House buyer whose new build had 150 ‘faults’ now faces £35,000 bill for repairs

A new home buyer who faced a £ 35,000 repair bill just months after moving in has launched a campaign calling for stricter rights against developers.

John Gaskell bought his brand new home in Whittlesford, Cambridge for £ 500,000 less than two years ago – a property he was hoping to retire to.

However, for the past 18 months he has had recurring issues with his developer due to building failures, including insulation and drainage issues that cost him at least £ 35,000 to repair.

The Cambridgeshire house was built by Cambridge & County Developments (C & CD) and sold to Gaskells in 2019.

Before completion, John had the property checked for hooks and defects by an independent inspector – they identified around 110 problems.

“I was shocked by the 110 problems that were exposed,” he said.

Prior to completion, John had the property checked for hooks and defects by an independent inspector who found around 110 problems

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“However, the disruptive inspector said the deficiencies could be fixed relatively easily, which provided a certain level of comfort that I would soon have a house that was up to standard.”

The developer agreed that the workmanship was poor and agreed to fix things – which they initially did.

However, after moving to their new property, John claims that far more significant problems have arisen.

“After we parted ways with our money and lived on the property, it became increasingly clear that the workmanship was inherently poor and the errors we discovered initially were just the tip of the iceberg,” said John.

“Getting stuck” is the term used to identify minor problems that can be easily repaired

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He claims there were installation problems, broken kitchen faucets, and problems with the hot water system.

“The kitchen units were poorly equipped, the toilet seats were falling off, and it took four decorators three days to get things down to a basic standard,” said John.

“Things were so bad that my wife and I had to go on vacation over Christmas and New Years to get over the experience instead of partying in our new home with friends and family.”

After John addressed the issues with the developer, he agreed to pay damages.

“But even after they agreed to pay reasonable market-based compensation, I had to go to the Small Claims Court once to get them to pay an agreed amount, a second time to get that from my bank account to reclaim service fees withdrawn for municipal billing. ” They didn’t do any gardening, “he said.

Gaskell was told that his home did not meet Part M building codes for people with disabilities despite being approved by Building Controls

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John then hired a professional snagging company to check the property for further complications. In the report seen by The Mirror, 43 additional issues were identified.

Gaskell was told that despite being approved by Building Controls, his home did not meet Part M building codes for people with disabilities and had problems with insulation and heat penetration.

John and his partner also found that their underfloor heating was not working, while thermal imagery in one area showed that contractors hadn’t even installed the pipes.

“Unsuitable flooring was used and some cabling infrastructure and electrical components were not installed,” said John.

“At the developer’s request, I received offers from independent contractors about the cost of fixing some issues. They told me it would cost at least £ 35,000.”

John is now demanding these costs from the developer as well as compensation based on market value.

John and his partner found that their underfloor heating was not working, while thermal imagery in one area showed they hadn’t even installed the pipes

He has now received correspondence showing that his service fee has increased by 30%.

The buyer has since launched a CrowdJustice campaign calling for safer laws to protect new buyers.

“This is not about my experience,” he said.

“Developers know that the average buyer can’t afford to fight them because of the complications and costs,” said John.

“It is a shockingly bad situation when the law generally offers more protection to someone who buys a toaster or computer than they do when they invest their savings in a newly built house.

“It’s about defending the principle that all newly built homebuyers should expect flawless, safe homes that are built to a professional standard and comply with all regulations, owners and tenants alike.

He claims the kitchen units are poorly equipped, the toilet seats have fallen and it “took four decorators three days to bring things to a basic standard”.

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“When developers and home builders fail to deliver, they should fix things with minimal stress and delay.”

John’s Homebuyer Fightback Initiative was backed by Local MP Anthony Browne, consumer group HomeOwners Alliance, and former Tory MP Oliver Colvile, who led the 2016 all parties parliamentary inquiry into problems with the new construction sector.

HouseScan founder Harry Yates said that complaints about faulty new builds are “all too often”.

“During Mr. Gaskell’s inspection, a number of problems were identified that were not in accordance with building codes and were in line with the technical standards of the warranty providers,” he said.

“While we often deal with customers who have had good experiences, all too often we see developers and warranty providers failing to keep their promises and due diligence, and this certainly is the case when it comes to Mr. Gaskell’s house.

“Although the developer describes the issues as ‘largely cosmetic’, the estimated cost of fixing the outstanding defects on Gaskell’s property is estimated at £ 35,000 to £ 45,000. That figure rises to over £ 50,000 when resolved issues are factored in.”

In a statement, the CHS Group said the property met all legal requirements.

“Cambridge & County Developments acknowledges that when Gaskell purchases its new home in 2019, the property will not meet the high standards that C & CD expects,” a spokesman said.

“The property was inspected by the building supervisor on behalf of the local authority and complied with all building regulations. The quality problems identified were mainly decorative.

“In June 2019, Mr. Gaskell hired an independent inspector to draw up a list prior to moving into the property, and C & CD has endeavored to ensure that the 105 issues on that list were addressed either by the original contractors or by Mr. Gaskell himself become selected contractors for whom it has been reimbursed.

“Now, many months after the initial list was drawn up, Mr. Gaskell has made a list of problems and requested compensation.

“This list of issues has been forwarded to the Building Warranty Provider and C & CD will meet their requirements, if any. Having communicated directly with Mr. Gaskell during this period, C & CD now has the matter in his hands Lawyers laid. “

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