In this week’s episode, let’s have a look at some more of our YouTube conversations.

YouTube Conversation 1

This first conversation is from a survey in Teesside on a Persimmon Homes site, the house levels were stepped, and the developer had just filled the higher ground level against the house with no tanking detail this is my conversation with the customer:

The Report:

Location 5 Left-Hand Elevation
Assigned To Groundworker
The ground level is high breaching the dpc with no visible tanking detail the ground level was about 600mm above the dpc which does not comply with building regulations.

Customer Comment:

Hi Ian,

Thankfully, your report seems to have shocked Persimmon into action! (I’ve seen more trades here today than I have since I moved in…).

Just a quick question please, if I may?

The groundworkers have been round but just pulled the gravel away from the wall – they seem to think this has remedied the situation?

There’s nothing holding the gravel away and as soon as the next-door neighbour walks on it, I think it will fall back to the way it was?

Should they not be installing some kind of damp proof?

When I asked the assistant site manager, he said it was double damp proofed (??) so they didn’t need to do anything else?

Just wondered what you think?

Lively Professional Services Reply:


That’s good news the trades have turned up, there should be some form of Damp Proof Course stopping any water penetration at the side of your house, the double DPC won’t make any difference given the heigh of the ground level next door. There should be a clear 150mm bellow the level of your dpc (see detail attached) or a barrier installed to prevent any possibility of damp penetration along the left-hand elevation.

Hope this makes sense.

Customer Comment:

Hello again,

I’ve attached photos of the “finished” works…

Site manager is coming round tomorrow with a tiler for inspection number 5 (give me strength!). I will pick it up with him then and show him your diagram.

Thanks for your help,

Lively Professional Services Reply:


I would ask the site manager what provision they have put in place to stop any damp penetration, reducing the level of the stone is not the answer. There needs to be a tanking detail along that elevation which goes below the ground floor slab by a minimum of 150 but should really go down to the foundation.

If they can retain the stone 150 mm below the damp proof course then that should be ok, raking it back along your neighbour’s path is not the answer.

Customer Comment:

Hi Ian,

Hope you are well.

I have not managed to make any progress with the above issue, mainly it would seem because no-one knows how to rectify it!! (?????).

Am I right in thinking this a fairly big job to rectify properly. Should I be expecting to see a micro-digger (or similar) digging up the path so they can insert the tanking against the wall, and/or then making sure that the level does not come less than 2 bricks high from the initial DPC?

Many thanks in advance,

Lively Professional Services Reply:


Yes, it is a fairly big job and will probably need a mini digger to do it. Don’t give up, keep on at your developer to rectify it.

Kind Regards


Customer Comment:

Hi Ian,

Apologies to bother you again regarding this issue.

The proposal that has been put forward this morning is to dig the gravel out and insert some sort of retainer? They are questioning whether tanking is necessary?!?

After looking at it in detail again this morning, the wall is already looking very wet/damp 🙁

Please can you give me an ‘idiots guide’ as to what needs to happen?

Thanks in advance,

Lively Professional Services Reply:


If they are looking at a retainer away from your wall that should be ok, the wall will be wet but should dry out nicely once they have reduced the ground level.

Hope this helps.

The fact is that the site agent or company insurance agent eg NHBC should be finding these faults before the handover, being a tradesman myself I am shocked at how the person doing the job would be happy leaving it like that. My point of view has always been the customer has paid at least ¼ of a million pound for this house it should be right!

Customer Comment:

I agree, there is a clear lack of pride in new build sites and it is not always the trade’s fault, greed, numbers and the fact that no one is checking the work leads to corners being cut. The whole system needs sorting out but it will never change as long as developers get away with producing such shoddy homes. I have come to the conclusion that the NHBC is a complete waste of time and they need disbanding.

I assume the site builders won’t let you inspect these houses prior to handover? I can imagine some of these issues that are found could be a nightmare to live with while they are getting resolved. Be much better to get any such issues resolved before moving in.

Lively Professional Services Reply:

Hi, the new homes quality board has put in place a pre-completion checklist where we can go in before legal completion and visually check the house, the emphasis is on visual because it restricts us to just looking and not using tools such as levels, thermal cameras to help protect the customer’s investment. The majority of these issues should have been picked up and rectified long before I arrived to inspect them.

What’s the point of that then, clearly something to hide!

Most times if issues are mentioned to management, it goes down as: Ahh they’ll stick it on a snagging list if they see it. A snagging list should be a few snags on a house not eight pages of A4 paper and that was both sides of each page or a full rebuild which i’ve near enough seen on one site and that wasn’t one house but multiple. As for vent covers, they’re crap at the best of times but i did laugh one day when a SM asked if i could help out getting a few houses ready, fine not an issue. Eight houses and the stores i checked to find and swipe vent covers from to sort the two houses that were on CML that day and not one so i ended up going to a site opposite hoping they had a few which they did. Anyway i went to see the SM and said you need to sort next door out with a few window vents and maybe an idea to order a few more, his reply was should i order five?…Nah mate ”sarcastically”, six would be better…Where the hell do they find these imbeciles and more to the point who are the complete imbeciles employing these imbeciles in site management.

What you are describing is common throughout the industry, that is why it is such a mess.

Other Comment:

The standard of work you keep showing us leads me to believe, 1. the same guys are working on all these houses, or, 2. there was a dodgy instructor in one of the colleges training the present generation how to do crappy work!!!

Other Comment:

The fact is the supposed trades just don’t give a shit as long as they’re paid.

Other Comment:

Unfortunately, this is the standard of most new houses you do get some that are very good and the attention to detail is spot on but they are not the norm.

Other Comment:

I got my house been waiting for 8 years when I got the house. It was proper cow boy builders, electric problems broken door crack on brick work above sitting room window worn out bath room tub .garden had water lock . the reason I didn’t complain they might not have given me the House .after paying them 6 years rent I finally managed to buy the house .what shocked me the person who came to value the house never looked at these plain English corruption every where.

Other Comment:

Look awful. I have to admit I bought a persimmon homes house 18 months ago and apart from a few small snags, it’s fine. The guys fixed the snags within a week too. I guess it depends on the builders and tradesman they get in particular areas. I’m very pleased with my house. Shame this looks so bad.

Other Comment:

Hi, that’s great news I am really pleased you have bought on a good site with a good site management team. It really does depend on the site management and trades on the development you buy on and not who is the developer.

The really sad thing is, you feel like in 10 or more years’ time when people like this guy retire, these snags will just become the accepted standard.

Lively Professional Services Reply:

I think we are already there; I hope my video helps house buyers who don’t use a professional snagger identify snags within their newly built houses.

Other Comment:

Ian. Nobody’s checked, because nobody gives a damn. The general standard now seems to be ” it’s near enough ” It’s very obvious that there are not enough Virgo’s in the housebuilding trade!

Other Comment:

Hi, I was hoping the New Homes Quality Board would start to make a difference, but there is no sign yet. Year-end completions are upon us and developers are back to their old ways rushing to finish houses and bullying customers into taking completion before Christmas.

I’ve spoken to the chair and MP there. The MP has stepped down. The chair has zero interest in existing defective homes. The new rules will make absolutely zero difference. Snaggers will have to use their predetermined list of items to look at to go into a house. You’ll also need to arrange inside of 2 weeks to get a snagger in before completion, but you won’t have any notification of this two weeks until it happens rendering it impossible. You’ll also still be legally obligated to compete so makes no difference. NHBC will still refuse to enforce standards / engage in mediation and Redrow know it’ll cost them less on the long run to just ignore the problems. What is needed is a legal enforcement of standards, prison sentences for intentionally ignoring dangerous defects that place people in harms way whilst also putting a hold on all planning permission until all existing defects are dealt with in full with compensation on top. It’s too easy for them to just sit on it and do nothing. They already have your money.

Looks like this has been the Site’s Mess Rooms. Sites sometimes use a house as their site office, canteen, toilet & shelter for all site workers instead of using temporary Portakabin types of buildings. Those stairs are a strong clue. Unfortunately, the Developer’s main priority, especially Volume Builders, is their share price not their Purchaser’s Welfare. A ‘Completion’ will be a Financial Completion adding to their Financial Target & ultimate Share Value. This is where the monies, the sale price, is now in their bank account. Alas, there’s now little incentive to achieve & provide a Satisfactory Finished Job. If a mortgage is involved the Mortgagor’s Surveyor may have performed a Final Survey authorising release of funds to the Builder & overlooked the disgraceful condition on the basis that these ‘Snags’ are not Structural Defects.The Mortgagor may have their own targets where this ‘completion’ has now added towards any target they may have too & any mortgage repayments will now add to their revenue stream. Morally the Developer is in Breach of Contract. Good Ethics = Good Business. Shame them into providing The Goods at a Satisfactory Level of Quality ! Anyone contemplating buying a New Home should be prepared for the high stress levels that, as this vid’ shows, can ensue. Generally there are No Bad Troops – only Bad Generals. Good Luck to the Purchaser – who’s also a Customer !

Lively Professional Services Reply:

Hi, unfortunately for this customer the house had not been used as temporary site accommodation it was in the ongoing build area which makes it worse. I agree with you morally the developer is in breach of contract, posting these videos is hopefully making a difference as I know some directors and site managers watch them from the conversations I have with some managers when I am on site.

youtube conversations

As you can see from some of the comments we get, there are a large number of new build house buyers who are having issues across the country.

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