9:07 AM, 13th September 2016, About 5 years ago 4
Currently in year four of a new build/grade listed 2 building conversion and just discovered that my waste water pipe from the kitchen is not connected to the main sewer.
I initially had an issue concerning a leak under my kitchen. Other than a constantly blocked sink, a smell had developed around the hallway. This smell was reminiscent of sewage/waste water which might have been originating from the downstairs toilet. Then, after closer inspection of the area between the front door and the toilet, it was apparent that the floor was affected by some kind of water flow as the carpet/floorboards squelched every time they were walked on.
On lifting the carpet in the hallway, areas of damp were discovered on the floor, as well as rising damp in the corner of the hallway, below the electrical twin socket, and the internal walls attached to the kitchen door. It was at this point that a plumber was called to inspect the blocked sink and leak below the kitchen/hallway floor. Following additional visits by a plumbing specialist company, it was discovered that the waste pipe from the kitchen was not connected to the main Thames Water waste pipe in the garden. The pipework from the kitchen had stopped at the boundary wall of the living room and subsequently covered with dirt, soil and grass. This meant that since I moved in to my new build property in December 2012, all waste water associated with the kitchen sink, dishwasher and washing machine has been flowing into the ground soil under the corner of my property.
On news of the missing pipework, the property developer appointed a groundswork company for an independent inspection and they concurred with the findings of the plumbing specialist. Following approval by the property developer, they were commissioned with the job of connecting a new pipe between the house and the Thames Water main waste pipe. This involved digging a gully of about 15 foot in the garden so the connection could be made. Following completion of these works, the plumbing specialist returned to inspect the new pipe and confirmed that the flow of water from the kitchen was working as expected. However, once they had jet cleaned all of the connection, they noted that one of the pipes had ‘bellied’. Due to this defect a great deal of scum/grime build-up had been caused in the pipe. It was subsequently removed but the plumbing specialist stated that this problem is likely to return in the years to come.
The visible damage at present is rising damp on the walls and floor in the kitchen, hallway and living room (above the exit point of the original water pipe). Along with a damp stained carpet and dug up garden by the groundswork company. What isn’t visible is any damage under the tiled floor in the kitchen and the rest of the ground floor. My other concern is the possibility of subsidence considering the water escaping into the foundations of the property for the last 3.5yrs.
I was issued a building certificate to certify the property has met all building regulations when clearly it hasn’t. It has also been three months since I raised my concerns to the property developer. They continue to drag their heels in proposing a plan of action for the remedial work, reimbursement of the costs I’ve incurred to prove they’re responsible, and the rehousing of my family and I until the property is back to the standard I thought I had bought. As such I feel I need to take things up to the next level.
Therefore, can anyone offer any advice or recommendations for a good legal practice/solicitor that specialises in building controls/regulations? Also, based on the above, would I be able to report the property developer to trading standards or another organisation for their shoddy workmanship? And, because of this, would I be in line for any compensation?
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