“Response time is slow to snail pace”

Discussion in 'Countryside Properties' started by kurtstadler, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. kurtstadler

    kurtstadler New Member

    End of September 2013 we bought a property from Countryside Properties at their Abode development in Cambridge, Great Kneighton.

    Now, end of June 2014 and after a big amount of patience and energy invested, we think it is time to share our expereince of how Countryside is handling snags. Not that we expected a completely snag-free property, but our surprise of how many snags we collected, and how much time and energy it costs to get them resolved, was great!

    In fact we handle two snag lists, one for snags inside the flat (42 snags), a second one dealing with issues regarding the attached winter garden (18 snags).

    Snags inside the flat: to be fair, some of the snags were minor, and anyhow, 9 months later, all but one snag have been repaired! But the issue is the incredibly long process to get things done. Since October 2013, in average, we had one interaction per week with customer service – w/o intense communication, nagging, pleading, we would still have most of the snags unsolved (other neighbours are still waiting for their repairs!). Uncountable breaks from work were necessary in order to be present whenever a repairman was announced, who often had to come several times, due to different reasons (no material, to ask their bosses what to do, insufficient repair, etc).

    Winter garden: the REAL scandal is in regard to the second snag list - just ONE snag has been resolved within 9 months (insufficiently), all the other 17 are still open or under discussion! Weeks of discussions, false promises to send information updates, and still up to now no date fixed when, and how many of the snags will be repaired.

    As a summary I can only repeat what other posters already wrote:

    timearnshaw (in 2006, 8 years later this is still true): "almost anything I report to Countryside is simply passed onto the relevant subcontractor who then contacts you to arrange a time to come and resolve. Invariably they work 9am-4pm Monday to Friday, are not able to provide you with a specific time during the day that they will attend, and generally you have to wait weeks before they are able to”

    StructuralAssistance: “… response time is sllllowwww to snail pace. Beautiful properties. Questionable rigidity.”


    Countryside customer service works unprofessional, re-active, and only if customers spend a ridiculous amount of energy on permanently nagging the responsible people. This is VERY disappointing, indeed!

    Will keep you updated about further progress ...
     
  2. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert New Member

    Welcome to the world of new home ownership!
    Countryside appear to be just like every other big house builder.
    You have been warned people!
     
  3. kurtstadler

    kurtstadler New Member

    at newhomeexpert: does your message contribute in terms of advise, help or new information? if no, its just jamming the thread ....
     
    somersetgirl likes this.
  4. duedaux

    duedaux New Member

    unbelievable snags and incredible delays to resolve these issues

    --------------------//-------------------
    I also bought a Countryside property at Great Kneighton last September[2013], and have joined the club with other fellow owners in the building having to wait for repairs. Such as a cracked hob; the wonderful Smeg kitchen where the plastic doors are pealing away; [In September there was only one door affected, 10 months later there are 6!] and the worst problems are with the winter garden. Over 10 months, we had non stop leaks - from water precipitating through the floors above when owners watered their plants or cleaned their winter garden floors. Countryside told owners not to use water hoses nor hose down windows, this itself did little to correct the problem that there was no water -proofing in between floors. So when there were heavy rains, I had a deluge of water cascading through the floors and flooding my winter garden. My personal effects have subsequently been soiled and plants killed off. They have called subcontractors to close some of the 2-3 inch gaps between the windows and bricks,but the tinkering have not really resolved the problem as there is no where for the water to flow through when it rains heavily... apart from into my winter garden itself ! so much for the comforts of this well acclaimed winter gardens. We have been promised to have this corrected, we are still waiting... together with 6-8 other owners.
     
  5. kurtstadler

    kurtstadler New Member

    A few days after posting my text things moved significantly. From today, all currently known snags inside our flat are now finally repaired (other neighbours are still waiting for some to be repaired).
    Work at the winter garden snags started yesterday in full force, so the major issues may be resolved by next week.
    This was achieved due to strong support from site management - Paul Harding and your team, many thanks!

    It's really a pity that this company, which actually builds very nice buildings with good structural quality (sound proof, good energy insulation, etc), has such a weak Customers Service, handling snags very inefficiently - for sure they are advised to improve.
    Tip: request that Site Management remains responsible until all (major) snags have been resolved - they are far more efficient, flexible and knowledgable on details.
     
  6. duedaux

    duedaux New Member

    Cant agree more!

    -----------------------------------------//-----------------------------------
    I cannot agree more, Kurt!!.
    It is a pity that we had to persistently complain before any action was really taken, and resolutions found in correcting leaks in the winter garden, which was basically poor structural design on the part of the architectural designers, that had not thought of water proofing the floors - to prevent water precipitation throughout the floors. I am glad that water proofing is being installed on the above floors as this will prevent the deluge of collected water from the floors above to end on my winter garden floor on the ground floor!
    I finally had a visit from one of the Directors & he promised to have the winter garden; cracked smeg hob and peeling smeg [ again]kitchen doors replaced[ fingers crossed!].
    So you folks out there who have snags- persist. It will take week/ months... but it will get fixed :)
    Oh, the key is to keep the site manager on board,as he's the guy that will make it happen!!
     
  7. kurtstadler

    kurtstadler New Member

    Final update: since Countryside finally decided to give the complaining owners full attention (see my previous post) and to focus professionally on the repair of all snags reported since long, they now really did a good job - I am ready to apreciate this! Little work is still left, but the measures for repair they decided on are efficient and according to the needs of us customers.
    Why not months earlier? A lot of anger and energy would have been saved - but lets remain positive, "better late than never" ...
     
  8. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert New Member

    It just shows what CAN happen, when new home owners with problems, get organised, get busy and take charge of their own destiny.
    The consumer power of the Internet and social media is immense.
    As I have always said, "its the squeaky wheel that gets the oil"
     
  9. charliegirl

    charliegirl New Member

    I've been waiting ten months for Countryside Properties to do repairs and my snagging list.
     
  10. charliegirl

    charliegirl New Member

    kurtstadler likes this.
  11. kurtstadler

    kurtstadler New Member

    One should never post a "final update" as long as not ALL problems have been really solved!
    More than a month ago I optimistically wrote in my most recent post: "Little work is still left ...".
    True, the remaining work is "little" in comparison to the big issues we had to wait for for months to be repaired. But it is still "big" enough to be relevant to have these issues properly repaired.
    Now we are again back in an endless waiting loop: no reaction from Countryside Customer Services. After the 5th reminder we were informed that "as soon as I have the relevant information to be able to progress both avenues I will provide you a full update."
    And guess what - since then this "relevant information" is still not available ...
     
  12. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert New Member

    As you said:
    It is never a good idea to praise and commend house builders, even those that do eventually put right defect that should have existed in the first place!
    Now Countryside have a permanent positive post that puts them in a favourable light which is at odds with how you actually feel now and the reality for most of their buyer's experiences going by the youtube videos!
     
  13. kurtstadler

    kurtstadler New Member

    Yes I finally learned that being nice to them - just because they started repairing issues they should have started already months ago - is nonsense. Especially when you recognize that even this work has not been done properly. And that one has to poke them again for weeks until they even acknowledge one's complains.

    Why are they so resistent to become more profesional and customer oriented? Why do they prefer to have frustrated customers instead of satisfied ones? What is the longterm gain in that? Even pure greed is no explanation, because they lose trust in the long term, which is of no help to stay greedy .... It remains a big riddle ...
     
  14. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert New Member

    No one would seek to annoy their customers.
    With house building it is usually a mixture of indifference, laziness and incompetence.
     
  15. kurtstadler

    kurtstadler New Member

    Almost two years ago, I naïvelly wrote a “final update”, because all internal snags had been resolved (an incredible number of 42, and it took a year to repair them). And at this time Countryside had started to repair the remaining winter garden snags (17) – which looked promising.
    wer
    Until the next heavy rain set in - which proved that the repair had some positive effect, but was by far not solving the problems. We also found out that the balconies were not equipped with a drainage, which is a prerequisite for wintter gardens, according to NHBC rules.

    Since then we have sent further dozens of emails to Countryside Customer Servic – still the winter gardens are leaking! This is now ongoing since 2.5 years!
    We informed NHBC 6 months ago – this at least led to a “promise” from Countryside to completely renovate all these winter gardens – but up to now we did not receive any details on what will be done – and when.

    In the meantime other (communal) issues joined the long list of problems.
    The electric gate of our parking court broke down 4 times, always shortly after its repair – each took weeks and months (the problem is known since Nov 2014).
    4 months ago we asked Countryside to clarify why our central heating systems show a high percentage of transport loss – after several promises we are still waiting for a clarifying report.
    And there is a number of further snags open since months/years.

    This is an endless story!
     
  16. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert New Member

    They certainly are!
    Once the site managers leave a site, buyers are in the hands of housebuilder's customer care.
    These are normally people who just answer the phone for a living!
    They have no experience of how a home is built, what the defect is likely to be caused by and are useless at managing and coordinating remedial works.
    The best customer care managers would be ex site managers but they wouldn't want that job!
     

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