Poor mortar impacting on homeowners
Published: 06 Dec 2018

A BBC programme, the Victoria Derbyshire show, has found that new homes across the UK have been built with weak mortar, resulting in 'crumbling homes'.

Reports have apparently been made identifying houses on at least 13 estates, built by different companies, with the problem, though it is difficult to know the true extent of the issue as some homeowners have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to claim compensation.

The National House Building Council recommends that mortar in most areas in the UK should be made of one part cement to 5.5 parts sand. In areas subject to severe weather, the cement levels should increase to make it more durable. However, as the BBC explains, laboratory tests on mortar used on a home built in Glasgow in 2012 found that the amount of sand was nearly three times higher than recommended.

Steve Turner, from the Home Builders Federation, said builders "generally have their mortar provided by large accredited suppliers... [who] have clear quality assurance and testing processes to ensure mixes are delivered as required," and that there were "very few instances we're aware of where defective mortar has been used."

A spokesperson for the National House Building Council said "We work with builders to help them improve the construction quality of the homes they build. However, it is the builder who is ultimately responsible for the quality of the new homes they build."

In response to crumbling mortar, it is believed that solicitors are advising some customers not to go public until the issue has been resolved with the builder. In some other cases, it looks like repairs have been made and compensation has been paid, but the owner has been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement which stops the homeowner from talking to others about the problems they have faced.