How can we help you?

Case studies

< Back

New Homes Quality Code Parts 2 and 3: Quality and after sales service

Outcome: Complaint Upheld

Case date: 29th February 2024

The Issues

The new build complaint concerned the appearance of the property on completion, in particular, that the mortar bed joints to the brick work were too large in a band around the house.

The Circumstances

Shortly after moving into the property the customer noticed that the size of the mortar joints to the stone of the external walls of their property differed to those to a similar property across the road, and they raised concerns via a new build complaint with the developer about the quality of the workmanship and the structural stability of the property.

The developer returned to the property and replaced some stonework around the front door, but the customer remained dissatisfied.

Further work was then carried out to the front elevation by the developer but the customer continued to pursue their new build complaint about the side and rear elevations. The developer reviewed these areas and proposed further action to reduce the dimensions of the mortar joints. The developer also agreed to the customer’s request to appoint an independent company to inspect the property.

The independent surveyor concluded that the stonework was untidy but there was no risk to the structural integrity of the building.

The customer did not accept the report’s findings and appointed a second surveyor, who reported that there was a variation in the depth of the mortar beds, the mortar varied in colour and the recessed pointing was untidy. The second expert considered that the value of the property at resale could be affected by the quality of the work and that the total impact, including any costs if the customer had to move out for the work to be completed could be in the region of £25,000.

Prior to completing the decision, a member of the Ombudsman team met with both surveyors to discuss their findings in an effort to resolve the complaint through mediation.  Although the customer did not wish to pursue mediation, the experts agreed that, although there are defects in the elevations of the property, its structural integrity was not at issue. There were problems with the aesthetics, caused in part by poor workmanship. Both experts considered that the affected area might amount to 50% of the side and rear elevations.

The Ombudsman’s Decision

The Ombudsman concluded that there were defects in the property which the developer had also acknowledged as falling beneath their quality standards.  Although the customer had wished to appoint a third part contractor to undertake the remedial work, the Ombudsman considered that the appropriate remedy was for the developer to take the steps necessary to put these defects right, taking account of the conclusions of the two independent experts.

The developer also accepted that the customer had been frustrated by some delays and poor communication in their response to the customer’s concerns and had offered a compensatory payment of £1000.  The Ombudsman considered this to be an appropriate level of redress for the poor service levels experienced by the customer.  The developer was also asked to reimburse the customer for the cost of the second expert report, bringing the total level of compensation to £1540.

The Ombudsman noted that, as the defects were to be addressed, any future marketing of the property would not be affected by the poor workmanship.

< Back To Case studies

Read Next