So, you are thinking of using a professional snagger? In this week’s episode let’s look at how you go about finding a snagging company and what you should expect from your snagger and their report.
Check out some of the snags we have found on our YouTube channel.
Choosing a professional snagger
If you are wanting to use the services of a professional snagger, you might have done a google search and found that there are so many companies out there to choose from.
It’s a minefield – who are these companies and why should you choose any of them?
The first thing I am going to say is this not all professional snagging companies are the same. This means that you need to be careful when choosing a professional snagging company. Check out episode 3 of the podcast where I cover how to choose a professional snagger in more detail.
It is so important to do your homework and check them out. Anyone can claim to be a snagger so how do you know what you are getting?
Check what experience they have, they should have at least been a site manager preferably with a number of years of experience. Having been a site manager gives me the knowledge of how to build houses and a working knowledge of building regulations and warranty provider standards such as the NHBC.
Be aware of companies who guarantee to find a certain number of snags, how do they know what they are going to find, this is just a sales pitch to entice you in. You have no idea how many snags you are going to find as each house and site are different. Some sites are good, and some are not so good.
Where to start?
A good guide is to start by looking at the quality of their website, this will give you an indication of what they are about. Does it look and sound professional when you read it? Are there any blog posts giving you advice? Do they have testimonials and links to their reviews? How many reviews do they have? Are there contact details available so you can call them directly to ask any questions or are you just being directed to fill in a diary to book an appointment?
On the about page, is there a picture of the company owner and the snaggers? Does it tell you about their experience or is it just telling you how good they are and why you should use them?
One way of finding a snagging company is to visit the Facebook New Build Snagging Group. This is a new group, especially for new build home buyers and there is a list of Professional snagging companies listed on it. This might be a good place to start.
Top five tips when looking for a snagging company
1 / How long have they been in business or are they a start-up company? This is easy to check on Companies House.
2/ What experience do they have? They should have house-building experience in a managerial role.
3/ Are they professional? Do they offer free advice even if you are not going to use their services?
4/ How many reviews/testimonials do they have?
5/ What is included in the price or do they try to upsell extras like thermal imaging and hard copies of the report?
This list is not exhaustive, and if you are not sure give them a call and ask as many questions as you like until you feel comfortable with the answers to any questions you have.
Price of a professional snagger
Choosing a professional snagger on price alone is not the answer. The more successful companies will be VAT registered which increases the price. They can’t help it and this should not be a deciding factor but we do understand that pennies might be tight when you have just purchased your new home.
Most of the established companies’ prices are very similar across their price range, however, I would be cautious if you are looking at a company whose prices are significantly lower.
What happens on the day of the survey?
Now you have decided on the company you want to use, what happens on the day of the survey?
Firstly, the surveyor should arrive on time. They should introduce themselves and explain what they are going to do and how they are going to conduct the survey. They should also ask if you have any concerns and be available to answer any of your questions before getting to work.
You should always ask for a sample report or a couple of reports, look at how they are presented, they should include a front page with your name, address, the surveyor’s name, and company name. They should also have photos of the defect, its location and a trade assigned to rectify the defect. If the snags are in breach of building regulations or the warranty providers’ standards, then this should also be referenced in the report. Some but not all reports might also include a summary giving an overall comment on the quality or not.
As an example, let’s have a look at one of our reports starting with the front cover of the report it clearly states the address, date, who it is prepared for the number of defects we have identified and who the surveyor is who carried out the inspection, on this occasion it is me and it shows my qualifications. It also has the company name and logo.
Going through the report we start with a photo of the property as identification this is a visual reminder for us if we are having a conversation at a later date with the customer.
We then start with the front elevation looking at garden areas, drives paths then the front of the house, windows, doors, glazing, mastic, canopies, and low-level roofs we would also look at the internal of the garage if it is attached. If we see any breaches in building regulations or warranty providers’ standards, then these would be noted alongside the photo and description of the defect.
One example of this is if the ground level is too high underneath the damp proof course, it should have a clear 150mm below the Damp proof course except at the front door where the path should be level with the front doorstep to comply with building regulation’s part M.
The report then follows the same format as I discussed in episode 4 how to snag your house. It should cover all external elevations including the roof. We then move into the interior of the property and use the same systematic format to inspect all areas finishing in the roof.
If the company you have chosen uses a drone to inspect the roof, make sure they hold the necessary qualifications, as a minimum they should have an A2 Certificate of Competence and have carried out a full risk assessment before they fly the drone. There are strict CAA guidelines for any commercial operation when using a drone.
If the company has included any thermal images within the report, again you need to make sure they are qualified to interpret the thermal images they have taken. The reason for this is if your developer challenges these images, they have the necessary qualification to back them up.
After the survey
Once your surveyor has completed their inspection, they should sit down with you and go through the report explaining what they have identified and how your developer should rectify the snags.
They should also explain what you need to do next with the report, don’t forget to send the report to your developer’s customer care department for them to action. Always log any snagging list with customer care that way you have an audit trail should you need it in the future.
What if my developer isn’t rectifying my snags?
What do you do if you are having problems getting your developer to do your snags? At last, there is some good news for new build homebuyers.
On Tuesday the 4th of October the New Homes Quality Board and New Home Ombudsman Launched.
This is excellent news for new build homebuyers and should help them when they have a dispute with their builder.
This is certainly a step in the right direction to provide protection to new build homebuyers. I have my reservations though as most developers have a culture within the business that will need to drastically change for them to comply with the New Homes Quality Board requirements.
Time will tell, and I hope the New Homes Ombudsman has the strength to help homebuyers resolve their disputes. I also feel the New Homes Ombudsman might be shocked by the number of complaints they are likely to receive from unhappy new-build homebuyers; it will be interesting to see how quickly they deal with these complaints and if it makes a difference.