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 BRADLEYJustin 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 BRADLEYInside 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 BRADLEYThousands 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 BRADLEYLyn 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 BRADLEYJustin 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: ExpertEnergyThermal 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

This mid terraced house was bought at auction last year and the owners have completely renovated it, transforming it inside, and have now put it back on the market for sale for a guide price of £595,000.

If you like the idea of really being by the sea, you might like to view a new development based on the site of a former convent right opposite the beach and sea. Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit St Mary’s in Lowestoft where homes are for sale with Aldreds ranging from £160,000 to £400,000.I grew up by the sea just a bit further down the coast and I absolutely adore the sound of the waves crashing. There’s nothing like a bracing walk on the beach in the winter for clearing your head. And, there’s something really rewarding about braving the water and having a swim in the summer - even more rewarding is the hot chocolate afterwards to get the feeling back in your fingers and toes! So, I relished an invitation to see this new development of 20 homes which have been built by Cripps Developments on Rectory Road literally a pebble’s throw from the seafront and beach. Ten properties have already been sold leaving 10 available ranging from a one bedroom ground floor apartment to a three/five bedroom end terraced house.

Tom Amis of Savills’ Norwich-based new homes team reflects on the market.

Spire Solicitors LLP are pleased to announce they have been shortlisted for two national awards to celebrate their achievements after another successful year. The awards are a part of LawNet and follow on from the firm being crowned Law Firm of the Year in 2017/2018.

Natalie Briggs, conveyancing executive at Spire Solicitors LLP, takes a look at the stamp duty implications when purchasing a property with an annexe.

Are you renting out a room of your house? Tax expert Jon Hook, from Norwich Accountancy Services, discusses ‘rent a room relief.’

How are new homes being built to reflect our changing lifestyles? Edward Parker from Bennett Homes, discusses.

How will the rental sector be affected by the impact of last week’s budget? Mike White, from Martin & Co in Norwich discusses.

A family have told of their shock after developers on their housing estate left their car completely covered in mud and started working at 6.30am at weekends.

Some may fear the housing market is slowing but not in East Anglia where two of the biggest country estates have sold: Sutton Hall Estate for well in excess of its £31.5 million price tag and Lodge Farm, part of the Riddlesworth Estate, Gasthorpe, which sold for around £9.5 million.

The NR31 postcode area - covering locations like Yarmouth, Gorleston and Bradwell continues to be where the most homes sold in the whole of Norfolk and Suffolk over the past few months, according to a new report.

Plans have been submitted to build nearly 200 more homes in an ever expanding Norfolk village.

Residents have submitted more than 230 objections to a planning application to build 148 homes in Norfolk.

The former Start-rite shoe factory site in Norwich could finally be redeveloped more than a decade after it closed.

A charity that helps disadvantaged young people is selling one of its Edwardian properties in Norwich for £850,000.

Your home in the east of England could be worth on average 9.3 per cent more in 2023 - but this is not as much as areas in the north which could see values soar by over 21 per cent, a new report highlights today.

This Grade II listed house, which dates in part as far back as the early 1500s, is architecturally exceptional but it has been given a complete make-over by the current vendors who have improved it and dressed it with the most beautiful interiors. Property editor Caroline Culot enjoyed a visit to see Knapton Old Hall, for sale for £1.35 million.

Don’t abandon your conservatory this winter – warm it up, instead.

They spend their working day creating beautiful, sought-after spaces for their clients – but when it comes to their own homes, what are some of Norfolk’s interior designers’ favourite rooms?

Winter’s just around the corner so, to help keep you warm and cosy, we asked Oliver Murphy, retail operations manager at Gasway, to answer some home heating questions.

TV racing presenter and a former jockey, Emma Spencer is selling her palatial Newmarket home. EDP property editor Caroline Culot went to visit The Courtyard, Balaton Place, for sale for a guide price of £3.5 million.

The bid to revamp Norwich’s Anglia Square has been dealt a potential blow, after watchdog Historic England lodged a fresh objection and signalled it would take its battle to stop the scheme to the government.

A Grade II listed farmhouse needing complete renovation went under the hammer for £480,000 today at auction. Here are the full results.

A decision over the future of the site of the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News’s Prospect House is due to be made by city councillors next week.

What once was an office block on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich is now a plush apartment development brought to the city by Regency Residential and more than half way to being completely sold out. So what do these one, two and three bedroom homes at Grosvenor House, ranging in price from £154,375 to £284,950, have to offer?

We buy with our eyes and nothing sells a house more than evocative photographs. But when a house is completely empty, how do you sell that all important concept, a lifestyle? Nick Eley, a partner at Watsons, can help you.

Developers are preparing proposals to build 600 homes and a petrol station just off the main road through Bradwell.

It began as a pension project but 14 long years later, the renovation of Aylsham’s watermill is finally complete and the third and last property is up for sale. Property editor Caroline Culot went to take a look at Wagtail, for sale for a guide price of £625,000.

Hidden away in the heart of Wells-Next-The-Sea is the most beautiful Grade II listed Georgian former rectory. Its structure is divine and it has been renovated and dressed in a contemporary style. Property editor Caroline Culot had the privilege of visiting The Old Rectory, Church Street.

If you’re a fan of golf, this could be your dream home, a property for sale overlooking the course and right next to the clubhouse!

Buy this house which dates to 1580, the reign of Elizabeth I and full of original features like mullioned windows and exposed timbers.

A student accommodation block and disused car park could be demolished in Norwich city centre.

Recently returned to Norfolk from London, the newest member of Savills’ residential sales team, Polly Hughes, focuses on the powerful pull of life in and around Norwich.

Historic England has raised concern over proposals for 30 new homes next to the remains of a 15th century lodge in Drayton.

Fancy doing a self-build but got limited funds? You can do on a smaller scale, says Ron Beattie, of Beattie Passive.

What are all the ‘hidden’ costs developers have to pay when building new homes? Tony Abel, of Abel Homes, explains the expense of building homes which many people are unaware of.

Your home in Norfolk went up in value in August - with areas of Breckland going up by the most, and by the least in the west of the county, new figures show.

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

A late 16th century townhouse in the centre of Norwich is for sale for £425,000 where not one, but two famous heroines were born.

It’s no surprise that some areas of Norwich command higher house prices than others but where do you get the most for your money? Property editor Caroline Culot looks at what you can buy for £200,000, well under the cost of the average property, £271,257, in the city.

It once was the site of an old bungalow but now it’s a sensational new home with a price tag to match. Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit The Smithy, New Road, Blakeney.

Hundreds of homes could be built near Thorpe St Andrew as new plans emerge for land next to the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR).

A dream of building their own home along with up to 14 more houses got a step closer for Norfolk couple Kevin and Karen Keable when the first day of construction was marked by a ground-breaking ceremony.

A private outdoor swimming pool in Sprowston could be made available to the public.

As everyone will probably know, when the hammer falls at an auction, you have successfully bought what you bid for. It’s yours. If it’s a car or a piece of furniture, you have probably had a good look over it first, noticed any defects and taken these into account before bidding. But what if it’s a property? Ian Taylor, from Spire solicitors, discusses.

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.