Corby’s new-build nightmare: “There’s nothing that hasn’t been replaced”

A Corby couple who moved into their dream home say virtually every aspect of it has been replaced because of shoddy workmanship.

Thursday, 7th November 2019, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th November 2019, 10:55 am

Liam Underwood, 31, and Natalia Dresler, 27, moved into their five-bedroom Merlin Road home in October 2018.

They had hoped that it would be their forever home, but botched workmanship by the developer Larkfleet Homes has left them facing a year of heartbreak.

Liam, who is originally from Raunds, said there were issues right from the beginning.

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Natalia Dresler and Liam Underwood with their dogs Athena and Arthur

He said: ”We were picking up that there were problems before we even moved in.

“We have to restart the boiler every day because it crashes. When we moved in only one of the bathrooms worked.

”The heating was permanently on throughout the whole summer so I couldn’t even sleep in my room.”

Their puppy Arthur fell into a deep, water-filled investigation trench dug by builders and was rescued only because Liam saw him from the top window of their house, rushed down, climbed into the 1.8m hole and dragged him out, damaging his back legs in the process.

The couple's dog almost drowned in one of these deep trenches not fenced off in their swamp-like garden. The holes were not covered with chipboard until after the incident.

“He nearly drowned,” said Liam.

”It was up to my chest. He was only tiny at the time and was completely submerged under the water and I dragged him up by his back left leg.

Since they moved in, their garden has been flooded because a drainage channel was not built. Slabs were placed upright along at the end of the garden to stop water running off into the foundations of the house behind theirs. But they stopped all of the water from running off Liam’s garden and created a swamp.

“While trying to fix the garden the builders tried to install the wrong drainage," said Liam.

Natalia outside the house the month AFTER they were supposed to move in.

It took Liam 17 weeks to persuade them to install the correct perforated drainage pipes.

The bathroom has been fixed numerous times and the couple have found mould on the bathroom floor. The waste pipe wasn’t plumbed in and it took plumbers four attempts to fix it.

”Five kitchens were stolen before we even moved in because there was no front door on the house,” said Liam.

”We’re on our third extractor fan. We’ve had our worktops replaced four times.

Stacie Smith says she has no love for her own home.

”The plastering was scratched throughout the whole house. There’s nothing that hasn’t been replaced.

“There’s damp on the front and the back of the house. They’re having to redo the brickwork, and the corbels have all had to be redone.

”The shower has a gap all the way around it. It basically doesn’t fit.”

When workmen came round to fix incorrectly installed cables, the electricians that came to rewire left the cabling loose and the dog bit through it, again leaving him injured.

Liam and Natalia came forward after neighbours Marc and Stacie Smith, who live in nearby Kestrel Road, spoke of their ordeal earlier this year.

The Smiths say just 70 of their 230 faults have been fixed since February, with a balcony that remains unsafe to go on.

Stacie, 36, said their problems have not improved since and that she puts off friends who want to come round because she feels embarrassed by her house.

She said: "I worry that I am stuck in a house that I am not going to be able to sell.

"I've got no love for that house and still haven't been able to enjoy the new home experience.

"They stole that from me."

She said that Larkfleet accused them of whinging and that the situation had left husband Marc, 31, so stressed stomach ulcers left him unable to eat.

A Larkfleet Homes spokesman said they appreciated the frustration felt by those affected by the problems and that they would be carrying out a number of inspections to find out exactly how things went wrong so they could put them right.

The spokesman said: “We apologise unreservedly to those customers who have been affected, and would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their continued patience throughout this process.

“Any customers that need to get in touch with us relating to an outstanding issue, or would simply like an update, can contact [email protected] or the individual assigned to their case.”

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