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New build retaining wall

Hello, I have a problem, we are meant to be completing on a new build in March, 370k, detached under David Wilson. However, the end of the garden has a retaining wall, this wall support a higher level which has the end of a road and houses on it.

At the time we reserved we were told NHBC would cover the retaining wall for problems. It now turns out they explicitly say they won't cover retaining walls, (naturally that comes to light after they have my reservation fee!) But also, Nor does insurance company cover it, it seems. If damage to that wall is not caused by a problem with the house, for example house fire, it's not covered. So in the extreme case, if due to a bad storm or defect in the way the wall was made and it collapses I would be responsible for the wall, and any damage to the road and homes above.

It seems staggering, and an obvious liability I should not touch with a barge pole, and honestly I'm on the verge of pulling the plug on the sale, I guess I am having one last ditch attempt to see if there iif  anyone knows of any way I can have protection from this liability, becasue I sure a shell can't find any.

Many thanks 
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  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,502
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    Andy_1122 said:
    Hello, I have a problem, we are meant to be completing on a new build in March, 370k, detached under David Wilson. However, the end of the garden has a retaining wall, this wall support a higher level which has the end of a road and houses on it.

    At the time we reserved we were told NHBC would cover the retaining wall for problems. It now turns out they explicitly say they won't cover retaining walls, (naturally that comes to light after they have my reservation fee!) But also, Nor does insurance company cover it, it seems. If damage to that wall is not caused by a problem with the house, for example house fire, it's not covered. So in the extreme case, if due to a bad storm or defect in the way the wall was made and it collapses I would be responsible for the wall, and any damage to the road and homes above.

    It seems staggering, and an obvious liability I should not touch with a barge pole, and honestly I'm on the verge of pulling the plug on the sale, I guess I am having one last ditch attempt to see if there iif  anyone knows of any way I can have protection from this liability, becasue I sure a shell can't find any.
    What is the level difference between the ground above and below (i.e. the retained height, not the total height of the wall)?

  • Andy_1122
    Andy_1122 Posts: 11
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    Section62 said:
    Andy_1122 said:
    Hello, I have a problem, we are meant to be completing on a new build in March, 370k, detached under David Wilson. However, the end of the garden has a retaining wall, this wall support a higher level which has the end of a road and houses on it.

    At the time we reserved we were told NHBC would cover the retaining wall for problems. It now turns out they explicitly say they won't cover retaining walls, (naturally that comes to light after they have my reservation fee!) But also, Nor does insurance company cover it, it seems. If damage to that wall is not caused by a problem with the house, for example house fire, it's not covered. So in the extreme case, if due to a bad storm or defect in the way the wall was made and it collapses I would be responsible for the wall, and any damage to the road and homes above.

    It seems staggering, and an obvious liability I should not touch with a barge pole, and honestly I'm on the verge of pulling the plug on the sale, I guess I am having one last ditch attempt to see if there iif  anyone knows of any way I can have protection from this liability, becasue I sure a shell can't find any.
    What is the level difference between the ground above and below (i.e. the retained height, not the total height of the wall)?

    If I understand your question correctly, it's almost the entire wall. I would estimate about 7 foot. It  is earth, foundation and drained up to thr top of the wall. the neighbour behind has his lawn level with the top of the wall, his garden is then sectioned by a 6 ft fence on top of this wall. 
  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,502
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    Andy_1122 said:


    If I understand your question correctly, it's almost the entire wall. I would estimate about 7 foot. It  is earth, foundation and drained up to thr top of the wall. the neighbour behind has his lawn level with the top of the wall, his garden is then sectioned by a 6 ft fence on top of this wall. 

    That's a big wall then.  Did the developer give you any details of the construction method?  I.e. just brick/block, or reinforced concrete?

  • Andy_1122
    Andy_1122 Posts: 11
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    Section62 said:
    Andy_1122 said:


    If I understand your question correctly, it's almost the entire wall. I would estimate about 7 foot. It  is earth, foundation and drained up to thr top of the wall. the neighbour behind has his lawn level with the top of the wall, his garden is then sectioned by a 6 ft fence on top of this wall. 

    That's a big wall then.  Did the developer give you any details of the construction method?  I.e. just brick/block, or reinforced concrete?

    No sadly not, but tbh we havtn got that far along, I'm sure they will say it is all done to code and in line with building regs regardless though, but just a cursory search online tells you these new house builders are making a never ending stream of mistakes. Which is what my big worry is tbh. I think I have answered my own question here sadly. Unless they can offer some protection it's 99% pull out. Insurance companies don't want to know, nhbc don't want to know. Probably tells me everything I need to know really. 
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,331
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    Andy_1122 said:

    Nor does insurance company cover it, it seems. If damage to that wall is not caused by a problem with the house, for example house fire, it's not covered. So in the extreme case, if due to a bad storm or defect in the way the wall was made and it collapses I would be responsible for the wall, and any damage to the road and homes above.

    Bear in mind that normal buildings insurance doesn't cover you for inherent defects in construction anyway, you'd need to rely on some form of warranty by the developer or NHBC etc.
  • Cheslea2010
    Cheslea2010 Posts: 14
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    Knowing what mainstream developers brickwork is like I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole unless you can get something legal drawn up that waivers your liability.
  • Andy_1122
    Andy_1122 Posts: 11
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    user1977 said:
    Andy_1122 said:

    Nor does insurance company cover it, it seems. If damage to that wall is not caused by a problem with the house, for example house fire, it's not covered. So in the extreme case, if due to a bad storm or defect in the way the wall was made and it collapses I would be responsible for the wall, and any damage to the road and homes above.

    Bear in mind that normal buildings insurance doesn't cover you for inherent defects in construction anyway, you'd need to rely on some form of warranty by the developer or NHBC etc.
    Thankyou for that. I assuming if a defect with the house NHBC would be involved then, so I'm not to worried about that, if that is indeed the case. 
  • MikeJXE
    MikeJXE Posts: 3,030
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    That sounds like my granddaughters  wall 8 feet high, built by Davidsons 

    No idea how it's built and i am ex construction 20 years ago 


  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,502
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    Andy_1122 said:
    Section62 said:
    Andy_1122 said:


    If I understand your question correctly, it's almost the entire wall. I would estimate about 7 foot. It  is earth, foundation and drained up to thr top of the wall. the neighbour behind has his lawn level with the top of the wall, his garden is then sectioned by a 6 ft fence on top of this wall. 

    That's a big wall then.  Did the developer give you any details of the construction method?  I.e. just brick/block, or reinforced concrete?

    No sadly not, but tbh we havtn got that far along, I'm sure they will say it is all done to code and in line with building regs regardless though, but just a cursory search online tells you these new house builders are making a never ending stream of mistakes. Which is what my big worry is tbh. I think I have answered my own question here sadly. Unless they can offer some protection it's 99% pull out. Insurance companies don't want to know, nhbc don't want to know. Probably tells me everything I need to know really. 
    Ask them for "section plans" of the wall.  (plans showing the wall in cross-section)  If they are in any way evasive or reluctant then it is probably time to cut your losses and run rather than walking.

    In this day and age you should be left responsible for a retaining structure without knowing how the structure is built.

    Is the road on the higher level being adopted?  If the wall supports the highway you would have additional obligations compared to if it were only supporting private land.  You'd want to know what the highway authority's view was, and how much input they had in terms of vetting the design.  If the road isn't being adopted then who will be responsible for it?
  • MikeJXE
    MikeJXE Posts: 3,030
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    Here are details from the planning portal of the retaining wall construction in my previous post if it's any help and if it has been constructed that way 


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