Logo

Families have to move out of new Costessey homes TWICE as street hit by building problems

PUBLISHED: 08:03 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:15 17 May 2018

Justin and Tracy Revell, left, outside their home, with neighbours, Lyn Whiteman and Rob Grant, who have all had to move out of their new homes in Peter Pulling Drive Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Justin and Tracy Revell, left, outside their home, with neighbours, Lyn Whiteman and Rob Grant, who have all had to move out of their new homes in Peter Pulling Drive Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Families will have to move out of their dream new-build homes for a second time in a year after problems were uncovered with a street of houses.

Justin and Tracy Revell with their car advertising the problems they have had with Taylor Wimpey Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Justin and Tracy Revell with their car advertising the problems they have had with Taylor Wimpey Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The four and five-bedroom homes at Queen’s Hills in Costessey, costing £300,000 each, lack insulation and breach fire and building regulations as well as National House Building Council (NHBC) guidelines.

Despite assurances from developer Taylor Wimpey that the problems on Peter Pulling Drive would be fixed, they have not been.

It is the latest in a string of problems uncovered with new-build homes.

Last year a survey by YouGov for housing charity Shelter found 51pc of new build homeowners experienced serious problems.

Inside the wall space in Justin and Tracy Revell's new build home where the insulation is lacking Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Inside the wall space in Justin and Tracy Revell's new build home where the insulation is lacking Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But that does not appear to be affecting house builders’ fortunes. On Monday, Taylor Wimpey said it would increase its dividend to shareholders by £100m a year.

Families had to move out of nine homes on Peter Pulling Drive last year and two of those households will have to move out for a second time for three weeks.

Meanwhile, another eight home owners may also have to move out.

One of the owners, Justin Revell, found 300 problems in his home, after moving in with wife Tracy in October 2016.

Thousands of new homes are going to be built in Norwich and its surrounding areas over the coming years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Thousands of new homes are going to be built in Norwich and its surrounding areas over the coming years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Major problems included:

Insufficient insulation in walls, roof and floor, meaning the third floor will need to be removed;

All doors needed replacing;

Windows missing trims and badly fitted;

Lyn Whiteman and Rob Grant's house has a poor insulation and has failed building regulations Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Lyn Whiteman and Rob Grant's house has a poor insulation and has failed building regulations Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Staircase failed building regulations.

Taylor Wimpey said it regularly checked the Costessey homes as they were being built.

Yet those checks do not appear to have picked up on the numerous faults in these houses.

It said it was committed to putting the faults right.

Justin and Tracy Revell's car advertising the problems they have had with their new build home Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Justin and Tracy Revell's car advertising the problems they have had with their new build home Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Revell, an IT worker, expected the issues to be sorted last August when they were moved out for three weeks so Taylor Wimpey could make repairs.

But a surveyor in February 2018 confirmed the Revells’ suspicions that the insulation was still not properly installed.

Mr Revell, 41, said Taylor Wimpey had blamed the contractors who built the home.

In protest, the Revells put stickers on their car criticising Taylor Wimpey.

Thermal imaging survey at Justin and Tracy Revell's home showing heat escaping through the walls (in the blue areas) Image: ExpertEnergy Thermal imaging survey at Justin and Tracy Revell's home showing heat escaping through the walls (in the blue areas) Image: ExpertEnergy

Mrs Revell, 38, who works in the motor trade, said: “It was going to be our lovely, first proper home we bought together.

“Everything on the surface looks like a really lovely house but then it’s all the hidden bits you can’t see until you start looking into it. You feel like your life has been put on stop.”

Three doors down at number 50, Lyn Whiteman and her partner Rob Grant are also moving out of their new-build for the second time later this summer with three teenage children.

A survey on their home completed in February 2018, after Taylor Wimpey told them the problems had been fixed, showed the cavity insulation was still inadequate, the ceiling needed to come out and their staircase needed replacing as it did not meet fire safety standards.

Mrs Whiteman, 46, who works in credit control, said: “The biggest bugbear is the insulation in the roof should have been done when we moved out last year.

“Having to move out once is bad enough, but now we’re having to go through this process again, when in the meantime the oldest girl is doing her A-levels.”

“We have sent hundred of emails, phone calls and taken 
time off work,” Mrs Whiteman added. “If we had not been persistent we would have not got anywhere.”

Thermal imaging surveys also showed extensive heat loss at both the homes.

“We both bought new builds to make it easy,” Mrs Whiteman said. “But we have lost all confidence in Taylor Wimpey. It is soul destroying.”

Partner Mr Grant, 46, said: “We expected the usual snags of a house, but by September it will be two years and it feels like we have yet to move in.

“We are waiting for the house to be what we thought it would be when we moved in.

“Everyone on our side of the road has had to move out. Other people are a lot further behind us in getting a resolution.”

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “We would like to sincerely apologise for the problems and disruption they have experienced.

“We have acted to put things right and are working hard to fix any outstanding issues.

“We strive to provide all of our customers with the highest quality homes, but on some occasions we don’t get it right.”

•New-build problems

Developers trying to get houses up too quickly is at the root of many of the problems uncovered in new homes, according to one expert.

Adrian Cooper, who has worked in the construction industry for 43 years, set up a firm to carry out ‘snagging’ inspections at new-builds after finding lots of unhappy customers in Norfolk.

Mr Cooper, from Norfolk New Build Inspections, said: “So many houses are being built in Norfolk where the homeowners are getting a raw deal.

“The developers shouldn’t get away with it and have to come back and put these things right, but the homeowners don’t really know what they are looking for.

“These house builders are under extreme pressure to build the houses quickly enough so the customer can move in, but in doing so they are letting themselves down.”

Last year Bovis Homes paid £7m to repair poorly-built new homes.

•What rights do buyers have?

New-build homes normally come with a developer’s warranty for two years to repair fixtures and fittings and a 10-year warranty for the building.

That covers the roofs, chimney, foundations, ceilings, stairs, walls and cladding.

It is often done by warranty and insurance provider, the National House Building Council (NHBC).

Buyers should also be given the results of a snagging survey before moving in.

If your builder is not putting things right, or you’ve been unable to contact them, the NHBC offers a free resolution service.

The NHBC says it will step in if a buyer makes a claim against a developer and the developer fails to carry out the work.

An NHBC spokesman said: “Some of the homeowners at the (Queen’s Hills) development have been in contact with us as and we have explained the cover provided by the Buildmark warranty and outlined how our Resolution Service may assist them.”

The Home Owners Alliance says buyers should also make sure there is a “snagging” provision in their contract to get problems sorted.

But it warns the NHBC is an insurer and buyers will not necessarily be covered.

•Queen’s Hills: History of issues

Those living on Peter Pulling Drive are not the first to have problems with their new builds at Queen’s Hills.

Developer Bovis apologised to customers at the estate last year after some homeowners were moved in too early to unfinished houses.

In 2012 this newspaper also reported on a couple whose Taylor Wimpey home at Woodpecker Court was riddled with mould for four years.

The estate itself was beset with problems after the lead developer at the site went into administration in 2009.

It meant there were long delays to building a community centre and play areas, but these have now been completed.

The estate has also been in the headlines for traffic problems. It only has one road in and out, meaning there have been long delays when there have been accidents.

Roads also remained unfinished on the estate, meaning Norfolk County Council would not adopt them.

•Update: Taylor Wimpey initially told us only six households had to move out on Peter Pulling Drive. They later corrected this to nine households, while a further eight may also need to move out.

•Follow our investigations unit on Facebook here

Related articles

Latest Property Articles

It really will be a ‘millionaires’ row’ as not one but SEVEN ultra modern, luxury homes are now for sale in fields five miles from Norwich, each with a price-tag of £1.53 million.

A council’s decision on a large development near Norwich hangs on the matter of whether a new school will be built along side it.

The average price of a flat in the UK has risen by £75,074 over the last five years, equivalent to £1,251 per month, according to new research.

This idyllic late Georgian residence overlooking the sea, for sale for £895,000, is believed to have been the Bishop of Norwich’s country retreat as well as an army base during the war.

An inspector has ordered a public hearing to help them determine whether city councillors were right to prevent a Norwich church from being turned into flats.

See inside one of the most expensive homes for sale in Norfolk. Property editor Caroline Culot reports on Field House in Brancaster, for sale for £2.4 million with Bedfords.

Is this the prettiest thatched house in Norfolk? Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit Nether House, Strumpshaw Road, Brundall, for sale for £800,000 with Pymm & Co.

Thousands of new homes are going to be built in Norwich and its surrounding areas over the coming years.

A £70m bid, which council leaders say would kick-start the building of more than 13,500 new homes to the north of Norwich, is entering a crucial period.

The 25-storey tower in the revamp of Anglia Square would have a “severe negative impact” on the character of all of Norwich, according to the organisation which protects the nation’s heritage.

It’s one of the cheapest homes money can buy in Norfolk - yet this little brick house has been for sale for SEVEN years - even though it’s only £20,000.

Families will have to move out of their dream new-build homes for a second time in a year after problems were uncovered with a street of houses.

How affordable are houses where you live? New data published yesterday shows in Norfolk, you need to pay on average eight times your annual income to buy a roof over your head as price rises soar way above wage increases.

Today is the last day to have your say on redevelopment plans for Norwich’s Anglia Square.

A total of 2,478 home buyers in Norfolk have so far used the Help to Buy scheme including 1,900 first time buyers. Alison Page, of David Wilson Homes, discusses the options.

What exactly does your conveyancer do? Sally Yaxley, from Spire solicitors, discusses.

Nearly 90 homes are currently on the market in Norfolk for £1 million or more as research shows sales on properties with this price tag have reached a record high.

Apartments in the city where you can’t hear your neighbours, where your air has been filtered, and which are 10 per cent bigger than the average. Oh, and also painted in Farrow & Ball. Sounds like London? No, Conisford Court in Norwich has just launched for the buyer who ‘likes the best of everything’ - but priced from £170,000. Property editor Caroline Culot went to take a look.

A war-time hangar which was transformed into Norwich’s International Aviation Academy has won an award for its ‘outstanding’ design

We’ve mapped the latest price paid data from the Land Registry Office to give a snapshot of the Norfolk property market.

Fancy living with Blickling Hall as your neighbour? How about buying this idyllic country cottage being sold on a National Trust lease for £550,000?

It’s hard to think anyone could see a future for this rather unattractive, purpose-built grain store. But one developer with a great imagination worked his magic to transform it into a stunning home.

Traders fear that Anglia Square’s redevelopment will never happen if existing proposals are turned down.

More than 200 comments have been lodged over controversial proposals to revamp Norwich’s Anglia Square, with the clock ticking on the final deadline for views to be submitted.

Struggling to get on the property ladder? Have you considered shared equity? Edward Parker, from Bennett Homes, discusses.

Norfolk estate agents, Aidan Branch from Durrants and Nick Taylor, give their advice on what to do if your agent suddenly goes bust.

The former historic home of the late Ron Fiske has come on the market for a guide price of £1.85 million.

Revived proposals to build student flats on a Norwich car park have sparked more than 50 objections.

Mike White of Martin & Co discusses whether private landlords should come together in a bid to avoid relinquishing their properties

A house has come up for sale with adjoins the historic Market Cross in New Buckenham.

Are you looking for a property project? If so, this handsome period house standing behind a high wall in just over 1.1 acres could be the ideal renovation for you.

The Victorians could never have imagined a terraced house could look like this...property editor Caroline Culot went to see 115, College Road, Norwich which has been cleverly transformed into a stylish pied a terre with its own loft style pad overlooking the Golden Triangle roof tops.

It looks good enough to eat - a fairytale cottage designed to look like crumbly biscuit cake with icing on the top!

Do you need to sell a house quickly but still want to achieve the best price? Nick Eley, partner at Watsons estate agents, discusses the new service of online auction.

Moving to a new home does not need to be stressful, says Alison Page, of David Wilson Homes.

People’s views are wanted on proposals for more than 500 new homes at White House Farm in Sprowston.

The deadline for people to have their say on the proposals to revamp Norwich’s Anglia Square has been extended - because computer problems meant people were not able to contribute their views.

Langford Estates officially opens today in a new office on Colman Road in the city - expanding not only into bigger premises but offering property sales as well as rentals. But why the move? Property editor Caroline Culot went along to find out.

More than 40 new homes, specifically for older people, could be built on the outskirts of Norwich as part of a retirement village.

House prices in Norwich have risen by 1.7pc in February according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

What do you need to consider legally when buying a new home? Susan Ward, from Spire solicitors, discusses.

I like being busy, so I’m pleased to report I am working harder than ever at the moment. Almost all my activity is helping clients fix their mortgage rates, so remortgages rather than home movers, says Keith Hood, from Warners Financial Services.

Part of the discussion your estate agent should be having with you when appraising your property for sale will be the best method of sale, says Nick Eley, from Watsons.

Senior clergy at Norwich Cathedral have spoken out against a major city revamp - warning it could create a “zone of bland, cloned buildings”.

What do buyers want when buying a new house? Apparently minimum maintenance, off street parking and location are the top three items on a buyer’s wishlist, according to new research from Savills.

Meet the Editor

Caroline Culot

Email
Twitter

I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.