We have been reporting on the progress through parliament of the Building Safety Bill which, as well as seeking to tackle the risks to those living in high rise blocks of flats, includes provisions for a range of issues relating to construction standards. One feature will be the introduction of a new homes Ombudsman, part of a quality registration system for the benefit of those buying new housing.
For some time, home builders have been working to the Consumer Code for Home Builders. Just recently that has been replaced by the New Homes Quality Code (NHQC) which will apply across the UK for the benefit of those buying new build homes to live in. The NHQC, together with the New Homes Ombudsman (when implemented), will deal with complaints arising under the new code, providing remedies for buyers. New home developers will be expected to register over the course of 2022.
NHQC registered developers will be required to apply minimum quality standards in new housing and to apply a number of fundamental principles (fairness, quality, service, transparency and inclusivity) in their business, in dealings with customers and at each stage of the new home sale process.
Included in the code are:
- protections for vulnerable customers
- requirements to provide all relevant information about the home to enable purchasers to make informed decisions when buying
- providing for a buyer’s cooling off period
- having qualified inspectors carry out a pre-completion inspection of homes
- ensuring a new home is complete before the buyer moves in.
Developers are also required by the code to have an effective after-sales service in place to deal with snagging issues, as well as a comprehensive complaints process operating for at least the first two years from completion of sale. A buyer who is still not satisfied will be able to refer to the New Homes Ombudsman Service.
Registration under the new scheme opens in January 2022 and developers will be expected to have registered by the end of the year.