The government is being called upon by industry experts to improve the current new home building quality standard to put consumers first, writes property developer Richard Carr.
Members of Parliament and a number of construction experts propose that the government sets up a New Homes Ombudsman to mediate in disputes between home buyers and builders.
The request forms a 10-part list of recommendations to improve the quality of workmanship in new homes and provide consumers with easier and cheaper forms of redress, should a problem arise.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment (APPGEBE) believe UK house builders should be upping their game when it comes to developing new build properties. APPGEBE believe they should be putting consumers at the heart of their business model and that the government should use its power to promote high quality within the industry at every opportunity.
APPGEBE’s report highlighted the important of the building control inspector and recommends that there should be a minimum level of compliance inspections. Furthermore, new home buyers should be given information about the building inspections to improve transparency.
Quality over quantity
APPGEBE is worried that the government’s intent on building one million new homes will come at a cost to quality.
“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.”
Of the 10 recommendations put forward by the group, below are some of the key ones:
- House building sales contracts should be standardised
- Buyers should have the right to inspect properties before completion
- Builders should be required to provide buyers with a comprehensive information pack
- The Department of Communities and Local Government should commission a thorough review of warranties
- A minimum standard set for compliance inspections
As a property developer, Richard believes that it’s hugely important that building standards are improved. Although the country is in desperate demand of new homes, this shouldn’t reduce the quality of the final product.