“Children have been injured in shoddily built new homes, we can reveal.
The youngsters have suffered electric shocks and breathing problems, while one was even crushed by a radiator, after moving in to properties that had not been constructed properly.
The revelations are the latest uncovered by the Daily Mail as part of an investigation into the dire state of many of Britain’s new-build homes.
We have previously reported on leaks, water-logged gardens, missing windows, badly fitted doors, broken toilets and gaps in the guttering.
Many homebuyers have scrimped and saved for years to get on the property ladder.
Today we can reveal that poor workmanship by builders – some of whom are cutting corners in a rush to meet construction targets – is raising safety concerns.
Kate and Kevin Fever, from Tiverton, Devon, saved for years to buy a bigger home for their four children. When they moved to their new £265,000, four-bedroom property in December 2015, there were snagging issues with the downstairs flooring and drainage in the garden. These were fixed within a few weeks.
But, seven months later, a heavy double radiator fell off the wall as their eldest daughter Gemma, then aged ten, walked across the kitchen. Kate, 32, a student midwife, says: ‘When I rushed over and pulled off her sock, I expected just a graze, but it was a bloodbath. I grabbed a tea towel to wrap around her foot and we went straight to A&E.’ Gemma, now 11, needed stitches and a cast on her leg for a ruptured Achilles tendon. Kate and Kevin, 40, reported the incident to their builder Taylor Wimpey.
They claim the firm admitted wrong fixings were used on a number of radiators, which meant they weren’t secured properly to the walls.
The radiators were repaired and the firm contacted other customers they thought could be affected. Gemma also received toys, a £50 Toys R Us gift card and £150.
A spokeswoman for the builder says: ‘Taylor Wimpey has apologised to the Fever family for the distress caused. The health and safety of our customers and their families is our number one priority.’
Paul and Lisa Holland, from Leyland, Lancashire, also bought a four-bedroom property from Taylor Wimpey, which they have lived in since 2010. In November last year, Lisa, 43, and youngest son Kyle, 11, suffered electric shocks after touching a lightswitch.
Paul, 45, an HGV driver, says: ‘It happened when we changed the bulb to an energy saver. The bulb started flashing. My son went to the switch, but he jumped back crying. My wife then tried it and jumped back after also suffering a shock.’ When Paul’s brother tested the plastic switch with a volt meter he found live current leaking. The switch had to be replaced, along with the light. ‘My wife and son are very, very lucky they did not each suffer more serious shocks,’ says Paul.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman says: ‘The vast majority of our customers tell us they are very satisfied with the quality of their home. ‘However, we recognise that we do sometimes get things wrong, and in those cases we are committed to putting them right as quickly as possible.’
Figures show a staggering 98 per cent of new-build buyers report problems to their builders, according to a new home survey by the National House Building Council and the Home Builders Federation.
After years of saving, Colin and Jessica Nickless bought their first home in September 2015. But since moving into the three-bedroom, terraced new-build in Rainham, near London, the couple and their two children have been plagued by damp and mould. Ellie, five, and Freddie, three, have both been in hospital with breathing difficulties and chest infections.
The couple particularly worry about Ellie as she suffers from cystic fibrosis, which makes her vulnerable to respiratory infections. Colin, 41, a full-time carer for Ellie, says: ‘Our new-build home is making us all ill.
‘We’ve had problems with leaking pipes, damp carpets, water dripping through electrical sockets and light fittings, waste pipes not being connected properly and pouring filthy water into my son’s bedroom.’
A spokeswoman for Circle Housing refused to comment on the case due to an ongoing legal claim.
Philip Waller, a retired construction manager who runs advice website brand-newhomes.co.uk, says: ‘When children are being injured by defective new homes, the Government simply cannot stand on the sidelines.'”