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Apologies if this is not the right group. I bought a house last February (new build) and there are a few issues. We sent the list of issues to the builder who is supposed to fix them.

One that is really bothering me is a spot light hanging out of the ceiling in the bathroom. I suspect it's a safety issue. After 4 month we are still waiting for it to be fixed.

Since things don't seem to be moving I'd like to report the issue to someone, but I don't know who.

Is there a body in the UK supposed to enforce the houses are built correctly and issues fixed? Or I'll have to sue the builder directly?

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The Department for Communities and Local Government (along with some land-related company) say "if a person carrying out building work contravenes the Building Regulations, the local authority may prosecute them in the Magistrates' Court where an unlimited fine may be imposed (sections 35 and 35A of the Building Act 1984). Prosecution is possible up to two years after the completion of the offending work. This action will usually be taken against the person carrying out the work (builder, installer or main contractor)". The other thing they say is "Alternatively, or in addition, the local authority may serve an enforcement notice on the building owner requiring alteration or removal of work which contravenes the regulations (section 36 of the 1984 Act). If the owner does not comply with the notice the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs of doing so from the owner". So the problem has to be fixed; but the penalties against the builder would be greater. There is a 1 year limit on enforcement against the owner, and if violation was not specifically rejected, a section 36 ("against the owner") enforcement is precluded.

What's a little unclear here is why the inspectors did not catch the violation. I assume there is a completion certificate, which came to light with the land search For example, maybe it is not technically a violation. It seems that if you hire a "competent person" (a registered tradesperson), the builder can self-certify that the work was done to standard, but they should have insurance and formal procedures for addressing complaints.

Enforcement seems to be in the hands of the local government.

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You are responsible for having a secure house. If there is a body that enforces that houses are built correctly and issues fixed, they will turn to you to get the issues fixed. Not to the builder.

You will have a hard time suing the builder, since he doesn't have a contract with you. He had a contract with the previous owner of the house. You bought the house, it's up to you to have a survey done before you buy it. A survey will always find some fault, so you take that into account when you put in an offer for the house. If the survey says the roof urgently needs s £10,000 repair, then you offer £10,000 less than you would otherwise.

  • As I said the house is a new build. There was no previous owner and the house was finished after we started the purchase process. In the contract it is stated that they have to fix all issues I notify once I get into the house (excluding shrinkage and normal wear and tear). – algiogia Jun 23 '16 at 9:40

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