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Independent body to oversee quality of new-build homes

Published: 10 February 2021 - Neil Mead

A new organisation to champion consumer rights and ensure new build homes are built to a high standard has been launched by the government.

Natalie Elphicke MP will chair the new homes quality board
Natalie Elphicke MP will chair the new homes quality board

Natalie Elphicke MP will chair the new homes quality board which will oversee consultation on a new industry code of practice and new homes ombudsman service.

"The new arrangements will lead to a step-change in how new homes are built and sold and how customers are treated. The board is committed to driving new-build quality and strengthening protections for buyers," said Ms Elphicke.

The code of practice will require developers to have an effective complaints procedure with timelines by which they have to address any problems that may arise. The new homes code will place more demands on builders from the sales process up to two years after the buyers move in.

Home Builders Federation, HBF, executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: "The industry is absolutely committed to putting measures in place to help deliver consistently high-quality new homes and effective redress for buyers.

"Recent years have seen significant improvements made in build quality and customer service and we are determined to go further."

Consumers will be offered redress

The HBF said the new arrangements would pose some challenges to the industry but would ultimately benefit both builders and customers. Consumers will have the right to go to the new homes ombudsman if they feel the developer has not satisfactorily addressed any issues. It's expected the new arrangements will go live later this year. Once they are in place, developers will need to register with the board and adopt the code.

National Federation of Building, NFB housing and policy head Rico Wojtulewicz said members of his trade body already built quality homes.

"Therefore, we will be using the upcoming consultation to remind the government and public of that. We must ensure that the best practitioners are used as a template for how positive change can be achieved."

Hank Zarihs Associates said property development finance lenders would be supportive of moves to raise standards within the sector.

Homes England will require developers participating in the help to buy equity loan scheme, to go live in April, for new-build homes to sign up to the code.


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