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24 September 2014
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Redrow investigation: a factsheet
A surveyor reveals loose tiles
A surveyor exposes loose tiles on a Redrow home

One of Britain's biggest developers has launched an investigation after the BBC discovered dangerous roofs on three North West estates. The estates were all built by Redrow.
If you've been affected, then read on to find out what to do next..

SEE ALSO
Manchester: gales gallery
Lancashire: gales gallery
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The BBC received complaints from homeowners on 26 Redrow estates. They'd all lost ridge tiles during January's high winds.

In some cases the tiles had damaged cars and conservatories. In the majority of cases, homeowners had been left with the repair bill.


One of your emails

The problem was blamed on the storms, but a chartered surveyor showed that workmanship as well as weather conditions played a part.

Redrow has launched what it calls a ''full scale investigation.'' In a statement, Redrow said it has found nothing wrong with the way in which the tiles have been fitted, but they promise to continue their investigations. The company has made a pledge to make safe any roofs found to be unsafe.

If this appears to be a problem on your estate, what should you do?

If only your home is affected by the high winds this will more than likely be be a matter for your home insurance policy. But if a significant proportion of houses on your estate are affected in the same way, or have been affected in this way in previous years, it MAY indicate a defect.

In that instance, these are some options open to you:

John Sharples
John Sharples, Chartered Surveyor, ACS

1. Contact the developer. Especially in years 1 - 2 of a new property. The developer has a duty in this period to repair all defects. Stress the extent of the problem on your estate. Make it clear your property's problem is not an isolated case.

2. Contact the NHBC (National Housebuilders' Certificate) The organisation provides a 10 year warranty to new homes. After year 3, they are responsible for defects in your new home. Again, stress the extent of the problem across the estate. If you're worried this is a health and safety hazard, make that clear. The NHBC has a minimum claim value which may exclude them from picking up the tab, approx £700. If the problem is a defect, you might want to ask them to make safe the whole roof rather than simply replace missing tiles. You don't want a problem stored for another year.

3. Contact your local authority. They have responsibility for your health and safety. Do tell your building regulations department if you suspect a hazard. They have enforcement powers. Salford, South Ribble and Vale Royal councils are all in touch with Redrow since our report - ask yours to do the same.

4. Consider your own further action. You may want to hire your own chartered surveyor to investigate roofs on your estate. Was the mortar quality correct? Did the company follow the manufacturers specifications when the roofs were built? If you're able to prove the problem is a defect, you may be able to force the developer or the NHBC to make safe your roof. Be warned, a chartered surveyor will cost, upwards of £200. Mortar samples may cost more. If you consider this, consider clubbing together to meet the cost across the estate.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have evidence that workmanship is at fault? If the answer is 'yes' contact your developer and ask them to make safe the whole roof. Redrow has pledged to make safe all roofs found to be unsafe.

  • Do you have evidence that workmanship is at fault AND can you prove you are out of pocket because of it? If the answer is 'yes' approach the developer, present them with evidence of the expense and ask for your money back. You'll need hard evidence of the lost expense ie excess paid on insurance claims; receipts for car repairs which tally up with an initial complaint made to the developer and or NHBC in the first instance.

  • Is it worth going to the small claims court? Again, you'll need hard fast evidence to prove both the defect and the expense.
    (More information on BBC Watchdog/ choosing a court)

Of course, there are no guarantees. Each case is different. You might not get the response you want or expect. But we're told the lifespan of a modern roof should be closer to 60 years than six. Lose ridge tiles are a serious hazard to health and home.

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