Redrow home costing £475k plagued with problems so bad owner ‘can’t go upstairs’
A furious homeowner has condemned developers after she spent almost £500,000 on a new-build 'dream home' – only to find it is plagued with drainage and electrical faults.
Airline pilot Lucy Mitchell paid £475,000 for the four-bedroom house in 2016 – but has had to spend another £25,000 fixing the electrics, drainage, and bathroom tiles.
Lucy, 55, found issues all over the house, including no upstairs lights, broken thermostats throughout, and even wires on the boiler being "deliberately" cut, she claims.
The property in Badbury Park, Swindon, Wiltshire, is constantly damp, which Lucy claims, is down to a leaking tap at the front of the house.
Water allegedly leaks into her garage then pours down the drive, while cement blocks one of her toilets.
Poor roof insulation means Lucy cannot bear to go upstairs because it is so cold it feels like "having the windows open all the time".
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Lucy said: "I've had a lot of problems. I had cracks on the walls, the front porch was not finished, the water was running down the drive into the garage at the front.
"There was concrete poured down the toilets downstairs, clogging the drains. I knew there were problems with leaking, but I thought everything had been fixed.
"It wasn't until I moved in and tried to get the heating to work that I realised it didn't."
Lucy bought the house from house-builders Redrow for around £475,000 – but almost immediately had to spend around £2,000 to upgrade the electrics.
And she said that although Redrow sent workmen to fix the problems, things have only got worse.
"One of the plumbers, who was contracted, kept on coming for the same things – the heating and the water," she said.
"Every time he came out he found something else. He said 'your house has been sabotaged'. Wire has been cut from the heating system, so it didn't work."
And shortly after she moved in, Lucy noticed that her house was abnormally cold, especially upstairs.
She said: "My house is cold and drafty. It wasn't until it snowed that I went out to see that there was a problem.
"Everyone else had snow on their roof and I didn't. That's when the real problem with the insulation came through.
"I contacted a thermal imaging company and they did a full report."
Lucy said that the 25-page report set her back £580, and revealed that there was missing insulation in the property and bad caulking around the windows.
This meant the cold air was coming from outside in several places.
She said: "I don't go upstairs unless I have to. It is so cold. The winds blow straight into the house.
"I spend a lot of time downstairs and I tried to put plastic wrap over the air vents to sort of wrap them off, because it's pretty much like having the windows open all the time and not having insulation either."
Lucy, who lives alone in the house, was also quoted a further £780 by an insulations firm to fix the insulation problem in her roof.
She claims she spent £720 on solicitors' letters just in order to urge Redrow to cover the cost of the insulation bill – which they have now agreed to do.
But Lucy said: "I bought from Redrow because they are meant to be one of the better builders. My personal opinion now is that they are useless."
She added: "Redrow have agreed to fix the minimum set out by the National House Building Council (NHBC).
"But if I accept the fix from Redrow, it does not cover everything and I have to drop all other things on the thermal report that need to be fixed.
"The thermal imaging report says there is insulation missing on the top of the walls where it joins the roof," she said.
"The cold air flows down the gap in between the wall layers. They will not cover this.
"If I don't accept their terms, I sue them and go to court – but then I'm not able to claim my legal fees back.
"They only want to do a partial fix of the insulation in the roof," Lucy said.
Reka Horvath, Redrow Thames Valley's head of customer services, said: "We're aware of the concerns experienced by the customer and have been in direct contact to resolve any issues.
"All of our homes undergo rigorous inspection processes before completion and are signed off by the NHBC's building control team.
"We are committed to addressing any defects which may affect customer satisfaction, and ensure all homes are completed in line with the NHBC's requirements.
"We have confirmed with the homeowner and NHBC that we will instruct the remedial works suggested by the customer's preferred contractor, subject to their confirmation that the proposed works are in line with expectations."
The full listed of problems from when Lucy moved into her home are as follows:
– There were no lights upstairs.
– The fans in the utility room and bathroom were inoperable and had to be replaced.
– The boiler kept "tripping off", with wires deliberately cut. The thermostats upstairs and downstairs were broken, with no hot water and no heating on either floor.
– The radiators were not installed level, there was a leaking towel rail in the main bathroom, and cement poured down the cloakroom toilet.
– The master bathroom is always cold, Lucy says.
– The knob fell off in the master shower, and the shower head is not installed correctly, with water spraying all over the ceiling.
– The master bathroom door does not close, and the guest bathroom door does not open.
– The master wet room extractor fan leaks, leaving stains on the ceiling – and similarly, the family bathroom extractor vent leaks, also leaving stains on the ceiling.
– The master shower head was deliberately blocked with pieces of wood, and the master shower drain tap had cement in it, meaning it could not be cleaned and the bathroom flooded.
-The drains were blocked in the master bathroom, and the master shower filled with toilet waste, Lucy claims.
– In the guest bathroom, the hot and cold taps are installed backwards.
– The guest en-suite shower drain was not attached, with water pouring through the kitchen ceiling.
– There was a leak in the entrance hall ceiling, with the drywall needing to be replaced.
– Outside, the tap at the front of the house was leaking, and the tap at the rear of the house was not caulked.
– The front porch is still not finished, Lucy says – the post on the right is loose and not attached properly, due to the wrong bricks used.
– In the garage, water leaks from above the tank on the rear wall, with water seeping around tank and up through the foundation.
– Lucy says there is no power in the garage, with the power tripping off if the outlet is used.
– The outside drains were not sealed.
– Finally, the front downstairs bay window was cracked, and not correctly sealed, leaving a gap between the window and the brickwork on the outside.
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