Man Forces Housing Company To Completely Rebuild House With 'Hundreds Of Issues'
A man who discovered his brand new house had 'hundreds of issues' has managed to get the company that built it to tear down the exterior walls and rebuild it.
The five-bedroom home, built by Charles Church - an upmarket homebuilding company owned by Persimmon - was riddled with examples of 'poor workmanship', Higgs claims.
Speaking to Wales Online, the father of two said the home was reworked 'multiple times' but to no avail.
He claims he spotted visible plasterboard joints, cracks in the walls and ceilings, drainage issues in the front garden, damaged joists in the roof and external brickwork 'of a very poor standard aesthetically'.
So, after a survey was performed at the behest of Charles Church, they agreed they would replace all four external walls of the house and rebuild.
However, Charles Church then commissioned another inspection, this time conducted by the National House Building Council (NHBC).
The NHBC said there were definitely things wrong with the building, but stopped short of saying that a total rebuild was necessary.
Mr Higgs wasn't best pleased by that outcome, and vowed he'd fight the decision until he got the result he wanted.
He explained: "I kept on and would not back down on the agreement that was previously made, replace the walls and rebuild as per the codes of practice."
Then, in October of last year, Charles Church relented and agreed to rebuild the house as a 'gesture of goodwill' despite describing Higgs' request as 'unreasonable'.
Higgs added that it was difficult for him and his family to be living in temporary accommodation and facing the prospect of spending Christmas without a permanent home.
He said: "During the pandemic I had to move my young family out of our home.
"We were issued a six-week completion date, which was then pushed out to eight weeks, then we were notified that all works was complete on December 1 but in fact was nowhere near complete and Fox [storage and removal company] refused to move items back until December 5."
Upon moving back in, he claims the construction work led to damage to his property, including carpets, the alarm, and his fridge freezer.
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Persimmon paid out for that damage, but Higgs also claims his CCTV cameras showed workers for Fox Moving and Storage treating his property careless and removing person military items from their boxes.
Fox Moving and Storage said the worker has now been spoken to, and told his behaviour was 'careless' and 'not in keeping' with the company standards.
However, they deny breaching confidentiality and privacy. In a statement, they said: "There were no damages attributed to Fox and no insurance claim was made, confirming this position.
"In our view this confirms a careful and professional service was performed in the moving of hundreds of items of household furniture and effects in two separate phases."
They added: "Fragile items were not thrown down the stairs. The loft ladder was flimsy and therefore items were passed and sometimes dropped to the floor.
"The young porter could be accused of not being careful and there is a degree of poor manual handling.
"The young porter was interviewed and told his behaviour was careless and not in keeping with our high standards of customer care.
"A written apology was made directly to Mr Higgs."
A letter to Higgs from Persimmon's legal team reads: "I can confirm all minor snagging issues you have raised have been noted by the site team already and are in hand.
"The cracking you report appears to be entirely normal settlement and are to be attended to shortly.
"With regard dates for the expected completion of works, it is not unreasonable for those to be extended, on notice to you due to matters beyond our control.
"Communication with you remained open, you were always informed of the anticipated dates and the progress of works which were carried out on your insistence. You remained in alternative accommodation at our cost for the duration."
However, Higgs says it has now taken 18 months for his house to be an 'acceptable' standard.
He said: "My family has endured immense stress and upheaval over the past 18 months, no thanks to having to move home during the pandemic and be given two completion dates that were not honoured.
"Persimmon repeatedly remind us we are having 'gestures of goodwill' but these are all issues that should have been right in the first place."
A Charles Church East Wales spokesperson said: "We have been in constant dialogue with Mr Higgs to try to address his concerns. We have at all times endeavoured to ensure Mr Higgs was happy with his home.
"We therefore agreed with him that we would go beyond the specific actions identified by the independent assessment of the property to resolve the situation.
"We will continue to liaise with Mr Higgs through his solicitor and remain committed to ensuring all customers are pleased with their homes."
Featured Image Credit: Media Wales
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