Calls for new home building quality to be improved in UK

Taylor Scott International News

Members of Parliament in the UK and construction experts are calling on the Government to set up a New Homes Ombudsman to mediate in disputes between home buyers and house builders. This is one of 10 recommendations setting out measures to improve the quality of workmanship in new homes and provide consumers with easier and cheaper forms of redress, to get problems fixed. According to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment (APPGEBE) house builders should be upping their game and putting consumers at the heart of their business model and the Government should use its influence to promote quality at every opportunity. ‘The Government is intent on seeing the construction of one million new homes within the course of this Parliament. However, our view is that increasing the quantity of new homes must not be achieved at the expense of their quality,’ said Chairman of the group, Oliver Colvile. ‘It is clear to us that there is a quality gap between customer demands and industry delivery. Closing this gap will only come about, we believe, if housebuilders make a concerted effort to create a more consumer focused culture. From the evidence we heard, consumers want to see an improved quality of build, homes that are fit for purpose and an easy to understand warranty,’ he pointed out. He added that when something is wrong, consumers want an affordable and accessible means of putting it right. ‘To this end we have set out a series of measures to redress the imbalance between buyers and sellers,’ he said. The report says that the role of the building control inspector is a key part of the process and it recommends that there should be a minimum level of compliance inspections. It also says that new home buyers should be given information about the building inspections carried out as this will improve transparency. The role of a New Homes Ombudsman would include mediating disputes between consumers and their builders or warranty providers to offer a quick resolution procedure paid for by a housebuilders’ levy. The report also recommends that house building sales contracts should be standardised as this would remove much of the uncertainty that presently arises from the bespoke nature of each builder’s sales contract, which can deter so many from pursuing claims Buyers should have the right to inspect properties before completion and this would discourage builders from serving notices to complete prematurely, or concealing major defects until after they have received the full purchase price, and would also encourage better quality control and site management pre-completion Builders should be required to provide buyers with a comprehensive information pack, the aim being to improve transparency of the design, building and inspection process. The pack should contain information including, designs and plans, specifications and details about both warranty and building control inspections, when carried out and by whom. The report suggests that the Department of Communities and Local Government should commission a thorough… Taylor Scott International

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