“A Persimmon Homes family say their home is like living in a chimney, after discovering vital fire safety barriers were missing from their home.
The owner of the property, who wished to remain anonymous, asked for his property in Truro to be inspected after reading of the safety issues with homes in Exeter on Devon Live.
In January, a Persimmon Homes whistleblower urged all home owners to have their properties inspected after claiming the problem is widespread. Up until then, the building firm had only confirmed properties in one of its developments, Greenacres, and the Newcourt area near Topsham, had failed inspections.
The whistleblower – a Persimmon Homes employee – alleged the issue was not confined to the one development. Among other developments the employee claimed could also fail inspections were:
Harford Mews, Ivybridge
Hill Barton Vale, Exeter
Agusta Park, Yeovil
Heathfield Gardens, Monkton Heathfield, Taunton
Chilmark Glade, Shaftesbury
Since then failures have also been reported at Persimmon Homes in East Devon new town Cranbrook, and now at Lowen Bre in Truro – which is the first confirmation the issue has been highlighted in Cornwall as well as Devon.
The issue was exposed following a ‘ferocious’ blaze which broke out in Trafalgar Road off Admiral Way and Topsham Road, last April, which spread into the roof spaces of two of the adjoining properties.
After reading the whistleblower’s recommendations on Devon Live, the owner of a house in Lowen Bre asked Persimmon Homes to inspect their five-year-old home, when cavity barriers were found to be missing, as well as stops and socks which prevent the spread of fire through walls and floors.
The owner, who asked not to be named, said: “My house is like a chimney because if there was a fire it would spread pretty quick through it. It’s negligence by Persimmon Homes and the National House Building Council (NHBC) who have signed the property off.
“After our home failed the inspection a few days later they returned and they were put in place, but I’m also missing about 50 per cent around the windows. We have 20 odd windows and doors.”
The development the owner lives on has about 160 homes and it is believed letters have been sent to some of its residents.
The home owner said: “I want to make everyone in the development aware of the issue so that they can get their home checked.
“As a national house builder, Persimmon Homes have a duty of care to ensure their homes are built correctly and I feel that this issue shows a lack of adhering to building regulations.
“We have lived in our property since October 2013. All this time we have been at constant risk due to the required fire safety details not being installed. With children in the house whose bedrooms are both on the top floor, it makes this situation even more unbelievable.”
The builder has already come under fire by residents after their voiced their frustrations after it took four years for work began on its promised as a condition of its planning permission.
Residents said they had to endure countless promises of start dates from Persimmon Homes for work at the playground to begin which were then broken the company.
A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes said: “The development as a whole is being inspected as part of the ongoing process. As Persimmon Homes has already confirmed it has committed to a thorough inspection process to ensure the required standards are met and is undertaking remedial work wherever the need is identified.
“Persimmon Homes has a dedicated team in place to deal with any remedial work that is required, and customers on any of our developments can make contact at any time if they have concerns.”
Persimmon Homes did not provide a response to the following questions:
1. Of those inspected so far in Lowen Bre how many ave passed?
2. A list of development where inspections are being carried out in Cornwall, Devon and across the country.
3. The results of those inspections so far.
A spokesman for the NHBC said it had not received any contacts or claims concerning fire safety barriers at Lowen Bre in Truro.
He said: “Any homeowners with an NHBC Buildmark policy who have concerns about this issue can contact our claims team who will be happy to provide them with advice and support. As the UK’s leading warranty provider we care passionately about the quality of new homes.
“We work with builders to help them improve the construction quality of the homes they build for the benefit of our policyholders, the homeowners.
“NHBC’s inspection regime is not a replacement for the builder’s own quality control checks and obligations to build in accordance with building regulations.”