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When you have problems with a new home

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New home problems         

What to do when you find problems with your new home


NHBC warranty – The first two years

The NHBC Buildmark warranty gives cover against any defect arising in your new home during the first two years. However, the Buildmark booklet defines a defect as "a breach of any mandatory NHBC requirement by the builder or anyone acting for him." In practice this normally results in the builder attending to any defects that occur, but it must be remembered this is not necessarily a requirement under the Buildmark warranty.

The NHBC does state that the builder, within a reasonable time and at his own expense, must put right any defect and/or damage arising from a defect, which is notified to him within the period of the cover.


There are exclusions and restrictions and you are advised to consult the NHBC Buildmark booklet for more specific information   [Buildmark Download PDF]


Remember, "the builder is responsible for investigating your complaints and for putting right defects and/or damage caused by defects".


The builder is required to carry out the works within a reasonable period of time. You must provide the builder or his representatives reasonable access during normal working hours to carry out the work.


NHBC Contact details:








Courtesy call

Once you have moved in to your new home, the site manager is sometimes required to make a courtesy call within a few days to check that everything is fine with your new home. If you are at all dissatisfied with anything, this is the time to say so. The site staff nearly always call before you have had a chance to unpack and relax and you may not notice any defects straight away.


When you discover problems

Assuming that all snagging works you or your snagging inspector highlighted prior to occupation had been satisfactorily dealt with you should have few problems. However, when you move into a brand new home it is somewhat inevitable that you will find some defects during the first few weeks or months. It is reasonable to make a note of each item detailing when it was first noted for the first four weeks. This will save the builder repeatedly attending to minor one-off problems and save you the inconvenience of arranging access on several occasions. After a month, write to the builder's regional office with the list of defects, indicating what you expect to be done and the time scale the remedial works must be completed by. It is always a good idea to give a copy of this letter and the list to the site manager. A good site manager will always be proactive in dealing with defects to prevent the situation getting out of hand. For advice and normal complaints procedure.


Customer care department

All of the national house builders have a customer care department. In recent times "customer care" has been managed by staff with very little knowledge of construction making it difficult to convey what remedial action is required. This is a deliberate ploy to delay having to carry out the work in the hope that if it is of a minor nature you will give up. The customer care department will nearly always request you put your problem in writing – unless it is an emergency. This is a good idea for both parties. It enables the builder to properly log the defect and track rectification. It also gives you a written record. Click on the link to view a template for an initial letter.


Who will fix the problem

Nearly all house builders will contact their site staff and require them to contact both the relevant trades and you to arrange a convenient time to carry out any remedial works. This must be done in normal working site hours. It is unreasonable to expect any works to your new home to be carried out in the evenings or weekends.


The more progressive builders employ ex tradesmen or site managers who will make an appointment to discuss and inspect any problems at your home, although this is usually required to be in normal working hours. Following this visit either the relevant sub contract trade or the builder’s in-house maintenance operative will visit your property at an agreed time. If you are unable to keep the appointment for whatever reason inform whoever has made the arrangements with you. If you do not provide access at the agreed time you may have to wait several weeks for the next available appointment.


For details of your house builder’s regional or head office address and contact numbers

 please click house builder links


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NHBC Claims,

NHBC House

Davy Avenue,

Knowhill

MILTON KEYNES

Bucks. MK5 8FP


Telephone:

Fax:

E-mail:

Web:

0870 241 4329

0870 241 4330

cssupport@nhbc.co.uk

www.nhbc.co.uk

Consumer Code for Home Builders

Customer Care


Courtesy call