NoMoreJerrybuilt is a not-for-profit organisation founded to unmask incompetence and unethical conduct in the construction industry. ‘Building Control’ means monitoring and inspection but such control does not apply to the handful of major developers who persuaded government to introduce ‘Self-Certification’ to save money and protect building works from ‘interference’. A classic win-win – the builder simply signs his own work off. We are dismayed by the widespread violation of building standards, exposed in recent reports of shoddy practice, from jerrybuilt housing in Chichester to Grenfell Tower in London to shoddy schools in Edinburgh.
Vast profits from shoddy houses
The Telegraph reports that home ownership among young people in England and Wales has halved in 20 years. Inadequate supply to meet the demand for new homes has resulted in average house prices across the UK being eight times the average annual wage, yet in England and Wales planning permission has been granted for 423,000 unbuilt homes. Homeless Charity Shelter says investors have muscled in and the homes have not been built because developers are sitting on their hands waiting for values to rise.
The quality of houses that are being built suggests to us that financiers have little interest in producing homes fit for people to live in. Critical building defects were found at 17 schools in Edinburgh and in her interim report ordered after the Grenfell Tower fire, Dame Judith Hackitt declared that the building regulations are “not fit for purpose” and open to abuse by those trying to save money. In Chichester 8 damning expert reports slated Linden’s new homes.
The Times Newspaper condemned Linden in 2017 for a failure of supervision and inspection, a lack of accountability and slow or no remediation in several Linden developments. Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansel raised the matter with then Housing Minister Gavin Barwell. At Linden’s Chichester development and also at Portsmouth multiple breaches of the Building Regs. have been recorded.
Linden Homes flouted the Building Regs. in Chichester and Portsmouth but although the Local Authority Building Control Inspectors wrote to Linden Homes Group MD threatening that the council could consider action under Dangerous Structures legislation and the letter listed fourteen critical defects, the officers failed to prosecute. The Government wrote to councils to warn them of their responsibility to prosecute retrospectively for dishonest returns so why have Linden not been prosecuted in the cases where their buildings have been demonstrated not to comply with building regulations?
The catalogue of faults in Chichester, identified repeatedly in independent professional reports, includes flooding of the underground car park, wrong electrical connections and incorrect metering, defective plumbing, defective steps to garage, defective drainage, incorrect lighting, defective roller shutter doors, sloping balconies, air brick flaws, lifted and bowed roof slates and windows ill-sized and out of square. Some windows show gaps up to 75mm between the frames and the brickwork and the window manufacturers who were invited by leaseholders to inspect, described other windows as “very unsafe”. Roofing, fixed to internal grade chipboard, recently plunged 40ft writing off a car parked beneath. Leaseholders face bills of £40,000.00 each to repair building defects that should be remedied by Linden. (Linden Homes “Jerry Builds”/Dirty Tricks page explains how Linden has avoided picking up the bill.)
Currently No Independent Monitoring of Standards on Major Developments
Regulation of buildings construction dates from 1667, following the Great Fire of London, but the first set of national building standards, The Building Regulations 1965, were introduced to counter a wave of post-war shoddy ‘jerrybuilt’ homes. The Building Regulations set minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building. Continually reviewed to meet the growing demand for better, safer and more accessible buildings, they are developed by the Government and approved by Parliament.
In order to ensure that the requirements of the Building Regulations are applied they need to be independently monitored. Few house buyers realise that currently there is no independent monitoring or inspection of building standards on major developments. A review of building regulations ordered after the Grenfell Tower fire found that the system is “not fit for purpose” and open to abuse by those trying to save money. We believe that house building in the UK is being polluted by developers exploiting gaps in the building control system to capitalise on the current housing crisis.
NoMoreJerrybuilt is campaigning to:
- Get the failure of building controls before Parliamentary Sub-Committees on Planning, Property and Housing to:
- End Big Developers exclusion from Local Authority building controls and
- Review New Build Guarantee provision, which should provide a safety net.
- Introduce a Private members bill to require independent inspections by Local Authorities on all new builds – paid for by the developer. Charges for inspections from developers’ profits would provide an additional income stream for hard pressed LA’s.
- Urge Local Authorities to prosecute developers who contravene the building regulations and make dishonest claims of compliance.
Jerry Built Definitions:
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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