Crumbling homes hell

Phil Taylor outside his house on Newbold Road, and the extention which has been compromised by a bad batch of concrete.
Phil Taylor outside his house on Newbold Road, and the extention which has been compromised by a bad batch of concrete.

Builders and homeowners are furious and facing financial ruin after they claim defective concrete used in their construction projects started to crumble.

They say a synthetic alternative to cement, used in a large batch of concrete supplied by Chesterfield firm Coe Crete, was mixed incorrectly and is causing the foundations in various private home extensions and other projects to crumble.

Now many homeowners are being told by the council’s building control department that their new structures are unsafe and they are liable for the cost of dismantling them.

But with many home insurers not accepting liability, the homeowners are facing the prospect of having to pursue their builders for the cost of putting the work right.

Phill Taylor, of Newbold Road, Chesterfield, said the raft foundation - a large concrete slab - which had been laid under the £70,000 extension being built at his home was crumbling.

“My builder has public liability insurance but because this is about defective concrete his insurance won’t cover it,” said Phill. “Our own building insurance won’t cover it and it looks like we are going to be liable for it.

“Now I am being told I need to sue my builder - that’s all well and good but he is a one-man-band in his 60s who has not done anything wrong.

“He has supplied something which he has no control over - it just feels like nobody wants to take responsibility for this and in the meantime we have a steel beam holding up our house with two young kids inside.”

Phill said he had been told to contact the owner of Coe Crete by staff there but had so far been unsuccessful in contacting him.

But he fears that his property is just the tip of the iceberg and that as many as 20 sites across Chesterfield and north east Derbyshire could be affected.

A spokesman for NFU Mutual, the company which insures Coe Crete, said: “We are aware of issues reportedly affecting a number of people and businesses that have used Coe Crete’s products.

“We are currently in the process of working to establish what has caused these problems and considering the extent to which Coe Crete’s insurance policy could provide assistance to those affected.”

A spokesman for Chesterfield Borough Council said anyone who has been affected by or is concerned about Coe Crete products should contact Trading Standards.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Coe Crete for a comment, no one was available from the company.