Family complaints over problems at new flats
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.
A loose bolt and (below) open garage door at Evolve (bottom). Above right, The Herald report in September
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."