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Developer not doing snag list

  • 01-11-2021 1:42pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,714 ✭✭✭ almostover

    Currently purchasing a 'new build' semi-d house in an estate in Cork. 1st phase of Estate was started in 2009 but never finished. Had the property snagged by a chartered engineer on 02-Sep and was told 2-3 weeks later that house was ready for a re-snag. I knew it was not and had a look myself and maybe 10% of the snags were done. Met the foreman onsite and argued about the snagging to little or no satisfaction. Got legal advice at this point and continued my communication with the foreman in writing from that point onwards to keep a paper trail. Eventually the site got around to completing the snags, complete as they saw it anyway. Had the engineer re-check today and maybe 60% of the snags are done. Some of which were done quite poorly. Some of these unfinished snags relate to attic insulation, roof tiling and a hole at the base of the newel post. The engineer remarked to me that the initial snag was one of the longest he has ever done and reminded him of the naughties boom. He said the overall finish of the house is substandard. He also alluded to having similar issues with a different developer in Cork a few weeks back where his clients were told to 'take it or leave it' when they presented the snag list he prepared to their developer. The engineer said to me that the issue here is the market, and that he finds now that some developers are taking advantage of the housing crisis to bully purchasers into accepting incomplete snags lists.

    I'm left now with the engineers advice to pursue this through my solicitor. I have spent 8 weeks disputing this snag list with the developers and am beyond frustrated. We must vacate our rental property in 5 weeks so time is running out. Some of the snags are superficial and I'm willing to overlook them. Some I consider to not be superficial and I have been disputing them with the developer for weeks to no avail. I'm handy with DIY and have help from family members but I don't see why I should be out of pocket for the developer's substandard work. Has anyone experienced something similar and how did it get resolved?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,334 ✭✭✭ Thoie

    Unfortunately this happens all the time, and it's phenomenally frustrating. I've been through it twice, and both times ended up accepting a few bits that I wish I hadn't, but the feckers just wear you down.

    In my last situation, one thing that did help was that I got a snotty letter from the developer's solicitor at some stage complaining that the sale hadn't completed. I sent them back three month's worth of daily mails (and offered to get call logs for them too) outlining all the things that were still wrong and that the delay wasn't on my side - I had been trying to get things resolved, and had taken frequent time off work to go check up items that turned out not to be finished.

    Someone mistakenly copied me on a future mail where one of the subbies got a bollocking for holding up the sale. The engineer is probably right - ask your solicitor can they send a mail to the other side stating "we'd really like to close the sale, but are being obstructed by this list of outstanding issues that your people aren't fixing ..." (but in solicitor-speak).

  • Registered Users Posts: 653 ✭✭✭ Skyrimaddict

    Id agree with the above, devs now are using the housing crisis to lean on people, knowing rentals are tight and house supply is limited.

    Go through your solicitor, complete with engineer snag list and state you wish to close out but are unable to as the list is not complete. Ask the solicitor to put in a clause around a completion time and review by engineer again.

    Do however be prepared to be told no by the developer!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,714 ✭✭✭ almostover

    Spoke to my solicitor on the phone this evening and they are going to do as both replies have suggested. State to the developer's solicitor that we want to close but there are issues getting the snag list closed out. Our solicitor also suggested going through the snag list and marking out what items we will accept incomplete as they are addressable by ourselves at a low cost and what items are red line items for us. We're not sharing this with the developer but the idea is to create a minimum threshold that we would be content with. We've also been instructed to engage with the foreman one last time once the snag list is available and try to not allow that relationship break down.

    It really goes against my personality to do this and to concede to substandard work but it seems we've little recourse in this matter. Our solicitor did say litigation is an option, but one that no side would wish to pursue. I'm hoping her contract with the developer's solicitor will bear some fruit for us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,334 ✭✭✭ Thoie

    When you're doing your red line list, think about things that will slap you in the face vs things that are hidden, but possibly crucial.

    In my case I'm happy doing quite a lot of DIY, but I know I'm awful at silicon sealant. I never get it half as neat as the people doing it every day. While that may be one of those things you think "Oh, I can do that myself", for me I know that if it was on the kitchen sink, for example, where I'd be looking at it every day, it'd bug the hell out of me. On the other hand I know that I can fill a gap in the attic insulation "good enough", even though it's a more costly/awkward job.

    Another thing to watch out for is the builders telling you "they'll still be on site for a while" and can "fix that up quickly afterwards". Point out to them that if it's that easy a fix, they should do it in advance. They did come and do a few bits and pieces after for me, but not all of them. 4 years down the line there are still things driving me nuts that I should have pushed harder for at the time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭ silver2020

    Builder will want his cash. Chances are he's paying 5-7% interest on development loans.

    I suspect its a lazy foreman and lazy person doing the snags

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,714 ✭✭✭ almostover

    I've sent the list on to my brother in law who's a carpenter and have asked him what he can and can't do. Your advice is sound, I'll be sticking to my guns most on the item I know neither he or I would feel comfortable doing. That shouldn't have to be the case, but I'm lucky I've help. I've a friend at work too who's an electrician and has offered to help if need be. Others may be not so lucky to have tradespeople friends.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,714 ✭✭✭ almostover

    That's what I'm hoping but I though the same bavk inesrly September and the builder doesn't seem too rushed in closing the sales. 2 houses have been moved into in the estate and I have been in contact with one of those people. He told me his lease was up and it was accept semi complete snagging or he, his wife and child would have been facing homelessness. It's deplorable behaviour by builders and I bet it's going on nationwide.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,883 ✭✭✭ enricoh

    Once you move in I don't fancy your chances of getting any joy. A friend worked in the office of a big builder during the tiger and every day he got multiple solicitors letters from disgruntled residents.

    They were all put in the bin unread, they wouldn't even bother finding out who sent them. Easy for me to say but I'd be soured by the whole thing n look elsewhere. Eg Could you pick up a cheap off season air bnb for a couple of months.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,714 ✭✭✭ almostover

    Contracts are signed long before one gets to snag list stage, there's no walking away and we wouldn't want to either. Overall the property is sound, it's some of the finishes are off the mark. We would stand to lose far more money by renting an Air BnB than we would by getting these snags fixed ourselves. I'm not soured by their reluctance to address the snags, frustrated yes. But the current property market won't allowed me to be soured, this isn't a unique case, as both anecdotal evidence from our engineer and some friends would attest to along with some posts here.

    I hear you on the solicitor's letter, we are going to try that avenue once before we move in. We have a warranty for 6 months cover for minor defects and 18 months for major defects post handover. I think perhaps any claims against that warranty may be ignored too but the small claims court can be useful in that respect if one is inclined to dig their heels in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,714 ✭✭✭ almostover

    So after issuing a letter through my solicitor complaining about incomplete snags and how long the fixing of snags was taking, I was invited onsite this morning to review with the site foreman. Thankfully the message seemed to have gotten through and the major snags were all remedied. We did a walkthrough and spotted and handful of minor cosmetic snags which the foreman also committed to getting put right in the next couple of days. There are still one or two items externally that are a little untidy but given the nature of the building, it's standing 12 years, I'm happy enough at this stage to close the sale.

    A frustrating experience overall but a good result in the end. It's a pity that snags have to be addressed in this way. It's a major cost to the buyer to have to hire engineers to create snag lists, basically outlining to builders to finish properties the way they should be finished. And for the buyer then to face the frustration of incessant complaining to the builder to get the snags completed. It's something that should be more regulated. It was said to me once that in Ireland one has more rights buying a kettle than one has buying a house. It's a situation that needs changing.

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