Using professional snagging services as soon as possible after legal completion is not only important in giving you peace of mind but also identifies issues under your warranty agreement. Your builder is liable and obliged to rectify such issues during the first two years after moving in, saving you expensive remedial costs later. 

As an example, I was asked to inspect a property that was 5 years old due to the customer having serious water penetration issues into the lounge from the gable wall of a timber-framed house.

During my professional snagging inspection several other issues were identified such as cavity trays above the garage which had been incorrectly installed (NHBC Standards 6.1.17) and the gable brickwork on both elevations were considerably out of tolerance (over 50mm) which did not comply with the NHBC standards (9.1.2).

Is the NHBC Buildmark cover worth it?

This is the response from the NHBC in relation to the above:

Good afternoon, Ms Smith,

Hope you are well and thank you for the email you have sent.

I have read through the different documents you have sent. I think it is prudent to explain the NHBC Buildmark cover for Section 3 of the cover, which your home is currently under. For a claim to be considered valid against Section 3 of Buildmark, there has to be three criteria met;

There has to be physical damage to your home. 

The damage has to be as a result of a defect within a part of the home covered by the Buildmark policy.

The cost of repairing the issue has to exceed the Minimum Claim Value applicable for the property, at the time the claim was made.

The criteria have to be met in the above order, so the presence of a defect would not be covered by the policy, unless it was causing damage to the home.

From the information you have sent from your builder, their quote to resolve the issue, where the damage occurred to the ground floor living room, is less than the Minimum Claim Value of £1,750. The report issued by NHBC also confirmed that the repairs would not exceed the MCV and therefore the decision regarding the claim for water ingress to the living room would not change based on this information.

Having read their report they have advised that the “wooden soul plate is exposed to the sub-floor allowing damp conditions to penetrate causing rot” from the photos they have provided with the report there is no evidence of any rot to the sole plate of the timber frame construction. The issue they identify of moss build up on the brickwork and spalling bricks would not be considered damage, as defined by NHBCs Buildmark Policy and there is a specific exclusion for spalling brickwork from the NHBC cover, respectively. NHBC would therefore not consider this issue further.

Moving on to the report from Lively Professional Services Ltd, I will reference the different issues highlighted within the report, individually, below.

Damp internally – this is the same area that NHBC investigated and advised that works are needed to resolve this, but these works would be below MCV and the claim is considered not valid. You have since had works done (by your builder), for which you have provided a quote which is less than MCV and therefore the claim still would not be considered valid. Since NHBC attended there has been significant rainfall within the local area and the damage internally appears to have remained the same. Therefore, it would be considered that the repairs carried out have been successful and the internal finishes require making good and monitoring.

Stepped cavity tray between left hand gable and garage roof too high – looking at the photos the cavity tray does appear to be higher than the stepped flashing detail. This would be considered a defect however, as explained above the first criteria NHBC look for, for a claim to be considered under Buildmark is “Damage”, if there is no damage to the home then the claim would not be considered valid. There is no reported damage as a result of the cavity being installed too high so NHBC would not consider this issue further.

roof

Brickwork being out of tolerance – the tolerance of brickwork would not be considered damage, as defined by the NHBC Buildmark Policy and no further action required regarding this.

roof tiles

NHBC Standards 9.1.2 External Walls states:

  • a maximum of 8mm from plumb in any storey up to 3m. Taller walls should be a maximum of 8mm from plumb per storey and 12mm in total

ACO Drainage Channel not connected – NHBC only provide coverage for below ground drainage, for which you are responsible. This is concealed below ground drainage (i.e. foul and surface water drainage systems). Above ground drainage and exposed drainage channels (such as ACO drainage channels) do not form part of the policy coverage.

Dry verge unit not mechanically fixed – there is no damage to the roof covering or dry verge system and therefore there would be no coverage for this, as advised above.

Flashing detail sealant has degraded – again this would not be considered damage to the property, as the flashing detail and cavity tray are in position to prevent water penetration to the home and there is no reported water ingress from the area.

With regards to the issues highlighted above that are not considered damage under the policy or allowing damage to be caused to the property. As detailed within the report, there is a potential for these items to cause damage to your home, but as they are not they would not be considered under the policy. Furthermore, NHBC would not accept liability for any future claims which arise from issues not being mitigated from causing damage to the home, as you have a duty, as a homeowner, to maintain your property.

What does this response mean?

The response from the NHBC is incredible. They do not want to investigate or rectify the issues which clearly do not comply with their own standards.

The stress of this will leave the customer with either a lengthy legal battle with the NHBC or they would have to bear the cost of repairing it themselves at considerable expense. If only they had used a professional snagging service after legal completion and within the first two years of occupation, the brickwork issues would most likely have been resolved by the builder or NHBC. However, NHBC is not interested as the claim falls below their minimum claim value.

If you wish to avoid experiencing an issue like this, talk to us and we can organise a professional snagging survey of your home.