More Persimmon homes to be inspected

More Persimmon homes to be inspected

NEARLY 50 new build homes in an estate in Kent are now to be inspected due to ‘concerns’ over whether ‘adequate’ fire safety measures have been installed correctly in roofs.

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 beyond the original area of focus. 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 2019 a BBC Watchdog Live investigation found that new homes developed by Persimmon and Bellway Homes have ‘potentially dangerous’ fire safety issues. This found that new build homes constructed by both were sold with ‘missing or incorrectly installed’ fire barriers designed to stop fire spread, with both companies responding that they were ‘addressing the issue’.

The investigation established that ‘serious breaches have gone undetected during construction’, with Persimmon resident Sarah Dennis – who lives on the Greenacre development in Exeter – having 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.

It added: ‘If these inspections indicate that we need to inspect every timber frame property then we will do so. This should not have happened and we would like to apologise to all affected homeowners and assure them that we are doing everything we can to rectify the issue swiftly.’

Now, Kent Online has reported on the homes in Kent, where Persimmon has announced inspections ‘over concerns adequate fire safety measures have not been installed in roofs correctly’. The company sent letters to residents in Iwade recently to tell them that cavity barriers may not have been ‘appropriately fitted’.

The letter read: ‘We believe it is important that, as a precautionary measure, we conduct checks to satisfy ourselves that these have been isolated incidents. Therefore, we are writing to you to request we visit your property to carry out an inspection to confirm such barriers have been correctly installed. We have an approved method on undertaking all inspections and should remedial work be needed this can be done externally to the property.’

Inspections are due this week, with a Persimmon spokeswoman adding that 49 people had been written to, with plans in place to contact other residents after the first phase of visits. She added: ‘A regime of sample testing of timber framed properties has been carried out on a number of developments. No further action was taken on those developments where no issue was detected on 100% of the sample.

‘On the developments where a level of failure was detected, residents of the entire phase were invited to request an inspection. We wrote to the first 49 customers on this phase of the Iwade development and are set to carry out eaves inspections to establish if cavity barriers are in place. Should we identify gaps, additional cavity barriers will be put in place to rectify the issue.

‘Contact with the remaining residents of the 74-property phase will follow. Persimmon Homes has a dedicated team in place to deal with any remedial works required and remains focused on its customers and continues to communicate directly with them.’