In this week’s episode, let’s have a look at two of the opportunities you might get to visit your new home before legal completion. These are the pre–plaster customer visit and the home demonstration meetings. 

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The Pre-Plaster Customer Visit

Some developers (but not all) have a procedure in place where they will invite customers to what is called a pre-plaster customer visit or inspection of their new home. This is a great idea and starts to build the relationship between you and the site manager. This is also a small window of opportunity for you to have a look at your new home for the first time.

When you see your new home for the first time it can be exciting and will allow you to see your new home without any plaster on the walls. It can also be an opportunity for you to measure the rooms, giving you an idea of their sizes. Remember that the rooms will be smaller when the plaster is on the walls, so be aware.

During this visit your site manager should explain to you the room layouts and the services within those rooms such as electrical wiring and plumbing. If you have any extras that you have asked the developer to do, then this is a perfect time to make sure they have installed them as you envisaged. It might be worthwhile taking any paperwork with you so you know exactly what you have agreed so you can check your extras are installed and in the positions you wanted, if you have any concerns or you are not happy with the positions now is the time to raise any concerns you might have, because it is easier to alter any wiring or plumbing at this stage before the plastering starts.

I would also advise taking a camera with you, your phone is as good as anything, this is so you can take photographs of any pipe and cable runs. I would pay particular attention to any that are close to windows this is because if you are thinking of putting up curtains or blinds you know where they are located so you don’t screw into them later.

Take as many photos as you can because once the house is plastered you will not see any cables or pipe runs. One thing I would suggest is to write on an A4 piece of paper each of the rooms such as lounge/ bedroom 1 and so on.

This is to give you a point of reference when you take your photos because once you are back home looking at them you will not remember their location or which room, they were in.

I would also suggest you ask any questions you might have this is your meeting and if you are not sure of something don’t be afraid of asking the site manager.

The pre-plaster visit could be the first opportunity you have to see your new home. If your developer does not offer this visit then the next opportunity you will get should be the home demonstration.

new home completion

The Home Demonstration

Being invited for your new home demonstration and seeing your brand-new home for the first time is exciting. But what can you expect on this day?

A home demonstration is one of the processes that your developer should follow when you buy a new build, this is to explain to you everything you need to know about your new home.

The site manager and possibly a salesperson will take you around your new home explaining how the heating, appliances, and any other systems work.

It is important to remember that this is your demonstration, take your time, asking questions is fundamental to understanding what to expect from your new home and how the systems and appliances work. You are going to be excited but please pay attention to what you are being told it is important.

But don’t worry if you forget something as I am sure your site manager will only be too happy to explain it to you again once you have moved in.

You should also take this opportunity to check for any defects, your developer might say that the demonstration meeting is not for snagging or to identify any snags such as scratched glass, damaged kitchen units or sanitary ware. But I would have a good look around your new home and if you see any defects raise them, it is better for you and the site manager to get them fixed before you move in.

Here is a checklist of what to look for and what should be discussed during your home demonstration:

  1. Check your boundaries, fencing, landscaping, and services (gas, water, electricity) or any other new technologies such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps.
  2. Look at windows and doors for damage, scratches, or missing sealant.
  3. Is the brickwork free of mortar splashes or damage?
  4. Has the external paintwork been finished?
  5. Do the downspouts and guttering look secure?
  6. Are there any damaged roof tiles?
  7. Are the manhole covers level with the surrounding surfaces such as turf?
  8. Do garage doors open and shut properly?
  9. Are drives and paths completed?
  10. Has debris and the builder’s rubble been removed?
  11. Has the council delivered your bins or do you have to order them?
  12. Check all windows and doors operate freely.
  13. Check the paintwork for paint runs damage and depth of finish.
  14. Check kitchen worktops, doors, and drawers for scratches, and damage and open and close properly.
  15. Check appliances are connected and working with no damage.
  16. Make sure the site manager explains the heating system and how to set the thermostat etc.
  17. Make sure the alarm system is explained in full.
  18. Check all light switches work.
  19. Check any extras you have paid for are as you expected.
  20. Locate where the water stop cock, gas and electric cut-offs are.
  21. Check all the taps work, and that the hot water comes out of the hot tap including the showers.
  22. Check shower doors open and close easily with no damage.
  23. Look at all wall and floor tilling for alignment and any damage.
  24. Check the flooring, is it clean with no damage?
  25. Check radiators are fixed to the wall.
  26. Check sealants around sinks, baths, showers and tilling for uneven finish or damage.
  27. Check the roof space is insulated.
  28. Has the site manager explained where the electrical wiring and plumbing runs are in the walls?
  29. Discuss shrinkage and how you should run your new house in.

Whilst this list is not exhaustive, don’t be afraid to ask and check everything, and I would follow this checklist again during your handover. If you spot anything you are not happy with during your demonstration and handover make a note and take photos of the issues you have found you can do this on the builder’s paperwork or your own if you use the builder’s paperwork ask for a copy.

It is important to document everything so your builder can rectify any issues before you move in.

home before completion

Using a Professional Snagger on your home before completion

If you are going to use a professional snagger, let the builder know, if they allow a professional snagger in before legal completion, check if it is a pre-completion check. If it is, I would advise you to wait until after your legal completion because the pre-completion inspection is purely a visible inspection and a pre-completion checklist has to be followed which does not allow any reference to building regulations or warranty providers’ standards.

Letting your builder will know that your home is going to be thoroughly checked again once you have moved in will sometimes make your site manager check to make sure there are a few snags. It doesn’t always work.

It is important that you come away from your home demonstration happy that any questions you have, have been answered to your satisfaction.

Because the next opportunity you will have to see your new home is on your completion day.

Once you have moved into your new home there are some things to consider now you are living on a new development.

As with all developments, there will be construction work ongoing, these can range from roads and sewers to house foundations and groundworks which can all lead to some disruption.

Some points for you to consider about your new home before completion are:

1.   The site working hours. These can be Monday to Friday 7.30-5 pm – there may also be some weekend work. I would advise looking at the planning agreement for your development which will highlight what working hours have been agreed

2.   There will be some heavy plant movement and the forklift operating during the day, there are also going to be deliveries to your development some of these will include some large trucks. Your developer should have a traffic management plan in place to mitigate any inconvenience caused by these deliveries and plant movements. It is inevitable that these heavy machinery deliveries and plant movements are going to create noise. Another noisy operation is foundation pilling, this is when concrete or steel piles are driven into the ground to form part of the foundations. This can also create a considerable amount of vibration, if they are pilling near your home this can be distressing because it will feel like your whole home is shaking. If you are concerned, then you should raise it with your developer.

3.   Another consideration is dust. Due to the nature of the work, dust can become airborne during dry weather periods and summer months. If your development is dusty try to keep your windows and trickle vents close or the dust will enter your home.

4.   When you move into your new home it is unlikely that the roads and footpaths have not been surfaced, this is not uncommon. When your developer is due to finish the roads and footpaths, they should let you know as the associated works with this will cause some disruption

5.   There may also be some future phases planned for the development, I would be aware that your developer might not do these and access might be through the development you are living on.

6.   Finally, this is probably the most important one if you have children. Building sites can be fascinating for children. Unfortunately, every year children get hurt or seriously injured when they venture onto building sites to play, these are dangerous places and are not a playground. One thing I would say is if you do see children playing on the building site please let the site manager or sales team know.

new home before completion

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