New Build Rights Alliance
Whilst being aware of the current trend in the reporting and media coverage of major cases where new build home owners feel aggrieved at the issues they have had to overcome the NBRA felt it was important to conduct our own survey and view the real time results.
In order to have a comparison to work with we used the Home Building Federations (HBF) questions as home owners are asked to complete this survey following moving in to their new property and which we understand the National House Building Council (NHBC) collate and use to improve their warranty policies. We are not keen on the surveys being handed out to new build owners and reply’s sought within such a short period of time as we feel this doesn’t reflect their true experiences as it could be said that after having moved into a home that the owners are still within a ‘Honeymoon Period’ and have yet to experience any major issues or notice abnormalities, being unresolved snagging or defects or quality issues.
The NBRA appreciate that this research whilst small scale it does offer a comparison to the story being told by other results and we feel it is important to have an appreciation of consumers who have experienced the whole process and those who have had a poor experience for a product which is undoubtedly the largest purchase that many people make in their lives. We would recommend that consumers are revisited and asked to complete a second survey at the end of the Developers liability period and results kept on each Developer to not only improve customer service but the New Homes Ombudsman to monitor quality issues and consumer feeling. In the interest of transparency, we shared our results with the HBF and NHBC.
We hope you enjoy our report and we are always happy to discuss this further if you are able in the first instance to email the NBRA via firstname.lastname@example.org
New Build Rights Alliance (NBRA) Ltd – July 2020
We asked our audience for their feedback on the number of reports that were raised due to Construction rubbish left outside your house or the cleanliness of the internal areas where 21% reported yes and 79% reported no. Whilst we appreciate that in many cases works on other phases are ongoing and many customers are essentially living on a building site for many months it is essential that areas are cleared down and made safe of potential H&S hazards.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the finish or quality of the brickwork, unfilled areas around the windows, air vents blocked or pre-planted boarders where 79% Reported yes and 21% reported no. Areas of unfilled brickwork around windows should be picked up prior to final sign off or at least logged by the site manager for operatives to return before it causes issues relating to water ingress damaging the insulation or fire stopping within the cavity or if in the spring access to nesting birds.
Our audience reported that the number of Snagging issues with any window issues such as gaps, damage being scratches or misting, window keys missing, trickle vents not operating or issues with window handles being stiff to use where 79% reported yes and 21% reported no. Windows are not included as part of the Structural warranty of a property and therefore issues need to be identified and reported whilst the property is within the Developers Liability period. It is not always the case that the windows are covered by a Fensa warranty as some Developers employ tradespeople directly to install the windows whom are not regulated installers.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the flooring being unlevel, showing areas of damage or unfinished, or creaking stairs or bouncing floors where 79% reported yes and 21% reported no. Many issues the NBRA have seen are linked to the floors bouncing and creaking are due to the fact the Robust method of construction has not been followed correctly. Staircases are classified as a structural item and in the event that the Developers do not address the NBRA team has had experience of raising warranty claims for staircase defects where it was found that the correct technique had not been applied to stop movement and poor quality materials were used to construct the risers and treads.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the finish of the tiling being grouting issues or missing or uneven silicon beads where 79% reported yes and 21% reported no. Issues with tiling are important as they are installed in areas such as toilets and kitchens where if water ingress is able to access behind the tiles can cause many more issues such as tiles blowing off the walls or water damage to ceilings, walls and base units if within a kitchen environment. Not spotted or dealt with can quickly result in further damage.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the kitchen worktops, the operation of doors or draws, extractor fans not working, poor quality plumbing, water flow from taps, or issues with toilet flushing where 79% reported yes and 21% reported no It is the NBRA’s view that much of our skill base has been lost as these were typically traditional jobs that our historical work force was always able to undertake. It may also indicate a lack of Clerk of works on sites overseeing the quality process and time constraints being placed on the Developers contractors to undertake the works.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the finish or quality of the paintwork, nail pops showing or areas around switches and pipes where 93% reported yes and 7% reported no The final appearance of a property is paramount and whilst we are aware that Developers will only instruct Painters and Decorators to apply a trade paint designed to use over fresh plaster it is important that quality is achieved to meet the technical standards of the warranty provider. In many cases new owners redecorate and Social Housing Shared Owners or Tenants are asked not to decorate for the first year to ensure any works clearly out of tolerance are identified and addressed by the Developers.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the operation of the heating system, radiators fixed to wall, leaks from pipework/ Mechanical Ventilation systems, or light switches installed incorrectly or not working where 71% reported yes and 29% reported no. The Mechanical and Electrical issues reported were extraordinarily high and extremely concerning as all works are undertaken by experienced trade ops who have in many cases official status to relevant industry regulatory registers such as Gas safe or NICEIC.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with depth of insulation, un-lagged pipework, boarding or ventilated fans extractor pipes showing peaks or troughs where 36% reported yes and 64% reported no. We were not surprised at the fact owners reported a lower rate of issues with insulation, un-lagged pipework and extraction pipework as this is usually hidden whereby potentially issues are not highlighted for some time therefore only being reported to the Developer in instances where there is damage due to water seeping back into fans or if issues regarding high heating bills are investigated.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the fences being unfinished, gates not closing or boundary wall issues where 57% reported yes and 43% reported no. Fencing and boundary walls regularly feature in questions asked by followers of the NBRA. Questions range from wooden fence posts that have given way due to inadequate depth or inadequate fixings and snapping in areas prone to high winds due to incorrect installation where posts have no bases and have rotted out. It appears that the works are not overseen and when there is an issue the Developers liability period has lapsed leaving it the responsibility of the owner. We have seen evidence on our Social media pages where legal claims have started as the Developer has not been transparent with boundary issues causing yet more complaints.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues where any block paving has dipped, showing signs of water pooling, uneven or loose paving where 64% reported yes and 36% reported no. Paving be it at the front or rear of the property appears regularly. In many cases it is due to the sub base not being correctly laid either due to the wrong materials being used or it not being bedded in correctly before the blocks are laid. When used within communal car parks this can cause the drainage manholes to appear risen and cause damage to residents’ cars. Loose paving at the front of the property is a H&S issue for any visitors to the property and when investigated it is generally the case that the paving stones have very little or no mortar securing these in place.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with raised or sunken manholes, blockages, downpipes from gutters pooling or not working during rainfall where 57% reported yes and 43% reported no Unfortunately, the mains drains can be affected by rubble, soil or construction waste such as plaster or mortar which in turn affects their ability to work effectively backing up. Gardens are an issue in high clay environments as water is unable to disperse the water from roofs which in these environments is not possible and in some cases the downpipes are found not to even have a connection to vent the water into. With wet seasons being Winter and Spring this can cause many homeowners a real problem with the Developer being slow to respond.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues with the operation of the garage doors, keys missing or debris left in garage area where 29% reported yes and 71% reported no The team were pleased to see these figures as in many cases the Garage of a property is used to store equipment and materials whilst the property is being build leading on occasions for these areas not to be completed cleared. As many garages are linked to the property, we were pleased to see that keys were being transferred to the owners as this may have constituted to an issue with security.
We asked our audience for the number of Snagging issues raised with Garden due to flooding or pooling of water, a high level of construction rubble and if it is coming up in grass if laid where 79% reported yes and 21% reported no Speaking to many homeowners regarding garden issues we believe better transparency needs to be shown by the Developer as many owners are not aware of the punishment the ground areas around a property being built suffer. We want to see construction waste correctly and fully removed and drainage installed where necessary in order that owners can customize their gardens without the threat of grass dying, flooding occurring or at worse accidents occurring to the residents or their pets due to the waste rising to the ground i.e. bricks and scaffold clips or in some cases glass.