A number of £300k Banbury estate homes undergo emergency reconstruction after foundations fail
The houses, on Crouch Hill Road, built by Taylor Wimpey, are being fixed by the National House Building Council under a warranty scheme. Taylor Wimpey who describe the problem as being among a 'small number or properties'. They say the issue has been caused by the roots of trees.
Residents of the original, 1930s Crouch Hill Road houses - who opposed building on the untouched ground which they described as 'boggy' - say they are cross that planners did not protect them from developer 'greed' and resulting chaos.
The development of 27 homes was originally turned down by Cherwell planning officials as over-development of the site. However this was before a Local Plan had been adopted and Taylor Wimpey was given consent on the second time of applying.
One resident of the original settlement said: "A huge lorry arrived - very brave of the driver as it is such a narrow road - and delivered two shipping containers converted into site offices."
She said workmen had been seen ripping fixtures and fittings out of the houses, which had been emptied of their occupants.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “We are sorry that a small number of properties in Crouch Hill have experienced problems with the foundations of their homes and sincerely apologise for any distress and disruption this has caused to residents. These problems relate to damage caused by existing tree roots.
“We have been working closely with the National Housebuilding-Council (NHBC), who are currently carrying out a programme of remedial work to the affected homes under their Buildmark warranty. We will continue to provide support where we can.”
An NHBC spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we have been contacted by homeowners at the Crouch Hill Road development and are dealing with claims under the cover provided by their NHBC policy.”
Housebuilding has to be inspected and signed off by building control officers are various stages of construction to ensure each element is sound before building continues. This can be done by the district council's building control team or it can be done privately, which happened in this case. The inspections were done and signed off by the NHBC. But they say the ultimate responsibility for quality control lies with the builder.
The NHBC spokesperson said: “As an Approved Inspector in England and Wales, NHBC Building Control Services Limited carries out plan assessments and periodic inspections at key stages of a development’s construction in order to assess, as far as is practicable, that homes conform to the Building Regulations in force at the time of construction.
"The building control function, whether it is provided by NHBC Building Control Services Limited, a Local Authority or another Approved Inspector, is not a replacement for the builder’s own quality control checks and obligations to build in accordance with Building Regulations. The primary responsibility for achieving compliance with the Building Regulations rests with the builder."
Under the NHBC’s Buildmark warranty and insurance policy, for the first two years the builder is responsible for putting right any defects which do not comply with the NHBC's Technical Standards.
"In most cases the builder and homeowner will resolve the issue and we will not be informed. If there is a dispute between a homeowner and the builder about work to be done, then the homeowner may use our free Resolution Service," said the spokesman.
"During years three to ten, NHBC provides direct insurance cover for damage caused by defects in specific areas of the home. More information on Buildmark can be found at: www.nhbc.co.uk/homeowners."
The Banbury Guardian has asked Taylor Wimpey how many houses are affected, whether occupants have been moved out and how long the remedial work will take.