Building Nightmares: House of Horrors - Tonight

Mum of two, Nicola decided to have an extension at the back of her house to give her space to work as a hairdresser.

Nicola got in touch with a local builder who she knew through a friend of a friend and asked him to do the job.  She says she was told the works would cost £17,500 and be finished in 6 weeks. But all didn’t go to plan.

The relationship with the builder completely broke down -  and work stopped, leaving the half-built extension open to the elements for 10 months now.

I think I trusted someone probably when I shouldn’t have.  It’s just a nightmare from start to finish.

Nicola

The builder told Tonight that access problems to the site meant work took three times longer than expected and that he incurred extra costs. He says that when he asked for extra payment to finish the job, Nicola refused.

Luckily, Nicola may have found a solution to her half built extension, in local construction boss Graham Nash. Graham has started a one man campaign to help householders who feel they have been ripped off.

He says he will rebuild the extension - and he hopes to raise £50,000 to pay for materials for Nicola and other households with poor quality building work.

All the labour will be free. The amount of people that have responded  the local communities have said will help undertake this building work and other projects we’ve done as well has been phenomenal.

Graham Nash, Pinnacle Builders

Graham hopes to start the works on Nicolas extension in February next year. 

Trapped and unable to sell

There’s a crisis engulfing potentially hundreds of thousands of flat owners all over Britain, including the iconic former Olympic and Paralympic village in London.

The issue is that, following on from the Grenfell fire tragedy, the government introduced tougher building regulations and now  high rise blocks need rigorous testing to make sure they’re safe. 

One owner currently caught up in the middle of the issue is Sam Williams, who lives in his flat with his wife, Harriet.

 

Right now, it’s [the flat] valued at zero, and that is the reason why we can’t sell, and we can’t remortgage.

Sam

Until blocks of flats are given the all clear, banks won’t lend mortgages on the properties.

And if work needs to be done, flat owners may have to pay the cost, potentially amounting to tens of thousands of pounds.

I just don’t understand how that, how it can be fair that, in 2014 you buy a flat.  You believe it’s completely built to standards that are, you know, signed off by the Government and those in power, and you hear, in 2020, those regulations have now changed as a result of Grenfell.

Sam

The government says the surveys are not a legal requirement, were developed by the industry to assist mortgage valuations and should only be needed for low rise buildings in exceptional circumstances. 

It says £1.6 billion is available to remove unsafe cladding from the highest risk buildings and it's developing a financial solution to protect flat owners from unaffordable repair costs.

The industry says the buildings - not the surveys - are the problem, hundreds of blocks have been surveyed and it is working with the government to streamline the process whilst prioritising safety.

You can watch Building Nightmares: House of Horrors on ITV, Thursday 19th November at 7:30pm. 

Useful links:

Federation of Master Builders advice on how to avoid a cowboy builder

National Leasehold Campaign

Licence UK Construction 

Meg’s Campaign to License the Building Trade