Incorrect sole plate replacement
Complaints,  The NFU Mutual

Why NFU’s Builders Weren’t Allowed Back – They Weren’t Qualified

Every reply we’ve had from NFU Mutual in response to our complaint, says two things. 1. We asked for a cash settlement (which we didn’t!) and 2. We should have had their builders back. They say that their builders (who damaged our listed building, said they’d completed work they hadn’t, and didn’t have the experience nor qualifications to work on a listed building) had every right to come and fix the problems they caused. But why would we do that when their builders weren’t qualified or experienced? NFU Mutual are still trying to use this as a way of lowering their cash settlement. This means we can’t get the repairs, that they should have done, completed properly.

They’re refusing to allow us to get a new specification which would highlight how different the work their builders carried out is from the original spec. And it would also show how much of their work (virtually everything) needs ripping out and starting again from scratch – because they weren’t qualified.

We argued that NFU Mutual’s builders were not qualified to work on a listed building. But, why on earth did our insurer chose builders who weren’t experienced with listed buildings to fix our thatched cottage?

Let’s take a look at a few examples of some of the work they did.

The Bathroom Wall

The whole wall in the bathroom was removed without listed building approval

This is the bathroom wall which the builders re-built. The whole of the original bathroom wall was removed. But, this should never have been done without listed building consent. Only the soleplate should have been removed and any rotten studs up to about two feet. I believe it was this action that resulted in the caution issued to NFU Mutual’s claims handler.

The bathroom wall was built incorrectly

In the picture above you can see the inside of the same wall. You can see the new oak which looks okay but it was re-built incorrectly. They were supposed to build this wall using mortice and tenon joints with pegs and brass or stainless stell screws. When I asked the builders whether he’d used pegs, he replied: ‘Pegs! They haven’t been used for a hundred years!’

Incorrect sole plate replacement
The new soleplate is too big, too high, and incorrectly installed.

The soleplate on the same wall was rotten and was due to be replaced, but not like this! The new soleplate was to be exactly like the old one. As you can see here, it’s too big, too high and there’s a huge gap underneath to let the weather in. I also argued against a DPC and of course, they put a modern plastic one in.

Wood glue was used when the specification said avoid mastics

Above, you can see the new bathroom wall and the glue keeping it all together! The specification said – AVOID MASTICS!

The Bedroom

The original wattle and daub was removed and then thrown away

This is a little sad. Instead of keeping the hundres of years old daub, as they didn’t know about listed buildings – they threw it in the skip.

The East Wall

A piece of oak was glued into place instead of being spliced

This was the first repair these builders did. At the time I didn’t know anything about what they were intending to do, but I knew this didn’t look right. They just glued a triangular piece of oak into the hole! Not much support there as an effective and lasting repair.

The Toilet

A soleplate replacement was due here

This is what these builders called a soleplate replacement. Just get a bit of wood, cut it to a rough length to fit, cut off the sharp corner and stick in the hole!

They Weren’t Qualified

These are just a few examples of the poor workmanship and proof that the builders chosen by NFU Mutual weren’t qualified. It’s obvious that these repairs were not correct for a listed building. Next time, I’ll show you the work they said they had completed but hid underneath the render before anyone could check.

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