In 2021 the New Homes Quality Board issued a draft consultation Code of Practice document to the national house builders. The aim of the code is to establish mandatory requirements which must be adopted and complied with by developers. This will be introduced in Q1 of 2022 and developers will need to complete the registration process by December 2022.

What does the code mean for house buyers?

The code along with the New Homes Ombudsman aims to raise the quality of new build homes, giving new house buyers better protection and improve the services house builders provide to their customers.

The New Homes Quality code of practice will replace the Consumer Code for Home Builders. The New Homes Quality Board is an independent organisation whilst the New Homes Ombudsman Service will provide independent redress for consumers with issues.

The New Homes Quality Code has four parts:

Part One

Selling a new home

Part two

Legal documents, Information, Inspection and completion

Part Three

After Sales, Complaints Management and the New Homes Ombudsman

Part four

Solvency, Legal and Jurisdiction

Sections to note

It is interesting to note that in section two of the New Homes Quality Code there is mention of pre-completion inspections by a suitably qualified inspector, this is a step in the right direction and will help improve the quality of new homes at the point of handover.

It states:

2. f) An opportunity for the Customer to visit a New Home before Legal Completion. In addition, a customer can arrange for a suitably qualified inspector to carry out a Pre-Completion Inspection, using the Template Pre-Completion Inspection Checklist before the Legal Completion date (see section 2.8). g) Legal Completion, which is when the home ownership is transferred from the Developer

In the glossary of terms, it states:

Pre-Completion Inspection:

The opportunity for a Customer to visit the New Home before Legal Completion. Alternatively the Customer can appoint a suitably experienced inspector to undertake the inspection and complete the template Pre-completion Inspection Checklist on their behalf.

Pre-completion Inspection Checklist:

 The standard template checklist to be used by suitably qualified inspectors to undertake the Pre-Completion Inspection. Used to systematically review the finish of the New Home and identify any snags prior to Legal Completion. 

This is a positive step to protect new house buyers and hopefully improve the quality of new homes. 

Are there any issues with the New Homes Quality Code?

The only issue having seen the pre-completion checklist template is, in my opinion, it is extremely restrictive and does not allow your professional snagger to raise any issues which could be in breach of building regulations or warranty providers tolerances or standards. 

This is purely a visual inspection, and the inspector must not deviate from this checklist for the inspection.

This is restricting snagging inspectors from using a wide range of aids such as levels, drones, thermal imaging equipment, etc, to ensure your new home is built to the correct standards.

Defects which fall under this category are normally the ones which if not brought to the developer’s attention are likely to have cost implications for the new house buyer. This is a cost which the new house buyer should not have to pay.

The New Homes Quality Code checklist feels like the house building industry is purposefully restricting the number of serious issues currently being raised by professional snaggers throughout the country highlighting the poor quality of their houses.

Having said this, it does not restrict new house buyers from having a thorough professional snagging inspection carried out post legal completion by a qualified snagging company. This means that they can document any building regulation or warranty providers defects within their snagging report. 

New Homes Quality Code

If you are looking for someone to snag your new home or you would like further information pleased let us know.