This weekend we attended a property built by one of the largest (volume build) construction company's in the UK. One benefit of buying a property through a large company like this is that there should be no design flaws since it has been drawn up by a Technical team and had a proven track record through many hundred/thousand of houses built in the same way. This is not always the case however as demonstrated in this house we inspected.
It is a good example how our snagging surveyors have a critical eye for detail and we draw upon our years of experience to know when something isn't right. On arrival we knew this house design should have been reversed (or "handed" as it is known as): The position of Master Bedroom window left little room for a bed and offered a 3ft view out onto the neighbours rendered wall.
With such issues which is a clear design flaw, it is important to rectify because it may affect the future sale of the property.
We have attended a couple of houses this week which have breached fire safety.
These have both been built by small scale developers that have charged a premium for the privilege of having a 'bespoke' home.
It is a good example to demonstrate that sometimes a snagging inspection can raise serious safety concerns which have been missed by not only the developer but also their nominated building inspector that signed the house off.
An inspection carried out today in Birmingham highlighted the importance of carrying out a snagging survey and to opt for us to conduct a heat loss check...
In haste of the inspection of this property, the customers were told by the sales agent of their developer there was no need to pay for us to attend as it was a "waste of money".
Despite the internal finish being relatively good, the fundamentals were poor and ranged from missing cavity trays and weep holes, to draughts and poorly laid / missing insulation.
In short, the property was left vulnerable to damp from from driving rain ingress and the customers heating bills would have been astronomical.
On arrival an external thermal camera inspection identified extensive heat loss from the bay window. Thanks to the builder leaving gaps at the sides of the fascia, we were then able to use a borescope camera to identify there was no insulation. With the radiator directly underneath in bay, the heat was going straight up and out.
The inspection continued to identify massive draughts due to gaps under ledges, doors and around the eaves. There was also poor roof insulation, as shown in the below example snapshots:-
It goes to show that most developers concentrate on minor snagging issues and miss the more important issues that matter.
As part of our snagging inspection we check that sockets not only work but also abide by Part P of building regulations. Customers are often surprised when we raise electrical shortfalls based on the installation certificate they are issued with, but like anything else with new-build houses it is open to design shortfalls and human error. The following photographs are taken from snagging inspections carried out this week.
The above image is taken from the NHBC 2018 guidelines and relates to the areas of the UK exposed to wind driven rain. This is important to factor in when snagging new build houses to ensure adequate protection from penetrating moisture.
Brickwork is porous, meaning rainwater in abundance will penetrate through it into the cavity so it is important on exposed walls that the water is allowed to escape through weep holes. Often we find they are blocked or not there at all, as shown in a couple of screenshots from recent inspections below:
A snagging inspection carried over the weekend raised another issue with a flat roof balcony. After inspecting the roof and gutter system using our specialist aerial photography equipment, we were able to deduce the cause of damp being from a weak-point in the balcony membrane under the decking. This was the second instance of a flat roof balcony causing damp we have encountered this year. Luckily the developer of this new build property granted access 1 month in haste of the customer's completion; giving them ample time to rectify the intrusive work required before the customer moves in.
A snagging inspection carried out yesterday was one of the worst cases of brickwork workmanship we have come across. You'd be mistaken thinking the builder had not finished the house, whereas in fact this customer completed 1 month ago.
Shoddy brickwork like this ultimately will cost a lot of money to rectify if noticed too late and falls out of the builder's warranty. On another inspection carried out this week, the mix of mortar was so weak it crumbled away when lightly scraped... The builder is faced with re-pointing the entire house which will cost them in the region of £60k.
As has been mentioned on a previous blog post, the poor quality of brickwork can be linked back to when quality trades were knocked out of business following the recession of 2008. The demand and boom of new builds since has overtaken experience and quality of workmanship which is ultimately why we still find such issues on our inspections, and why it is not getting any better.
A Snaggers Blog
HomeSnag inspectors are experts at inspecting new-build houses. This blog shares real examples to demonstrate the importance of getting your new build house or apartment snagged professionally
"I always insist that there is specific provision for snagging," says Thomas Moran, partner at law firm Speechly Bircham. "Reputable developers do this anyway, but there are all sorts in the market, some big, some small, so you need a contractual promise than within, say, a year they will come back to remedy any minor defects in the finishing."
read full article here