Buyer Cara Waligura reported a nasty smell emanating from the bathroom of her new Persimmon home soon after she moved into her new home on the South Shore estate opposite Blyth beach. But Persimmon failed to resolve the drainage problem until recently – nine months after it was first reported!
She told “Mr Justice” of the Evening Chronicle how Persimmon’s contractors left a “gaping hole” in the bathroom whilst trying to identify the source of the stench. She said: “Our new home stinks and so does Persimmon!”
“Since moving into our newly-built home in January we have had to endure a horrible drainage smell in the bathroom. We are now nine months into complaining but we are getting no joy. After many calls and tears we still have a hole in the bathroom wall and an awful stink in all of the upstairs.”
Apparently even the NHBC issued three warnings to Persimmon to carry out work that is required under their Buildmark warranty.
John Eynon, deputy managing director for Persimmon Homes North East, told the Evening Chronicle: “This issue has been on-going for some time but time-scales have been agreed for it to be resolved. I would stress that the design complied with building regulations and NHBC technical guidance at the time of occupation and was accepted by the NHBC. Subsequent investigations and works to try and remove the smell have been ongoing and the final solution was agreed with the NHBC to vent the soil pipe to the atmosphere, in lieu of the durgo valve that had been fitted. Unfortunately, there was a delay in completing the works due to organising suitable sub-contractors to minimise disruption. We apologise that the problem was not quickly identifiable but the solution should resolve the matter now. I have personally made several attempts to contact the customer whilst my customer care team have been dealing with the issue.”
Cara later confirmed that workers from Persimmon have finally turned up and completed the work although she is still waiting for them to redecorate and supply and fit the shower they agreed as a form of compensation.
Quite frankly this is not good enough. Mr Eynon’s confirmation of design compliance with regulations was not the issue. It was a defective or ineffective Durgo that was the cause – something that would (and should) have been picked up during the mandatory air testing of the foul drainage pipework. In any event, the air admittance valve aka Durgo, should have been the first thing Persimmon examined and it would have been a simple matter to replace this in the loft space. As for the delay being caused by “organising suitable contractors” surely these were already working on the site?
Another Persimmon buyer told the Evening Chroncile how is car was damaged after it was grounded on the drive of his newly-built home in Birtley. He said: “The car sustained damage to the suspension and the sills. The site manager had to help me get the car off the drive. I am still waiting for Persimmon to pay the £1,800 damage several weeks after the damage occurred. I passed the complaint to John Eynon who assured me a cheque would be put in the post.”
John Eynon stated: “The drive is constructed to NHBC standards and passed by them for building control purposes. The issue related to finishing the top surface, which does not go down immediately, and as such it did cause a problem for this particular vehicle. However, we carried out some works immediately to ensure it does not happen again. This issue needed to go through the insurance company and I understand they have spoken to the customers to advise them the cheque is on the way.”
Again compliance with NHBC standards and/or Building Control is of no consequence. The drive was not “fit for purpose” causing damage to the buyer’s car. Furthermore, non-payment for repairs to the car because Persimmon wanted to claim it on their insurance is not a valid reason for the delay. Persimmon is a large enough company to have paid the repair costs themselves in a matter of days. Whether or not Persimmon Homes later decide to make a claim on their insurance is up to them.