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Well, my mum warned me about Barrat houses...
Basic complaints she had were that in Barratt show homes, they would have doors removed, supposedly to make it easier to wander around and view.
But the reality being it was to stop visitors seeing how Barrat homes doors kept banging into each other and the light fittings...
We didn't aim to live in a Barratts house, but ended up in one anyway that was already 4 years old.
There are already quite a few problems with it.
Funnily enough, I've met a couple of people who've worked for Barratts. All they've all said they'd never buy a Barratts house.
Problems with Barratts houses
Okay, the house if 4 years old. Surely there couldn't be much wrong with it?
Here's a couple of issues:
1. Bad design issues
i. Doors bang together
The kitchen and dining room door happen to be next to each other. Anyone with a little common sense would have them opening in opposite directions - there's plenty enough space for them to do this.
But not Barratt homes - for some insane reason they decided that the doors should open against each other...
ii) Poor planning
The Barratts home we moved into - a Grantown - has a utility room. It has a sink and side unit under which a washer/dryer combo can go.
But...Barratts set up the plug sockets above the unit. So the unit needs drilling through first to actually be able to plug anything in. Unnecessary hassle for the homeowner.
iii) More bad design
The Grantown design doesn't have anywhere near enough radiator space used upstairs to heat it effectively. This leaves bedrooms upstairs feeling quite cool even when the downstairs is warm.
2. Poor building work
There's a bathroom with a storage cupboard built into the sink unit. And a bloody strong draft coming up through it. It hasn't been properly sealed.
Additionally, there's a hold in the roof where the eaves meet. It's simply a space that hasn't been filled in. So a nice draft straight into the loft.
Got to also love the outside tap - it isn't even fixed above the drain, so the water just runs into the ground beside it.
Silly issues that show not enough attention to ensuring quality building work.
3. Poor Quality of fittings
It has to be said, the quality of the fittings used is pretty poor. It's hard not to think "cheap and nasty".
We have an electric over which, even when fan assisted, still takes 40 mins to cook 20 minute oven chips.
The heating system also looks cheap and nasty. It's a set from Ponnington's, and is fiddly and user-unfriendly to set up using manual switches rather than modern digital inputs.
Other Barratt house problems:
1. We haven't had it confirmed yet, but it looks as if the hot water system only switches on if the central heating is on. No central heating, no hot water. Even though there are supposed to be different hot water and central heating switches, to have them set up for different times, the hot water simply doesn't come on unless the central heating is on as well.
2. The quality of the double-glazing is very poor - this house is only 4 years old, but the windows are already very drafty. Where windows open the insulation to keep out drafts just doesn't fill the gap, leaving plenty enough room to let strong winds blast your rooms with cold air. We've seen this in most of the rooms so far.
It sounds like a big gripe, but it has to be said, on a more positive side, the Grantown design we moved into is lovely and spacious, and I'm surprised it's not more commonly used by Barrats.
However, at present, having just moved in just before winter in the north of Scotland, the house is cold and drafty at present so we need to get these issues fixed.
Barratt Homes Woodland Rise Development
Anyway, when we went looking for a house in Scotland we didn't have Barratts high on the list, even though they have a development in Woodland Rise near Inverness.
Don't get me wrong - the views from the Woodland Rise development are lovely, and its set right against pine plantations, so on the surface it could be a lovely area to live.
However, it's actually set against modern village of Smithton, which it has to be said is a pretty soulless-looking 1970's development.
While Barrat's salespeople did try and sell Woodland Rise over nearer developments at Milton of Leys, on the point that Smithton and Culloden have local services already, the fact remains that Smithton really isn't a pleasant-looking place to live if you have any sense of taste.
Barrat Homes styles
Barratts do have a nice looking range of different house styles available - but it has to be said, they are all mostly pretty small. If you compare room sizes with other developers in the same price range, you'll find the Barratts houses tend to have very much smaller room sizes.
Surprising, they do actually have a decent sized-sized style in the Grantown, which is what we moved into.
If it wasn't for a range of silly little problems with the poor design and poor quality building, this would actually be a really nice home.
It's a one and a half storey build, with a very traditional cottage look, and it's really effective.
It's four-bedroomed, but the fourth bedroom is on the ground floor with an en-suite. Really, that's not a problem for us because the fourth bedroom was always going to be an office area, and it certainly accomodates that nicely.
Lounge and bedroom sizes are very nice and spacious as well.
The only think really lacking is an upstairs en-suite - but that's only in comparison to similar designs from other developers - but aside from that, no real complaints about the property in regard to the layout.
It really should be a nice house, but as above, silly issues with poor build quality and poor quality features, means these will need correcting.
Anyway, part review, part rant on Barrat homes.
Last edited by brian; 19-11-2006 at 08:57 PM.
Barratt House - Central Heating
I bought a 3 storey, four bedroom Barratt house in Ilkeston Derbyshire in June 2008 and have had problems with the central heating system.
The boiler is an Icos HE12 and powers 11 radiators. As it's only 12kw it's too small to heat the house properly and so all through the winter in spite of the thermostat being set to 26c the house was constantly cold. Barratts checked the heating system on 8 separate occasions but said it complied with their specifications.
I called in an independent heating engineer who said that the boiler was too small and that a house the size of mine needed an 18kw boiler and bigger radiators. Barratts didn't agree so I got the NHBC involved and they've appointed an "independent" company called EnergyCare Services to review the heating system.
The first guy who came made messed up his report so another one is due to come out next week. However, my concern is about how independent they really are as their company has a contract with the NHBC and when I asked to see whatever calculations they produced I was told that I couldn't as they were copyrighted to the NHBC!!
Caution if buying a Barratt House
SOrry to hear about your problems bying a Barratt house. If it any consolation you're not alone. After a decade of living in one, I am still finding problems that the builders had hidden and so couldn't be found in a snagging list. The initial snagging list went into over ten pages. Some of the problems could have costed someone their lives. Here are a few:-
Gas fire vent hadn't been put in properly - causing lage amounts of carbon monoxide/dioxide to come into house and overheating wall.
Shower pipes hadn't been attached properly (hidden behind tiles) discovered when they eventually came loose. Shower exit pipe hadn't been put in properly - discovered when it eventually came away.
Drain pipe clips not attached properly.
They tried to insist that my internal cupboards had been built correctly - I had to take them to the other houses before they agreed to rebuild them.
Also watch out for them using non-standard radiator pipes as it will cause your plumber problems later on. In fact get a plumber to check out all the plumbing in the house!
Have had continual drainage issues but they refuse to let me have drainage diagrams in order for me to fix myself. This has resulted in the terrace area being continually flooded.
In addition, my house/garage has had continual flooding - Barratts rebuilt downstairs three times and afterwards insisted I ask insurance company to resolve. A decade on, have still had problems - NHBC seem to be in Barratts pocket!
Many people in the area have practically rebuilt their Barrats home. These guys should really be investigated! I have only listed a few but you should also look out for poor quality wood which will begin to "weep" via the notches after a while - check out any ventilation pipes in loft areas and behind toilet holdings as these carry flue smells.
To be frank now - the only time I would even consider a Barratts house is after someone else has lived there and sorted out all the problems.
Re: Barratt Homes
People who have brought Barratt homes for the buy to let schemes are one of our biggest customers. We know that after a few years when Barratt complete one of their sites that we will get calls from disgruntled landlords with complaining tenants.
The issues above we come across regularly, the NHBC certificate is a waste of time.
They use sub-standard building materials when they build homes, the wood is the rubbish no-one else wanted. The doors are never of a standard size because they buy them in bulk from Scandinavia's cheapest supplier. They dont care about the quality its about how much they buy and how cheap they can get it.
Brian and Luigi I'm sorry to hear that you've had your fingers burnt, but in fairness you cant beat a quality local builder.
Re: Barratt Homes
"Basic complaints she had were that in Barratt show homes, they would have doors removed, supposedly to make it easier to wander around and view."
Barratts and others remove the doors to make the showhomes LOOK BIGGER than they are.
"The Grantown design doesn't have anywhere near enough radiator space used upstairs to heat it effectively. This leaves bedrooms upstairs feeling quite cool even when the downstairs is warm."
Again most builders pair the haeting specification right down to the bare minimum to save them money."
It always amazes me that with their bad reputation still over 10,000 people buy a Barratt new home every year.
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