Park Home Underfloor Scams and Lies.

The ‘Floor Bounce’ scam

The ‘Surveyor’ or ‘Salesman’ is invited into your Home to test the floor. He’s a big chap, finds the least supported part of your floor (usually the middle of a unit, not the centre-join of two units) and proceeds to jump up and down on the floor. Consequently the furniture moves, the windows rattle and ornaments fall over.

‘Your Home needs full re-support.’ says he, and the poor householder falls for it, when usually, it’s only the coach bolts that need tightening or most probably nothing wrong at all.

A 17 stone bloke jumping on a wooden floor is always going to cause problems.

The ’Got some jacks left over’ scam

No 1. The doorbell goes, a chap tells you they have some jacks left over from a job. Do you have any creaks coming from your floor? Would you like them to put them under your home?

I would say 100% of Park Homes have a creak or two. It’s a timber framed home and creaks will come and go with the weather. I live in a bricks and mortar house and the stairs and upstairs floors creak like crazy. You’ll pay well over the odds for Supports that you don’t need. Don’t fall for it.

No. 2. The doorbell goes, a chap tells you they have some jacks left over from a job. Do you have any creaks coming from your floor? ‘Look’ says he, ‘we can’t hang about, we’re due at another job. What we’ll do is you pay for them now, we’ll leave them here and come back later to fit them for you.’

Of course, you’ll never see them again …

We use a ‘rust-inhibiting paint.’

 Why not say which paint you use? We only use Hammerite – and we say so. They’re using a cheap and cheerful metal paint or even primer, which is no use unless it’s covered with a top coat. Ask what you’re getting or you’ll end up having to have it done again a couple of years later.

The ‘only paint near the hatch’ scam

You have engaged a Refurbisher to paint your chassis. They’re under there for a couple of hours, finally reappearing to say ‘All done. Would you like to check our work?’ They know the vast majority of Park Home residents are either incapable or unwilling to go under the Home to check – and they certainly don’t offer you photos of what they’ve done. So, you kneel down at the hatch and look under. Yes, it’s a wonderful job – NEAR THE HATCH – but completely untouched elsewhere.

The ‘it’ll cause more problems levelling the Home than leaving it as it is.’ scam.

This is the ‘get-out of work they can’t do’ lie used by the self-proclaimed and heavily-advertised ‘leading underfloor refurbishment company’. They claim they do it on their web sites and advertising but when they’re surveying/estimating they’ll tell you it can’t be done. Rubbish. Every Park Home can be levelled – even homes with added porches and conservatories. They want your other easy work, so they lie to get out of work they can’t do.

The ‘miracle superfoil’ or ‘bubblewrap’ underfloor insulation scam.

It’s ALWAYS poorly fitted, the edges are never sealed, it’s loose around pipework and wiring and it’s a ‘cowboy builders’ dream. There’s no prep needed, it can be fitted in a couple of hours, and again, it always looks great near the hatch. You’d be better off lining the floor with Bacofoil. Save up or take a loan out to have it done properly otherwise you are just wasting your money.

 The ‘distorted survey’ scam.

You engage an Underfloor Company to survey beneath your home. 99 times out of 100, they will report that the chassis needs refurbishing and the supports need replacing. What they won’t tell you about are the other problems the Home may have – eg cracked base, poor plumbing, worm or rot in the floor bearers and the Home out-of-level. They won’t tell you because THEY DON’T DO THAT KIND OF WORK!

The Surveyor who likes backhanders.

Many new buyers of Park Homes are green as grass. Many don’t even realise the Park Home is built on a wheeled chassis. Seeing a brick skirting, many folk think the home has a solid brick base. The sensible ones have a Survey carried out. Unfortunately, some of these Surveyors go out of their way to criticise the state of the chassis when the vast majority of Park Home steel chassis’ will see us all out, rusty or not. So they rubbish the chassis and in their notes put the contact details of the underfloor refurbisher that gives them a £50 gift (or bribe) for every lead.

The Surveyor who hasn’t a clue.

This is a proper scandal. The biggest (and I mean THE biggest) outside Refurbishment Companies have Surveyors that are experts on roofs, walls, windows, but have not got the first idea of the underfloor area of Park Homes. They tell you that everything is fine below the home and go on to sell you £10, 20, 30 grand’s worth of work to the outside. So you go ahead with the work only to find out in the future that the Home’s out-of-level, poorly supported, the sides of the home are drooping because there’s no support at the sides for the added weight of new roof, walls and windows that the original home was not designed for. Try selling that in the future – unless of course you engage this chap …

… the Surveyor who’s working for the Park Owner

You engage a Surveyor to examine the Home you’re  buying. He reports that the underfloor area is fine or that there’s one or two minor problems. What is actually happening is that the Surveyor is hand-in-glove with the Park Owner. The Park Owner wants the home sold and for a top price. If there’s no problems, the Park Owner gets 10% of a top price. If there’s problems and the selling price is reduced, the Park Owner gets a reduced 10%, so therefore, it’s in his interests to give the Surveyor a cash backhander to overlook problems below the home. The Seller’s happy, the Park Owner’s happy, the Surveyor’s happy but the new owner has been robbed blind and may end up with an unsalable home or expensive problems in the future.

Thinking you’ve got yourself a good deal by paying cash.

Whoop-de-doop. You’ve saved yourself a few hundred by paying cash, rather than paying the VAT. The trouble is, you’ve got no paperwork, no invoice, no evidence that they ever did the work. If they’re willing to take a cash payment, they’re dishonest and the work is going to be very poor quality. You’ve got no comeback if there’s problems, and you’re also an accessory to a fraudulent transaction.

Customs and Excise are no fools and any examination of a Company’s records will find a discrepancy – eg materials bought on the day near your Park, with your name and address in diaries and appointment books and your number on phone records.

Glowing testimonials by Customers that haven’t got a clue …

 ‘Oh they were so quick!’ They’ve rushed the work. No proper prep, a quick cosmetic job. In and out in 6 hours and it’s just cost you £2500.

‘Oh they were so clean! The outside may well be spotless, but underneath, the base  still looks like the fly-tipped rubbish depository it was when they first started.

‘We were kept informed throughout the job.’ Indeed you were, but only about the things they can actually do. You weren’t informed about the things they can’t or won’t do.

‘They did a wonderful job.’ How do you know? They’ve provided no photos of what they’ve done.

A Clean Bill of Health?

It’s no secret that the vast majority of Park Home residents are Senior Citizens (or Pensioners in old money.) Although it’s fabulous to be retired and not subject to the daily commute and the treadmill of work, it’s not so fabulous to be dogged by health problems, which is the lot of many older folk.

High up among these problems are respiratory diseases and an increased risk of coughs, colds, asthma and for ex and current smokers, emphysema.

There’s been all sorts of research done on the effects of damp, mould, humidity and poor air quality in bricks and mortar, but very little on the effects of those same dangers in Park Homes.

Now, I’m no Scientist – I managed to get Biology ‘O’ Level, but failed miserably with Physics and Chemistry – however, in common with most of us, I have a PhD in the University of Life or the School of Hard Knocks as it’s sometimes known. Years spent diagnosing and fixing problems beneath Park Homes however, gives me an advantage over the Scientists!

This experience, plus a bit of logic, screams to me that many Park Home residents are suffering because they are living above what can only be described as a swamp. I’m talking about the crawl space, the underfloor area, that uninviting, hidden and rarely-ventured two-foot high repository of chassis, jacks, floor bearers and plumbing.

 

Water and damp beneath your Park Home can be caused by plumbing leaks (waste pipes, soil pipes, mains, hot & cold feed and washing machine/dishwasher), or rainwater (leaking or flowing through the skirting or from overfilled rain water catchment barrels, leaking guttering/downpipes, lack of soakaways and sloping concrete bases.)

In itself, water below your home isn’t a health problem, as long as your home’s below floor moisture barrier is intact or has had aftermarket decent insulation fitted properly. If the moisture barrier has been breached or has no moisture barrier at all, or the under floor insulation is poor (which is the case with many older homes from the 70’s and 80’s) then there is a high risk of damp and mould and the subsequent health problems associated with such dangers.

If you’ve mouldy patches on the skirting or walls indoors or inside cupboards and wardrobes, if the floor or carpet feels damp or the floor spongy, you have underfloor damp/water problems.

What makes the situation worse is the high probability that a home with crawl space water/damp issues also has dirt, debris, excess mortar, builders rubbish and general muck laying about. This holds the water, making drainage and evaporation very difficult. Once you have this situation, it rapidly attracts rats and mice. The patter of tiny feet in the walls, roof or below the floor is a warning sign. The disgusting stench from below the floor from a dead rat is not something I would wish on my worst enemy!

Again, the prescence of vermin in your crawl space is not conducive to good health for Park Home residents, never mind the damage they can do to your plastic plumbing, insulation and moisture barrier.

A clean, dry and well-maintained crawl space is an essential first step to better health for Park Home residents. Ask your Doctor or other Health professional if this would be beneficial to your health. Get on to Environmental Health at your Local Council if you suspect problems below your Home – that’s what you pay Council Tax for!

No other Park Home Refurbishment or Chassis Company cleans out the underfloor area, disposes of all rubbish and rectifies damp and flooding problems.

Call the Chassis Doctor on 01234 300587 for a Survey/Inspection and let us set your mind at rest.

Should I have my Park Home Surveyed?

There still appears to be a laissez-faire kind of attitude to Park Home Surveys. I find this quite incredible.

Now look, I know a little bit about cars – I used to own a Triumph GT6 Mk II and if you’ve ever had to change the rotoflex couplings on one, you’ll know where I’m coming from – and have done the vast majority of the maintenance on the succession of vans I’ve owned ever since. But I wouldn’t even buy a £2k runabout without having an independent inspection carried out on it.

Out there in Park Home Fantasyland, you’ve got folk paying out vast – and I mean vast – sums, some new Homes reaching nearly £300k nowadays, and they won’t -whether through ignorance or trust in the salesman or indeed that laissez-faire attitude – fork out for an independent £400-odd survey. Madness.

First things first, you should only ever buy any kind of Park Home after having a Survey. That includes new as well as old.

I’ve lost count of the number of folk who claim that they didn’t need a survey because they themselves have or they know somebody else who’s been in the building trade all his life. There’s little comparison between bricks and mortar and Park Homes – even the common features of roof, walls and windows are completely different materials and construction.

If you’re a buyer and fail to have a survey carried out, you are entering a possible world of pain, both financial and mental … and with some homes, possibly physical too! Just because the vast majority of Park Home residents are older folk does not mean that they are all sweetness and light and upstanding citizens … they’re just like the rest of us with the same proportion of good and bad and middling.

By that I mean that amongst the honest folk there’s the same ratio of bodgers, misers, conmen and cheats that are in the rest of society. So what might outwardly seem a beguiling purchase may not be what it purports to be. Without a Survey, you’ll never know until the problems start when you get to know the Home.

So why New Homes and Lodges as well? Surely they come with all sorts of guarantees and suchlike I hear you say. Indeed they do, but any New Home could have underfloor faults that you wouldn’t even know about until years later, that’s beside any snagging problems that any new Home would have whether bricks and mortar or Park Home.

Poor initial siting of the Home can lead to problems throughout the life of it. The problems we see – including but not limited to – sloping/flooding concrete bases, homes neither supported nor levelled correctly, no air gap, poor paint finish on the chassis, gaping utilities holes in the moisture barrier/insulation, unlagged or poorly lagged pipes, excess mortar and muck, dirt and debris strewn throughout and water leaks from poorly fitted wastes, soil and sometimes feed pipes. Outside we’ve seen brick steps too heavy for the ground, leaking gas connections, lack of airbricks in skirting and poor drainage.

A good Surveyor will find all these faults and you have the chance to have them put right – at the Seller’s expense and headache rather than yours – before you move in – or get the money off the sale for you to get it done yourself to your satisfaction.

There’s a world of difference in having the Home and its’ faults (if any I hasten to add, there are folk who do a great job out there) sorted before you move in.

Once you’re in and you begin to find faults, you will have to play the old ‘Whose responsibility is it?’ game. Park Owner/Manager? Siters? Manufacturer? Gold/Platinum Seal Warranty? Estate Agent? Insurance?

I would imagine you’ve got better and more fruitful things to do.

Get it independently surveyed, old or new before you move in. You’ll thank me one day.

 

Park Home Surveys

If you’re just looking at an underfloor/crawl space Survey, contact us on 01234 300587.

However, if you’re in need of a Survey for the whole Home, the site and its’ environs, we can thoroughly recommend Subject II Survey of Bicester.

 

 

 

 

 

Chassis Doctor Ltd

Hi and welcome to our Web Site/Blog.

We’re here to give advice to Park Home residents and to cut through all the nonsense and downright lies that most Park Home Refurbishers and Chassis Companies spout.

We’re based in Bedford, but cover most of England and Wales. Due to the distances & time involved, we do charge more for work oop North or in the deep south-west of Cornwall and very west Wales. Don’t blame us if you live there, blame the rubbish road system and the fact we pay our lads very well to carry out what is probably the worst job in the world … travelling for hours to and from jobs means they still have to be paid and the Company isn’t earning!

We’re not beholden to any Park Home Manufacturer, we don’t have any ties to Park Home Refurbishers, we don’t get kickbacks from anyone. We’re not members of any Industry back-slapping and price-fixing organisations and we don’t have any arrangements with Park Owners. We don’t advertise in the glossy magazines titled ‘Park Home this and that’ because they accept adverts from anyone with the money and carry out no background checks or assurances as to how qualified they are to do the work they’re touting for.

We’re completely – and proudly – independent.

If we recommend someone, it’s because we’ve seen their work and seen their prices.  There are plenty of cowboys in this Industry and we know who they are. This doesn’t only include the doorknockers  and ‘Rogue Trader’ conmen – some of the biggest rip-off merchants are among the best known names in the Industry.

What this means is that we work solely – and uniquely – for you. We’re not cheap, but neither are we expensive. We charge fair prices, use the best equipment and the best materials.

Our Underfloor Surveys are the best in the business. We won’t lie to you. If something needs doing, we’ll tell you and that includes things we don’t do – for instance, we’ll advise if you need an Electrical or Gas check – we won’t hold back for fear of ‘losing the job’.

We’re not everyone’s cup of tea and we accept that. If you don’t like straight talking, don’t call, simple as that.

OK, enough of the negatives!

We’re very, very good at what we do. Whether it’s a complete underfloor refurbishment to just a Jack replacement, we carry out the job with a high degree of professionalism and care.

We give full 10 year Guarantees on our work and photograph everything before, during and after the work so that you can see for yourselves exactly what we’ve done, and so you have a record to show prospective buyers if you ever come to  sell your home and the peace of mind of knowing that all has been carried out to the letter.

Email us or give us a call today and put your mind at rest.

01234 300587

info@chassisdoc.co.uk