A quality code for the construction of new homes has been published in a bid to drive up quality and strengthen protection for customers in the residential market.
The code, produced by the New Homes Quality Board, aims to fill the gaps in current protections by requiring developers to ensure all homes are “complete” and preventing builders from paying customers to move into incomplete new homes early.
Under the code, developers also have to have an effective after-care service in place to deal with snagging problems.
It also requires all relevant information about the home to be provided during the sales process – including its tenure and any future management or service charges.
A “robust” complaints process aims to keep customers informed and they can complain to the New Homes Ombudsman Service if they are not satisfied.
The establishment of the New Homes Ombudsman Service was the number one recommendation of a 2017 report by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for Excellence in the Built Environment, titled More homes, fewer complaints.
MP Natalie Elphicke, chairman of the NHQB, said: “This powerful new code is a central plank in our work to drive up the quality of new build homes and strengthen redress for consumers.
“Over the coming months we will work closely with industry to support and help them make the transition to the new arrangements.
“I firmly believe that, whilst challenging to implement, the new regime will deliver a step change that the industry will ultimately recognise brings huge benefits for both their customers and them.”
The publication of the code follows on from the announcement last month that The Dispute Service has been selected as the NHQB’s Preferred Partner to create and operationalise a New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS).
The NHQB is developing a portal that will allow developers to start to register from January. Once registered, developers will be provided with support and training to enable them to make the transition to the new arrangements. Once both parties are satisfied that they are ready, builders will then ‘activate’. Once activated, all customer reservations of a new home taken from that point will have to meet the requirements of the new code and come under the remit of the Ombudsman.