the skilled trades people going to come from.

    In our village planning permission was granted for a small estate of passive houses provided that the first tranche about 6 I think were made affordable homes. These were built and occupied quite quickly but the other houses about 10 have not been completed. They are slowly deteriorating as building stopped about 2 years ago with the insulation part covering the buildings and being damaged by the weather. A roofer I had working for me had worked on the site and told me that because they lost money on the affordable houses they tried to cut corners. On of the things they did was try and make their own roof SIPS panels on site with OSB and insulation and failed miserably unable to get the required airtightness. When they ran out of the special tapes they resorted to gaffer tape. This is the building trade for you.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2018
     
    Posted By: revorHe had a building company set up in 2006 and dissolved in Feb 2012 via a compulsory strike off
    Yes, UK company law should be changed to prevent this sort of serial activity. I'm told there are several people locally who done this on a number of occasions. How the banks do not twig is beyond me. Trade for a while, build up a rep, place a big order on credit, use the gear then fold the business without paying. In this case it is simply to avoid any repercussions.
  2.  
    Posted By: revorMrs May is going to conjure up 300,000 more houses from where are the skilled trades people going to come from.

    Eastern Europe has lots of skilled workers (and nurses) Oh wait a mo Brexit says that they are not wanted/needed.

    Posted By: revorIn our village planning permission was granted for a small estate of passive houses provided that the first tranche about 6 I think were made affordable homes. These were built and occupied quite quickly but the other houses about 10 have not been completed. They are slowly deteriorating as building stopped about 2 years ago with the insulation part covering the buildings and being damaged by the weather. A roofer I had working for me had worked on the site and told me that because they lost money on the affordable houses they tried to cut corners.

    Which must bring in to question the whole concept of affordable housing - what ever that means - and what sort of housing stock will the 'affordable housing' be 5/10 years down the line.

    IMO the planning system in the UK is broken and not fit for purpose and until (sensible) alternatives are found then there is no chance of building the required number of homes.

    I heard an interesting item from Australia who are suffering similar problems, one of the issues was the reluctance to give permission to build new houses because if there were enough houses (and building land) the prices would fall of all of the housing stock (supply and demand issues) and this would upset the locals who would not be voting for the council next election because the locals would blame the council for their negative equity - And the council wants to be re-elected. =NIMBY

    This does raise the point that if the housing shortage was solved and prices fell because supply=demand how long would it take for the negative equity to work its way out and how many houses would be unsaleable until it did so?

    Has anyone done the sums to see if there is enough building land available where it is needed without encroaching on the precious green belt?
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2018
     
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryThis does raise the point that if the housing shortage was solved and prices fell because supply=demand how long would it take for the negative equity to work its way out and how many houses would be unsaleable until it did so?

    Has anyone done the sums to see if there is enough building land available where it is needed without encroaching on the precious green belt?

    The housing market is not 'rational'. If it was, nearly everyone would live in cities.
    When people 'pay for a view' that is not theirs, then spend time, money and energy defending that view, you know it has gone seriously wrong.
    There is also a perception problem between housing 'need' and housing 'want'.
    I know a local chap, a postie, he does not need housing as he is renting quite happily, but he wants a £500,000 house, in the posh village he lives in (because his friends live there, though they have moved on and away) while still going out for meals (twice a week) and to the pub (told it is over £4/pint now). And all that on a postman's wage.
    There was a chap on the radio yesterday that was renting a room for over £1000/month in London. He said 'I could buy a place up North for that'.
    Then move, no one will miss you.
  3.  
    Posted By: Peter_in_Hungary
    Has anyone done the sums to see if there is enough building land available where it is needed without encroaching on the precious green belt?


    All the usual caveats about "lies, damned lies and statistics" apply - in fact More or Less do a recurring segment on this topic, but there is a land use summary here.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41901294

    Doesn't quite distinguish 'developable' land because this is very site specific but gives an idea of land cover generally.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2018
     
    Some further developments spoke to my BCO about BC liability if there were things they missed. His reply was yes they would be liable for items that were statutory inspections and had serious consequences e.g the foundations if later they were found to be issues of subsidence.

    The damp ingress into my sisters house has now been diagnosed as condensation but this has damaged the roof cladding as an inspection has identified it being spongy at that point. The inspection identified the cause as no ventilation of the cold roof. I guess there is no vapour barrier present either and probably questionable insulation. LABC have now turned round and said the problem is not covered by the warranty because it is condensation and not a structural defect, some perverse logic there.

    The plans are very specific about the structure of the roof on how it should be constructed, and clearly it is not even before it is taken apart. If for example one buys a car with a certain specification and the salesperson deliberately (i.e. not accidentally make a mistake) supplies something that was not as described, then that would be considered as fraudulent activity. Should the same logic not be applied to a house?.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2018
     
    Posted By: revorThe plans are very specific about the structure of the roof on how it should be constructed, and clearly it is not even before it is taken apart. If for example one buys a car with a certain specification and the salesperson deliberately (i.e. not accidentally make a mistake) supplies something that was not as described, then that would be considered as fraudulent activity. Should the same logic not be applied to a house?.

    The situation is the same. The person (firm) liable is the one that made the mistake (or fraud if deliberate). Your difficulty is that you cannot find that person (firm). It's the same with cars if you buy from a back street garage that disappears, and sad to say even the service from main agents and manufacturers of cars is sometimes less than ideal. Witness dieselgate for one prime example.

    As to the LABC warranty, it will be necessary to read the terms and conditions carefully to see exactly what cover it provides and whether they are correct in their denial of liability. If they are then I expect the cost of the required repair work may be claimable from her buildings insurance policy?
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