Little By Little...

jondf Avatar
jondf 17 2.8k
7 Feb 2019 10:41PM
Apologies for my stumbling attendance on the site, although expect there'll be those who experienced relief as a result.
It was a nasty motorcycle accident that contributed in part to my absence and, attacks by cows permitting, I look to spending more time on ephotozine.
And so to my point - new build homes. Seems Bovis has taken flack over multiple faults found in its houses. Never has the term 'You just can't get the staff' been more appropriate than it is today. Decades of falling standards, lack of proper apprenticeships and investment in people would likely make the craftsmen of yesterday cringe with embarrassment. Given the choice I'd go for an older house every time -
rhody Avatar
rhody 20 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 6:36AM
The problem with all new houses is lack of quality control, site supervision and pride in the job.
Contractors and sub-contractors are screwed into the ground on price and then have to wait weeks to get paid.
The NHBC, Approved Inspectors and Local Authority do not inspect every house at every stage any more.
Houses are certified and Completion Certificates issued on the basis of infrequent random inspections and self certification of work by the builders. The Self Certification process is deeply flawed as cash changes hands for Certificates to be issued for work which is clearly substandard. The murky side of building work and the black economy is still alive and well on many building sites today.
Problems are not spotted during the build process and Contractors are quick to cover up defects to make it someone else's problem further down the line. Usually the new Homeowner when they move in.
The pressure is on everyone on site to achieve a rapid build and anything that causes a delay, costs money, so things are bodged and covered up every day of the week.
The 10 year Warranty (not a Guarantee) with New Homes only covers structural items - so the NHBC and others will not get involved in matters of "Good Practice" even if something is not in accordance with best practice in their Builders Manual.
The NHBC, Approved Inspectors and the Local Authority only inspect 1 house in 10 - the rest is down to trust on the part of the builder, so sadly it is no surprise that problems with new homes is so widespread and costly to resolve.
Contractors know it is unlikely that bad workmanship will be detected and simply cover up bad workmanship as quickly as they can.
For a volume housebuilder the cost of getting a legal "Completion Certificate" in order to sell a £500k new home is around £375 or less.
The only way to raise standards is to improve Quality Control and Site Supervision.
At £375 or less per house - the only person making money out of the Inspection process, is the builder. Some volume house builders I know pay less than £150 per house for a Completion Certificate.
Without the legal "Completion Certificate" the Banks and Building Societies will not lend on the property which for the builder, paying £375 or less to sell a £500k home is an absolute bargain.
Unfortunately, the Home Owner ends up with all the hassle, mess and upheaval in putting right what should have been done correctly whilst the home was being built.
The system is deeply flawed and badly in need of an overhaul but it is the Housebuilders, by refusing to pay more for inspection premiums, that are driving quality standards downwards.
LenShepherd Avatar
LenShepherd 15 4.7k United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 10:08AM
Another problem is the customers!
They accept garages where, if you can get the car inside you cannot open the car doors, tiny rather than just adequate size rooms as normal etc. etc.

Recently looking for a new house I picked a plot, checked out another 75% finished house, noted 4 serious breaches of building regulations, tried to negotiate for the plot I wanted on the basis of surveys during the construction - and the builders walked away.

On a previous estate I and some others formed an action group to get faults remedied - but some who "did not want to upset the builder" did not join in.
Standing with placards outside the sales office on a Sunday afternoon resulted in a team in action next morning putting things right - but not for those not joining the protest Smile

If more customers looked beyond the glossy advertising, looked at the construction standards of houses part built etc fewer customers would be happy.

If all buyers insisted on a full survey at the negotiation stage (which costs the buyer money) and a contribution to the cost from the builder if serious faults are found, then within 6 months standards wood rise dramatically.
rhody Avatar
rhody 20 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 10:27AM
Good points LenShepherd. The problem is not many people know what they are looking at during the construction process.
The glossy brochures, fancy kitchen units and two tone decorations are all window dressings.
It's how the thing is put together that matters and that is the part that gets the least attention and least quality control.
Buying a new home is a lottery. One site featured in the media last year had the same critical defects on over 80 houses.
That is the result of an unsupervised contractor making the same mistake over and over again because there was no Quality Control or site supervision on site and the contractor had no idea he was doing anything wrong.
The current house building process is deeply flawed in so many areas.
Railcam Avatar
Railcam 16 967 2 Scotland
8 Feb 2019 12:15PM
One major sleight of hand is when visiting a show house. The impression is that the rooms are a reasonable size but when studying how it is furnished is a give away. A nice lounge often only has a TV, a coffee table and a couple of chairs. Try putting in a 3 seater setee and you would not be able to open the doors. All very canny.
thewilliam2 Avatar
thewilliam2 6 1.6k United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 12:23PM
Have you noticed that the internal doors are often removed from a show house, or never fitted? And why a "double" bedroom will often have a four-foot bed rather than a king-size?

I've photographed such places for the developer and the brief has always been to make it seem as large as possible!
seahawk Avatar
seahawk 16 1.4k United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 12:42PM
Agree with all of the above. We just moved into new house last May. It was built for us to order by local builder who is a former pupil of mine! Many of the tradesmen who worked on the house (plumber, electrician etc) are also former pupils or siblings of former pupils and all of them are local businesses. I realise not everyone is lucky enough to be in our situation but it did help that I knew them all and could keep an eye on progress and quality; they all knew their reputations would suffer if they did a poor job and small local businesses cannot afford that.
The problem lies in the system in UK - here developers tend to build masses of houses and then try and sell them. I prefer the system in Germany where houses are built to order. That has the added advantage that the houses in a development do not all look the same.

My builder used to work for a national house-building firm and he quit in disgust saying modern mass-produced housing is built by accountants not builders. He inherited his father's family firm and is quite happy being small-scale and locally based and he takes a pride in what he does.
thewilliam2 Avatar
thewilliam2 6 1.6k United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 3:12PM
The larger house-builders are certainly profitable.

Which CEO was in line for a £100 Million bonus that was reduced to a mere £75 Million after there was a public outcry?
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 4:48PM
When I left school I started a job in the building industry. I was doing building construction, building materials, drawings etc at technical college part time. I was going over building sites of all types, older house renovations, stateley homes, extensions to modern schools, large contracts and estates of new houses, so I know a little bit about it.
Then I left. Later on (mid 70's) I went round a new, partly built housing estate with about 100 three & four bed dwellings and I was shocked at the standards of (tacky) workmanship. Especially the joinery.
Later still (about 2005) my stepdaughter rented a new flat. Wonky walls, bad plastering, door & window frames badly fitted. I looked down the line of a front wall inside and the wall was like an 'S' shape in plan, the thin skirting board only fitted where it touched.
In fact I went round a film set in about 1986 (Hope & Glory) and a temporary South London street had been built on Wisley airfield runway, only the front shells of 1930's middle class houses and although they were torn down afterwards the workmanship was much better than the estate I had seen ten years earlier!
jondf Avatar
jondf 17 2.8k
8 Feb 2019 9:42PM
Above comments (informative and well put) only serve to reinforce suspicions. The story below highlights the depths to which some will sink in the name of profit -
Weak Mortar
rhody Avatar
rhody 20 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 10:03PM
The "Weak Mortar" scandal will blight and devalue today's homes in the future just as asbestos did.
The homes tainted by weak mortar will be unmortgageable and will cost tens of thousands of pounds to correct.
By insisting Homeowners sign NDA's the NHBC are trying to keep a lid on a pressure cooker which will at some stage, explode.
chris.maddock Avatar
chris.maddock 22 3.7k United Kingdom
9 Feb 2019 7:02AM

Quote:Have you noticed that the internal doors are often removed from a show house, or never fitted? And why a "double" bedroom will often have a four-foot bed rather than a king-size?

Do developers still use reduced size furniture to make rooms appear larger? Not just a 4' bed instead of a king-size but actually reduced in length as well?

Quote:I've photographed such places for the developer and the brief has always been to make it seem as large as possible!

I advised a estate agent to rephotograph one bedroom in a house she showed me, since I wasn't going to buy it. The room was fairly long and narrow with the window in the middle of one of the shorter wall and the door in the middle of the other shorter wall. She'd stood in the doorway and photographed it from there so it looked much longer and narrower than it really was - more like a flippin bowling alley Wink
I suggested she squeeze right into one corner beside the door and use a wider lens, dunno if she did because the last house she showed me was the one in which I was really interested and I bought that.
jondf Avatar
jondf 17 2.8k
9 Feb 2019 10:54AM


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