NFU Mutual are Refusing Us a New Specification, But Why?

On Tuesday, we received the response we were waiting for. But not the answer we were hoping for. They’re still refusing us a new specification? If you read my last post, you’ll know that we were waiting to get the go ahead for a new specification. This is the only document which would show ‘once and for all’ what needs to be done to our cottage.

Recently, we’ve been arguing with NFU about what needs doing. They don’t believe us or our experts, but they refuse to come and see for themselves. I said that if they said no to this, then we would all know something was very wrong.

They replied. They said no… I think!

The Response Email

The email just doesn’t make sense. It’s complete gobbledygook. Here it is so you can see for yourselves:

Mr L would be Bad

We are not of the view that Mr L***** [their orginal architect] can be appointed independently on this case. The original specification was drawn up by him and as highlighted by you in your e-mail of 17 April 2020, he also signed off all the work as ‘completed to a high standard’. If you remain of the view that the original schedule was inadequate and that works should not have been signed off, we feel that Mr L***** ought to provide an explanation to you as to why the work was signed off originally and whether he should be asking you for a full fee for this additional work.

This first paragraph sets out how they don’t like the architect they appointed. But the surveyor neither appointed him at the proper time nor paid him on time. Early on, the surveyor said that the architect had agreed to reduce his fee. This was to imply that he was guilty of something. He then lied about the whereabouts of the architect. Both these statements, directly told to Mark and I, have been proven as lies. But still, NFU decided to remove the architect instead of the surveyor. Why? We have asked the architect for his reply to this.

We know the surveyor is still acting behind the scenes. They refused to remove him saying they could employ whomever they chose. So why does their website say he’s supposed to be working for us? How can they argue that Mr L is not impartial when their surveyor must be doing everything he can to save his neck after all the mistakes he’s made? Is this why they’re refusing us a new specification?

Mr L would be Good

With all that being said, there is an argument to say that Mr L*****’s appointment would be the most efficient choice owing to the fact that he knows the cottage well and would not need time to familiarise himself with the project. Whilst we cannot recommend for or against his appointment (as he would be your expert) we have no specific objections to him being instructed by you to carry out this work.

I really don’t know what this paragraph means. Are they saying they won’t pay for the new specification or they will?

Please confirm the extent of the deterioration of the cottage, so that we may consider this further.

Oh My God! How many times have we provided evidence that they’ve ignored? This is beyond a joke! The whole reason we want a new specification is to prove the condition of the cottage – the deterioration and how their builders wrecked it! (Oh! Hold on a minute! Is it all becoming clear?)

Random Non Related Paragraph

The ‘unauthorised insertion of modern timber bracing’ was always a temporary measure to preserve structural integrity. D&N’s structural engineer advised on the temporary bracing required to stabilise the roof (for fear the structure would slide) whist the work was in progress. At some point historically the main collar tie had been cut to allow ‘head height’ access to the adjacent space. This item was not included in the specification and is a result pre-existing poor workmanship by someone who did not understand the structural implications of what they were undertaking.

I have no idea why he’s picked out one tiny little bit of the architect’s inspection report to argue about. But anyway, the tie beam was cut over 50 years ago! So, for the last 50 years the cottage has been sitting quite happily with this cut tie beam. The problems only happened when NFU’s builders came along and started making structural changes without the recommended support nor supervison. Is this a reason why they’re refusing a new specification?

NFU Mutual are Reasonable

We have not questioned or challenged the scope of work required and had accepted the R&J Hogg costs for structural work. We challenged the statement that the entire project needed to be restarted from scratch. We would therefore appreciate confirmation of which works you believe we are disputing.

But, They’re Not Being Reasonable

It Does Need to be Started From Scratch

The whole project does need to be started again from scratch! How can they deny this when they don’t know how it is? Their builders didn’t repair any of the sole plates. Their builders re-built a whole wall incorrectly which now needs to be taken down and re-built again.

They’ve Got to Indemnify Us

When we instructed these builders last autumn we didn’t know that we were supposed to be indemnified and didn’t tell them to do enough work. We’re not professionals and we’ve been going through this whole claim without any professional help. I’ve been left to research conservation building stuff all on my own because the NFU employed liars and cheats! They even made ME go through the original specification marking where their builders had omitted work or did work wrong. They should never have made me do this.

It’s Worse than They’re Insisting It Is

They’re saying they don’t believe the deterioration is as bad as we say it is! We’ve sent reports, photographs, expert evidence and they are still refusing to come and see for themselves!

They’ve Played with the Figures

Thirdly, they completely slashed the builders quote we sent them. They compared our builder’s costs to their builders and just chose the cheapest every time. They’ve only agreed a fraction of what our builder’s needed to complete the works. They agreed to pay their builders thousands more. They’re denying that the cottage is in a worse state than when they started. Are they denying that their builders built the whole of the front wall incorrectly? It’s got to be removed and rebuilt.

We’re Refusing A New Specification – An Amended Specification Is a New Specification

We remain of the view that a new specification is not necessary and the existing one can be amended where required with the additional points identified by Mr L*****. This will be a new specification, but without the unnecessary costs of starting a schedule from scratch.

What on earth are they on about? Aren’t they completely contradicting their first paragraphs? This makes no sense! A professional, Mr L gave his professional opinion why a new specification needs to be written. Why refuse a new specifcation?

It’s like the first covid rules all over again:

  • You can’t have a new specification, but you can have a new specification.
  • You shouldn’t use Mr L, but you can use Mr L
  • It would be too expensive, but would be cheap if you use Mr L

Here comes the bombshell…

Comply or You’ll Be Evicted

We have also received communication from A3 relocation solutions. They currently have the property rented until 5 May 2021, however, there is a 1 month notice for termination of the tenancy. We would therefore be grateful if you could provide your decision on the additional 6 months accommodation proposal by 29 March 2021. If this is not received, notice to vacate will be issued and we have been advised this may not be reversible.

They’re threatening to evict us! With no agreed works, no builders, no specification and no tenders, we can’t possibly know when we can move back in. What’s more, the claims department still take five working days to answer EVERY query and question. What the hell are they doing?

This is now well beyond a joke.

Why are they refusing a new specification? There’s something much more serious going on here and I’m trying to get to the bottom of it!

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