In this week’s episode, we are going to be discussing some of the more common snags we see and how you can identify them.
A common fault in some new build houses and one we come across a lot are creaking floors, these can be a source of huge annoyance especially when you are sat downstairs and can follow movement by the creaks in the flooring above you.
The term used to describe this in the industry is micro-cracking, which describes a defect within the floor or ceiling construction causing the floor and plasterboard ceiling below to crack and creak. In some cases, this noise can be extreme.
There can be a number of reasons why you have creaking floorboards which can make it difficult to identify the root cause, these can include poorly installed joist hangers, insufficient glue used to glue the boards together and between the top of the joist and underside of the flooring, poorly connected partition walls, flooring sheets that have been installed wet, nails that are rubbing against the joist, these can all cause the floor to creak.
Rectifying creaking floors can also be disruptive and expensive for the homeowner and may even lead to them having to move out of their home until the issue is resolved.
So if you are experiencing creaking floorboards, you should let your developer know before you are out of your warranty period.
A full investigation should be carried out by your developer to identify what is the cause and the necessary remedial action they need to rectify it, if necessary, using a specialist subcontractor to carry out the work.
Shrinkage is normal in new build homes and is part of the drying out process and your new home settling, however, it is important to be able to differentiate between what is and what isn’t a snag.
Small hairline cracks, such as those you might see around your doorframes, are not designated snags. These are normal shrinkage cracks that can open as your newly built house is drying out, and your developer is not obliged to rectify them. However, large shrinkage cracks such as those you can comfortably fit a pound coin in are, and your developer should fix these.
The main area we see excessive shrinkage is usually up your stair’s strings and this or any other excessive shrinkage should be reported to your builder to rectify.
Knowing the difference between what is and is not a snag can be a minefield.
This is because most new homeowners don’t understand the tolerances their builder works to. Using a professional snagger who understands the tolerances and building regulations will help you identify any possible breaches in the standards.
Most minor imperfections are not normally classed as snags.
Snags to look out for
Outside your home
Check all external decorations are complete and to a consistent standard.
Fences and gates
Are all fences and gates complete? Look for missing screws in the gate metalwork and check your bolt work because sometimes the gate will drop a little.
Paths and drives
Are your paths and drives complete and clean with no staining or damaged flags?
Do your gutters and downpipes look securely fixed and complete? Are they leak-free when it rains
Are gullies and inspection chamber lids level with the ground and securely fixed, if you stand on top of them you should not be able to rock the lid or lift it
Do any tiles or slates loom damaged or lose?
Are all the lead flashings complete and sealed?
Have all builders’ materials and rubbish been removed? Have the garden areas been rotavated and stone picked? There should be no stones in the topsoil bigger than 25mm.
Inside your home
Is the plasterwork smooth and neatly finished around sockets, switches, and pipes?
Are plasterboard joints and nail fixings invisible?
Is the decoration throughout the home complete and to a consistently acceptable standard?
Are you happy that the timber floors don’t creak excessively?
Has sheet flooring been laid level and is it free of bubbling or unevenness beneath the covering that might cause premature failure?
Is floor tiling fully adhered (i.e. sounding hollow if tapped) and fully grouted?
Is wall tiling fully adhered (i.e. sounding hollow if tapped) and fully grouted?
Has a flexible sealant been provided at corners and junctions with shower trays, baths, basins and kitchen units?
Kitchens and bathrooms
Are all kitchen units and appliances clean and undamaged?
Are all the sanitary fittings clean and undamaged?
Is the water flow to taps, showers, and appliances satisfactory?
Are any leaks evident beneath sinks, sanitary ware, and appliances? Check waste pipes for leaks also.
Do all doors and drawers to kitchen units operate correctly?
Are extractor fans fitted and operating?
Windows and doors
Are keys supplied for all window and door locks?
Do all locks and handles work and operate freely?
Do all windows and doors open and shut properly and engage with the weather seals?
Do self-closing devices, where fitted, fully close the doors after opening?
Is all glazing crack-free? Are double-glazed units free of condensation between the panes?
Heating and electrical
Do all light fittings and socket outlets work?
Are radiators securely fixed and free of leaks?
Is exposed horizontal and vertical pipework adequately supported? Are the joints leak-free?
Is the loft space fully insulated?
Is boarding provided to give access to tanks etc.?
I am often asked by customers: what if my builder refuses to do my snags?
Buying a new build home can be stressful and understanding your rights will help ease the stress associated with the buying process and having your defects rectified by your builder.
Whilst some builders are good at resolving customers’ snags, others are not, leaving new homebuyers to fight for their rights to have them fixed.
There is a process to follow, and your builder should explain this to you during your move. Make sure you understand your rights and this process fully so that you can use it if things go wrong.
If you have any snags these should be reported to your builder immediately.
Our advice would always be to have your newly built home professionally snagged by a recognised snagging company.
Do your homework and do not be afraid to ask the snagging company questions about how they operate and how they can guarantee a complete inspection. Picking the right one can make a huge difference.
Be persistent if you feel you are being fobbed off by your Developer. Keep pushing for even the smallest problems to be fixed, because these can add up and become expensive to fix in future.
If things do go wrong and the relationship between yourself and the developer breaks down, then you might need to make a claim against your developer or warranty provider.
All new homes will have a warranty. These are usually ten-year warranties that cover you for the first two years by the builder and the following eight years for any structural issues.
It is important to read and fully understand your warranty, including the small print. This covers what is and is not included in your warranty agreement. It also gives advice on what you should do to ensure your warranty is valid.
If your builder fails to resolve any snags brought to their attention, you can ask to be referred to an independent dispute resolution service. Your warranty should highlight how you go about this process. It will also include which forms and evidence you will need to make a claim against your builder or warranty provider.
Our advice would always be to email and never ring your builder. By keeping all correspondence, you have with your builder electronically, you have an audit trail of information should you need it if you make a claim.
Check out some of the snags we have found on our YouTube channel.