An independent review into the effectiveness of Persimmon Homes that was led by its chairman, Roger Devlin, has been published. The review’s purpose was to assess the company’s effectiveness, focusing on new measures and processes introduced to improve its customer care, following widespread instances of poor workmanship reported by Persimmon home buyers.
The review was led by Stephanie Barwise QC. The report’s findings covered key areas including the policies and structure of the company and the remuneration of its directors.
Shockingly, it was also discovered that there was no ‘standard’ in place that monitored the quality of its house building. There was no build process in place that would ensure homes were built to a rigorous standard of controlled build that were based on ‘clear drawings and specifications supported by appropriate supervision and inspection regime’. There were also no procedures in place to supervise or inspect employees’ or sub-contractors’ work, who were given a minimal amount of training.
Key safety areas in timber framed houses, such as fire stopping cavity barriers, were lacking or poorly fitted, in what was described as a ‘systemic nationwide problem’. While inspections had been carried out when problems with cavity barriers were first discovered, it limited its inspections to the eaves of the properties but did not check the cavity barriers required around windows, party walls or doors.
The lack of such a policy has increased the risk of defects in the homes.
The company’s ‘disconnect’ between the award of the House Builders Federation’s (HBF) star ratings and the build quality of its homes was clearly demonstrated, since one of its ‘five star businesses’ had recorded the highest incidence of cavity barriers being incorrectly fitted or missing. The HBF’s star rating scheme is an independent survey that awards builders stars, based on customer feedback from its National New Homes Survey.
The report recommends that Persimmon decide whether it would aspire to be a quality builder or a four or five star builder, which were different.
If you’re buying newer or older property, even if you aren’t planning on moving into a castle, a Chartered Surveyor will overlook the condition and structural elements of your new property to help you safeguard your investment.