Further Persimmon home issues reported
THE DEVELOPER has admitted that some of its homes in Barry, Wales have the same issues with fire barriers as in a range of its other developments.
In April, it was revealed that Persimmon was inspecting ‘hundreds’ of homes in Plymouth, whose residents had ‘initially’ been told that their properties ‘weren’t affected’ by missing compartmentation. Earlier this year, a resident in a block of flats built by Persimmon in Exeter claimed his pet python’s escape and discovery ‘exposed fire safety breaches’ in ‘missing’ fire safety compartmentation.
Persimmon later admitted that it was inspecting a ‘wider area of properties’, with inspections broadened out. In March it was revealed that missing fire safety barriers had been confirmed in properties in Cornwall as well as Devon. In total, the inspection programme found over 650 homes in the south west had ‘missing or incorrectly installed’ barriers, with some of these ‘not yet’ rectified, and other homes having ‘still not been inspected’.
Following this, in May a BBC Watchdog Live investigation found that new homes developed by Persimmon have ‘potentially dangerous’ fire safety issues, including being sold with ‘missing or incorrectly installed’ fire barriers designed to stop fire spread. The investigation established that ‘serious breaches have gone undetected during construction’.
Persimmon resident Sarah Dennis – who lives on the Greenacre development in Exeter – suffered a fire at her home in April 2018 started by a cigarette dropped at ground level, which ‘spread up to the roof of a house, and then to the adjacent properties’. Subsequent investigations at the estate by Persimmon found 37% of homes had fire barriers missing.
In Coventry a Persimmon building with 48 apartments was evacuated last year after a range of defects were found, including missing barriers, and some residents are still living in temporary accommodation during repair works. Persimmon responded by noting that since the south west issues ‘came to light’, it has written to 3,200 homeowners in that region and set up a ‘dedicated team’ to undertake inspections, with 2,700 properties having been inspected and 679 having received remedial works, while sample checks were being conducted nationwide.
Most recently, it was revealed that nearly 50 new build homes in an estate in Kent are to be inspected due to ‘concerns’ over whether ‘adequate’ fire safety measures have been installed correctly in roofs, with the company sending letters to residents in Iwade to tell them that cavity barriers may not have been ‘appropriately fitted’.
Wales Online has now reported on the discovery that the White Farm estate in Barry, built by Persimmon, has some properties that require repair relating to fire safety after residents raised concerns. The residents claimed cavity barriers are ‘either completely or partially missing or incorrectly installed in some properties’, and called for independent inspections.
Persimmon responded that cavity barrier inspections are being carried out on some properties and others require remedial work, adding: ‘There are properties which do require remedial works and they will take place over the next two weeks. Some houses still require inspections and letters have been sent out requesting access.’
The White Farm Residents Group claimed that ‘at least 20’ homes have fire safety issues, but that Persimmon ‘has not confirmed the number of properties affected’, and the group also complained that fire safety inspections ‘have been carried out by painters and decorators who worked on the homes during the building phase of the estate’, though Persimmon argued that these were being undertaken by ‘competent trades people’.
Resident Nichola Venables said: ‘I’m really disappointed with Persimmon’s response to the fire safety issues. They know that at least 20 homes on this development have failed the fire safety inspection and whilst they have in most cases quickly completed the work needed to make these homes safe, they are not doing enough to make homeowners aware that there is an issue at all.
‘On this development, they have reached out to some homes but not others. It appears that they are taking a sample approach. There doesn't appear to be a pattern to which types of home are affected. The homes have all been built by the same team of workers, therefore every home needs to be checked. This isn’t just an issue in White Farm, I’ve received messages from home owners in multiple counties across England, Scotland and Wales.’
Local councillors Vincent Bailey and Leighton Rowlands contacted residents, with Mr Bailey saying that ‘it is totally unacceptable for new homes to be built without adequate fire safety measures, and Persimmon need to come clean on how widespread the issue is - not just here on White Farm, but across the United Kingdom. These allegations are deeply concerning and we need to see an independent assessment of all of the properties on this estate so that locals can have peace of mind’.
Mr Rowlands said: ‘It’s not the first time that concerns have emerged about Persimmon developments and we want to see this dealt with proactively.’
Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns added that he would meet Persimmon’s chief executive, while a Persimmon spokesman responded: ‘Cavity barrier inspections are ongoing at this development. While investigations are ongoing, we are not in a position to confirm numbers. There are properties which do require remedial works and they will take place over the next two weeks. Some houses still require inspections and letters have been sent out requesting access. The inspections are being carried out by competent trades people.’