Family complaints over problems at new flats

Profile image for Plymouth Herald

By Plymouth Herald | Saturday, November 03, 2012, 05:30

A FAMILY said they felt "ignored" by developer Linden Homes after months of complaining about problems in their new-build home.

Matt and Naomi Opie bought an apartment at Linden Homes' Devonport development, Evolve, and said they had experienced a range of issues from a lack of ventilation causing rust and damp in their bathroom to loose bolts on their balcony.

This comes just a month after The Herald reported how Zach Printer was left "sweltering" in the heat of his Phoenix Quay flat, also built by the developer.

Matt Opie said: "We have had loose bolts on our balcony, ventilation problems in the kitchen and bathroom and most worryingly there are no fire alarms in the block."

He said they'd had to replace their toilet seat because it had rusted so much from trapped steam in the bathroom.

And walls remained damp through the lack of ventilation. There is what appears to be a window but it is simply a sheet of glass which does not open.

"It gets so steamy in the bathroom you cannot see what you are doing which could be dangerous when our baby boy starts crawling," Matt said.

"We have complained for months and several different engineers have come round but they all say something different and nothing ever gets done," he added.

The loose bolts on the fourth floor balcony now appear to have been tightened but he added that there were problems with the security door into the block which didn't close properly, the garage door was permanently fixed open and he believed youngsters throughout Devonport knew the security code and played in the communal areas.

The couple bought the Devonport-based flat in December 2010 and say they are now nearing the end of the two-year-period Linden Homes offers as a guarantee for sorting out 'snagging' – problems that arise from new-builds.

Technical engineer Graham Hutton said: "Our total commitment to the Opie family at our Evolve development is a priority for Linden Homes. We are making every effort to have their snagging completed as soon as possible.

"With every new development there will be a number of snagging issues which need to be addressed after our construction team move off site. Linden Homes is working closely with Plymouth City Council and the NHBC to ensure all issues are rectified."

As reported in The Herald in September, Zach Printer, who owns a Linden Homes apartment at Phoenix Quay, had experienced temperatures reaching up to 33C – the average summer temperature of Jaisalmer in Rajastan, India.

This was with the windows open and the heating off, making life at the Millbay new-build home "unbearable".

Zach, whose son Alex lives in the Millbay development, said: "Since the story went out we have had a meeting with several specialists, including engineers, from Linden Homes and representatives from the National House-Builder's Council (NHBC). They all agreed it was far too warm in the flat."

He said Linden Homes had been told by the NHBC they should come up with a solution by November 9.

"The work they have so far done has not worked. I don't feel they know how to solve the problem," he added.

He said it seemed that pipes had not been insulated properly leading to excess heat escaping, but he added that many of the pipes were inaccessible as they were in the walls and ceiling.

"I don't feel it's habitable and have suggested they put my son Alex in another apartment," Zach added.

Graham Hutton, technical director at Linden Homes, said: "Regrettably, we have a small number of homes at the Phoenix Quay development in Plymouth that we recognise are consistently warmer than our customers would like."

He said this had been caused, in part, by modern building techniques and the "efficiency of the modern heating system".

He added: "However, we are currently in the middle of an on-going investigation using independent experts from the region to get to the root of the issue for the customers concerned, without causing disruption to other residents."



  • Profile image for fazer58

    "chipboard rabbit hutches became the norm for new builds"

    I remember seeing the new houses put up at Garfield Terrace a few years back,they look lovely but are basically Portacabins stacked up with fancy cladding added,don't seem built to last at all.

    By fazer58 at 17:06 on 04/11/12

  • Profile image for Annefreeman1

    Linden Homes - formerly Midas - are awful when it comes to new build properties. Homes are signed off in bulk for building regulations based on 1 property, rather than each one being inspected. We were left with plumbing in the kitchen that contravened building regulations - but neither our landlords (we're shared equity) or Linden Homes or PCC were interested, Linden because it would need most of the kitchen ripping out to redo it all, they said it wasn't cost effective!! We had leaking windows on the newbuild which took 18 months to repair. Then the repair work leaked!!!!!! so we waited another 6 months for the windows to be totally replaced. Failed appointments, cancelled appointments, shoddy workmanship - it's all typical of Linden Homes. Looking back we (my Mother and I) wish we'd been more assertive on the faults being corrected before we took partial ownership, but the landlords were so pushy and we needed a roof over our heads. Oh, and our roof wasn't correctly fastened down either!

    By Annefreeman1 at 21:17 on 03/11/12

  • Profile image for MissAnthrope

    It's all Thatcher's fault, her government 'relaxed' building regulations and chipboard rabbit hutches became the norm for new builds. No-one who knows how they are built would ever buy one. The question to ask yourself when thinking of buying a house is, do you want a new home or one that is well built?

    By MissAnthrope at 19:50 on 03/11/12

  • Profile image for MPstink1

    Big problems still after two years of new build!!!!!!! Glad I bought a 50 year old terrace house, never a flat.

    By MPstink1 at 15:56 on 03/11/12

  • Profile image for lweston

    Oh well -
    Its a new build,
    Any snagging appears to be in hand with specialist, and within accepted trade time limits and procedure.
    Annoying I suppose but not that important
    I am sure it will be sorted,
    Seems alot of hot air for nothing

    By lweston at 13:41 on 03/11/12

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