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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021 edited
     
    My sister has just moved into a new build, yesterday. Building was finished probably hours before and presumably rushed at every stage.

    They are of course, currently, tired and excited so not necessarily looking for problems at this stage but sooner rather than later I'd like to try to help them check things have at least been done towards current building standards while there's, hopefully, some chance of recourse. I know the horror stories and that I'd be very hesitant to buy one but that wasn't my decision. I would like to help them ensure what they have bought isn't needlessly rubbish.

    Any useful resources? Or suggestions regarding sensible things to check?

    Many thanks in advance
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021 edited
     
    I suppose it depends on how much they are willing to spend but the obvious route to me would be having someone qualified in building control check it out or at least a structural engineer to ensure it is sound. However, neither will be cheap.

    Edit: I would add that it is the big construction companies that cause the biggest concern. If the house has been built by one of the rare smaller companies they might be lucky.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021
     
    Air tightness, visual inspections first, look at everything , hope for not dot and dabbed

    Thermal imaging survey

    Are drains connected and working?
    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021
     
    It's probably prudent that I offer to look for obvious things in the first instance and if there's anything obviously wrong, go from there, exploring the independent inspection route. I had in mind to try to pick a breezy day, open a few windows facing away from the wind and take off some plug sockets to check for behind plasterboard breezes. Probably won't help me though as I suspect some will be deemed acceptable and I won't be able to measure.

    I don't know anything about the construction at this stage. Housebuilder is large enough to be doing a multi house estate but not one if the big name brands. (Name escapes me right now).
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021
     
    It's possible with a smaller developer that the build quality might be better. How many houses are they building on the estate?
  1.  
    check the loft for continuity and thickness of the insulation including at the eaves
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021
     
    Id start by engaging with your sister as to whether having just moved in they would be prepared for the disruption of having builders back in to do snagging/remedial works. If they arent prepared to move out or vacate sections of the house, theres no point in looking for problems.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: philedgeId start by engaging with your sister as to whether having just moved in they would be prepared for the disruption of having builders back in to do snagging/remedial works. If they arent prepared to move out or vacate sections of the house, theres no point in looking for problems.

    I think that's an important point but expressed the wrong way round. If there's a problem that's serious enough and going to cause so much disruption that they'll need to move out temporarily, then it is IMHO very important that such a problem is found and fixed. Both for their own benefit and for the protection of their investment.

    So by all means mention the possibility that there may be some faults that might require drastic measures but persuade them of the necessity for that if things turn out that way.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021 edited
     
    If it's timber frame construction, then the presence (or otherwise) of cavity fire stops would also interest me. You'd need a boroscope survey to verify that.

    Some developers have had significant problems with this - Persimmon recently: https://www.thefpa.co.uk/news/arup-to-assist-persimmon-on-fire-safety
    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2021
     
    Thank you, some great points. In particular regarding what my sister would/wouldn't want to do.

    I'll find out who built them.
    • CommentAuthorHollyBush
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2021
     
    Couple of suggestions:
    1 - google new build house snagging list or similar - might even be one on here, or find one and post here for review

    2 - ask the builder for details of their warranty scheme - who do you contact, when etc. The builder should have a process to address issues long after initial sale.

    Check the contract - IMHO If you need to move out, then that is a cost the builder should shoulder...
    • CommentAuthorGareth J
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2021
     
    Burrington estates.
    • CommentAuthorwookey
    • CommentTimeJul 4th 2021
     
    It's hard to check much meaningful in a new-build. The one thing they _do_ do properly is superficailly cover everything up, so you can't easily check airtightness, presence of insulation in cavities, holes between joists or behind boxing, or at least not without making a mess.

    But look in back of kitchen cupboards/behind white goods for holes in the wall that are not airtight, check loft hatch seals properly. Try to get a look at the eaves from outside/inside (but probably covered in fluff and PVC trim).

    As you said a windy day is good and you can at least see if the window seals work, then complain that they've bought a _brand new_ house and it hasn't even got bloody triple glazing (they almost never do because our buildings regs are so pathetic), or MVHR, two basics of a decent house.
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