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‘We have nothing, we’ve lost everything’: Burst attic pipes in new-build houses destroys families’ homes just weeks after moving in

Families in Aberdeenshire have had their new-build homes flooded just weeks after moving in – destroying Christmas presents, ruining new carpets and forcing them to run into the cold with babies.

Tenants of Osprey Housing in Targetwood Drive in Inchmarlo say pipes in the attics of their homes were not insulated and they then burst after freezing in the perishing temperatures.

The semi-detached houses near Banchory are brand new, with some tenants moving in only four weeks ago.

Inspectors who came to see the damage reportedly told residents the pipes were guaranteed to just -1C, but after temperatures plummeted to -17.5C in Aberdeenshire over the last few days, residents woke to find water pouring through their light fittings and down their walls.

They were then told that their houses were unsafe, and they should find somewhere else to go.

Osprey Housing says the problem is due to “issues” with the sprinkler system in the homes and is working to provide alternative accommodation.

‘We have lost everything’

Sarah and Tegan standing in their flooded living room. Image: Wullie Marr / DC Thomson

Single mum Sarah McCusker had nowhere else to go, and was only able to grab her baby’s milk sterilizer before she had to flee the house.

Residents were told there was a danger due to live electrics in their homes.

As the The Press & Journal was interviewing another woman, she was phoned and told to switch off all her electrical items – for fear that her pipes would burst as well.

The 21-year-old said she and her baby Tegan had to get out of her house.

She said: “My baby will be six months old on Christmas Eve, and we have lost everything.

Sarah McCusker’s flooded kitchen and living room. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson

“Everything is ruined. I am a single parent and I have saved up for everything and now I can not use anything.

“The tree is ruined, the presents, everything. Even my bed that I saved so hard to buy, and the cot – clothes, everything.”

She continued: “I have been told I can not go back there to stay. The water was coming through the ceiling and onto everything.”

It is understood that 10 houses in the street have been affected. Neighbours say they saw other families packing up their cars and leaving the street.

Flooding reached electrical fittings

Water poured into Kerry Lucas’ home from next door. Image: Wullie Marr / DC Thomson

Kerry Lucas said she was told by someone sent to inspect the properties that no pipes were insulated in the attics of the house.

She said: “We are tenants of Osprey Housing , our houses are new builds. I know of four houses that have burst pipes. The water is pouring down through light fittings.

“I have been told it happened after the pipes separated because they have no insulation.”

While speaking to the The Press & Journal, Mrs Lucas said she was told to switch off all electrics in the house.

She continued: “The plumbers were at another job in the area and came to the house to see what had happened.

“It appears there are separate tanks for the sprinkler systems that the houses have in case of a fire. The pipes for those tanks have frozen and as they have contracted the pipes have split and the houses are flooded.

Water was pouring from light fittings. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson

“I have seen one inch of water. People have been left standing in the street with no where to go.”

Mrs Lucas added: “I saw my young neighbour with her baby in the street and I brought her into the house to keep her warm. Surely the housing association should have been making arrangements for people.

“Our tank has frozen and the pipes have iced over – so the same might happen to us.

“What are we supposed to do? It is very cold, and we have nowhere to go.”

Waited two years for ‘dream home’

Nicki McLaughlin was soaking wet from trying to save her belongings. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson

Mum-of-three Nicki McLaughlin had moved into her house and spent the last of her money buying carpets, that are now ruined.

She said: “This was my dream home that I waited two-and-a-half years to get into.

“I was at work so I was not able to save anything from the house.  The kid’s Christmas presents have been destroyed.

“When I did get home, I was devastated. My whole house is completely destroyed. I can not believe it.

Water covered the ground floor in Nicki McLaughlin’s home. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson

She continued: “I am soaking from being in there trying to get stuff out. The kids are at their grandparents right now – so they don’t have to see it.

“We have been so busy moving into our homes that we have not managed to get house insurance, everyone round here is in the same position.

“So we have nothing, we have lost everything. Right now they are sweeping my house out.

“It is right before Christmas and a dreadful time for this to happen.”

Investigation launched

Stacy Angus​, chief executive of Osprey Housing, said: “Due to the recent extreme weather conditions, unfortunately, some of our new properties within the development at Inchmarlo have experienced issues with a component of the fire suppressant system freezing and subsequently causing flooding as the temperature has risen.

“These properties are built to a high standard by our developers and signed off by building standards before we take ownership of them therefore this issue could not have been foreseen.

“We have since been working proactively to provide alternative accommodation for all affected tenants as well as taking preventative steps for the other properties in the scheme.

Children’s bedrooms were covered in pools of water. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson

“We will work in partnership with Kirkwood Homes, the developer of these properties to ensure our tenants are fully supported and can return to their homes as soon as possible.”

She added: “We need to conclude full investigation into the root cause of this issue, however, our current priority is dealing with our tenants immediate needs in what continues to be challenging weather conditions.

“We will take full remedial action working in partnership with Kirkwood Homes and any other relevant parties.”