Taylor Wimpey BBC Watchdog 26 September 2012

Taylor Wimpey  Britain’s second largest house builder by volume, were featured on BBC Watchdog on 26 September 2012 highlighting "unfinished estates, shoddy workmanship and crumbling houses."

Communal areas left unfinished on estate

Taylor Wimpey obtained planning for 100 new homes on their Battledown Park development in Cheltenham. This included communal landscaped areas and two children’s playgrounds. Many of the landscaped areas had still not been completed and the two children’s playgrounds had never been opened and were shown boarded up. The local council were refusing to adopt and maintain these areas until Taylor Wimpey "improves and maintains them" following completion to the required standards

New home plagued by rats

On the same development a buyer of an £180,000 terraced house was plagued by rats in the cavities. After  Mr Andrew T. complained to Taylor Wimpey, he was informed by the builder that he would need to prove exactly how the rats were gaining entry before Taylor Wimpey would admit whether it was their fault.  He commissioned a drainage survey at his own cost, which showed that the drainage under his house had subsided due to ground movement. A drainage expert confirmed that "this was predictable at the time of construction."   Rats carry Leptospirosis also known as Weil’s disease known to have serious adverse health consequences.

Taylor Wimpey new home "riddled with defects"

At Taylor Wimpey’s Buckingham Park Estate in Aylesbury, some of the homes were "positively riddled with defects".  One buyer Mr Scott R. showed that his new home still had an unstable front step, even after two previous attempts by Taylor Wimpey to fix it. Other defects included a leaking front door, a leaking boiler that resulted in the whole kitchen ceiling being taken down and replaced and a shower, where the original wall tiles were "peeling away from the wall".  Overall over 15 months, SR had received more than 40 separate visits from Taylor Wimpey to repair defects with "dozens of those being fixing after months of waiting".

Mr R’s neighbour Mr Adam B, still had creaking stairs, de laminating doors, unfinished guttering, an out of level porch, and even electrical sockets he cant switch off. These are the last of around 70 problems he has had with his new home since he moved in in November 2010 – nearly two years ago!

Serious structural cracking caused by unstable foundations

If this was not bad enough, it got worse when a owner of a Taylor Wimpey new home in Cambridgeshire showed serious structural cracking to his home to the reporters. This was understood to be caused heave - the clay ground supporting the foundations expanding as it absorbed water - causing the home to lift on its foundations. The opposite subsidence is caused when shrinkable ground such as clay dries out and shrinks.  Clay soils are particularly susceptible to movement from both shrinkage and expansion as the ground water content is varied. One significant factor is the presence of trees. These take out water from the clay causing it to subside and can result in heave if the trees are removed and no longer taking water from the ground as in this case.  Foundations on shrinkable clays and near trees or where trees have recently been felled should be design by a qualified structural engineer. The vulnerability of foundations bearing on clay soils has been well known for many years. Indeed the NHBC standards have a section stipulating the required foundation depths for various distances for each different species of tree, to prevent problems caused by heave and subsidence in new homes.

Clearly, the foundation design was incorrect and no account taken of the possible effects on foundations that would occur following removal of several large trees on the site. An expert said in his opinion "the only solution now as to demolish the homes affected and re build them using a foundation design that takes into account the history of trees on the site and the clay ground conditions."

The home owner Mr Aiden T said that "what should have been a dream home feels like it is falling down around you basically"

"Unfinished estates   -  Shoddy workmanship  -  Crumbling houses"

Frank Taylor and George Wimpey must be turning in their graves!

In response Taylor Wimpey issued the following statement:

"we are dedicated to delivering excellence in the design and construction of our new homes and have a long history of delivering a high level of customer care"

"we are committed to resolving the remaining issues [featured in the programme] as quickly as possible and have apologised to the owners concerned"

BBC’s Anne Robinson said: "reassuring!"

Taylor Wimpey claimed that "91% of its customers would recommend them to a friend".    Anne Robinson said: "good for them!"

However, Taylor Wimpey did not say that the "91%" was based on the HBF survey and that just 42% of those who moved into the homes it built in 2012, actually completed the 2012 survey.

The above report is based on information shown in the BBC Watchdog broadcast on 26 September 2012.  None of the facts have been verified or otherwise and no liability will be accepted for any inaccuracy or error.

Return to Top

Taylor Wimpey Defects on BBC Watchdog