I have not seen anything about Antler homes on this site before so let me be the first to dispel the myth that they portray of being a company at the upper end of the quality marke with ‘renowned attention to detail’. See their website at Antlerhomes.co.uk for more hype.

My wife and moved into one of their ‘Gold’ standard properties in Cranleigh on 1st September. Things started to go wrong from day one when they cancelled the hand-over meeting at 2 hours notice. The estate agent met us, give us the keys, took the meter readings and left. There was no follow-up from Antler and we are still waiting for the hand-over (maybe this Friday!). The Company Sales Director is totally ineffective, ignores emails and clearly resents having to talk to mere mortals so we have stopped wasting our time on him. On one occasion the whole of the Antler team was on an NHBC course for a week making communication virtually impossible. On another occasion the sales team were allegedly all at the races for the day!

The house itself has a very high specification throughout but they have allowed complete idiots to do the work, wrecking quality fixtures and finishes and they seem incapable of putting matters right. Some examples include, externally, different colour pointing to brickwork, broken and cracked stone sills, damaged window frames and fascias. Internally, we have uneven plastering, sloping sills, badly fitting doors, botched bathroom vanity units and staircase rails that don’t line up. The list of items extends to about 6 pages of closely typed notes!

Antler’s initial response was to send back a stream of the original sub-contractors to try and put things right. They were incapable of doing so because of course they had already proved that they either couldn’t give a damn or were incompetent, or both. They actually made some problems worse, including the one-eyed painter who didn’t take his shoes off or use a dust sheet.

Throughout this, the site manager set about trying to mislead us with assurances that issues would be picked up at the ‘six month check’. We found out that there was no such check. He kept quiet about missing specification items we were entitled to or claimed they were ‘extras’ when challenged. Antler loves this guy because he appears to have a reputation for building houses quickly. Antler get their money sooner and hope that they can get away with the defects. Clearly, some people do accept botched work but we don’t. I guess that overall it is cheaper for Antler to take the chance, or am I being very cynical? His boss, the Contract Manager, seems incapable of getting to grips with the snagging problems. We get the standard “I’ll get on to itâ€? response every time but little action.

We wrote to the MD with a bundle of horrendous pictures that made me weep when I printed them off. He apologised and said he would come and see us after receiving a report from his Building Director. The report was done but the MD left the company a couple of weeks later. Turns out he had given his notice in 4 months earlier!

We now have a crack A team parachuted in to sort out the problems. This followed the arrival of 2 bricklayers who spend a week cutting out the pointing with the wrong colour mix, only to repoint it again…..with the wrong colour mix. They are now talking about staining the pointing!

Internally, they have repositioned a vanity basin and chipped a fascia panel, chipped a window frame whist replacing a sill and managed to partially re-decorate three rooms. Their approach to redecorating is basically: rub down then partially repaint, preferably in the wrong colour and proudly tell us that they have finished. They don’t worry their heads about dusting off the walls or sanding down filler they have added or even usingthe original spec paint. They spend 4 hours a day getting to us, then with lunch, tea and endless cigarettes breaks they do about three hours work. They arrive without a clue as to what they should be doing, with the wrong tools and no idea where they can get hold of materials needed. Every question we ask is met with “you’ll have to ask Rob about that”. Rob is the boss of this motley team but we can’t speak to him because they won’t give us his mobile number and he doesn’t visit the site to supervise his men. Anyway, I asked them to leave this morning because they were ruining our house. They toddled off but later came back to do work on one of the other three properties on the development…poor devils!

We have a summit meeting tomorrow to try and agree a way forward after I let rip to the Contract Manager and Director into their mobiles last night, but basically I have no confidence in Antler’s ability to sort this out at present.

I would prefer to engage a local professional builder to complete as many of the works as possible with Antler providing the materials and covering their costs. Has anyone tried this approach successfully?

We battle on, but I would strongly advise anyone against buying an Antler property at the present time. They have a new MD so perhaps it would be best to see if he can sort them out first.

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