New Homes Quality Code

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New Homes Quality Code
 Safia Anwar
Legally reviewed by: Safia Anwar In: Conveyancing

What is the New Homes Quality Board?

The New Homes Quality Board is the independent body created to oversee a framework that aims to improve quality and service standards in the house building industry. Recently, they launched the New Homes Quality Code. This introduces a broad range of additional requirements for developers. In summary, the code aims to fill in the gaps in current protections to ensure that every aspect of a new home purchase from beginning to end is covered.

Developers are required to register with the New Homes Quality Board by the end of December 2022. Therefore, those applying will need to be aware of the New Homes Quality Code.

The New Homes Quality Code was released in December 2021 and means that developers that are bound to it by code to providers wanting to ensure procedures and sales adhere to it. Therefore, it’s important to understand what the new code requires.

The New Homes Quality Board’s Proposals

The new homes code requires builders to have comprehensive aftercare and complaints procedures in place. As a result, they can address any issues customers may have with their new home after they have moved in.

The New Homes Quality Board has appointed a New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) which will provide independent compensation for any customers not satisfied either by their builder or their new home.

In conclusion, the NHOS provides a route for any new home buyers who are not satisfied with the service their builder has provided.

A Breakdown of the New Homes Quality Code

The New Homes Quality Code can be broken down into four different sections:

One: Selling a new home

Two: Legal documents, information, inspection, and completion

Three: After sales, complaints management, and new homes ombudsman

Four: Solvency, legal, and jurisdiction

Additionally, the New Homes Quality Code has principles. These are:

  • Fairness
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Service
  • Responsiveness
  • Transparency
  • Independence
  • Inclusivity
  • Security
  • Compliance

Opportunity For Property Inspection Before Completion

Section two of the New Homes Quality Code makes mention of pre-completion inspection. A qualified inspector of the purchaser can carry out these inspections. This is an important improvement as it will assist in the improvement in the quality of new homes at the point of handover.

The new homes code states that there is now an opportunity for the customer to visit a new home before legal completion. Additionally, the 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. Legal Completion is when the homeownership is transferred from the Developer.

As a result, the addition of a pre-completion inspection is a positive step forward to improve the quality of homes at handover.

Sales Processes to be Considered

Some sales processes may need questioning. These are:

  • How does your reservation process identify and support ‘vulnerable’ customers?
  • Have you updated your reservation documentation and processes to cater for the 14-day cooling-off period? Additionally, can you cater for additional information required at the outset?
  • What are you going to offer in regard to pre-completion inspections?
  • Have you decided which companies/subsidiaries need to register and when?
  • Which team will manage the required after-sales service?
  • Do any complaints processes need updating?

Issues With the New Homes Quality Code

Some professionals have raised the issue of the new code being ‘restrictive.’ This is due to it not letting professional snaggers raise issues that could be in breach of building regulations or warranty providers’ tolerances or standards.

The code only allows visual inspections of the property. Therefore professionals are viewing the inspections as limited. As a result, inspectors are unable to use a wide range of aids such as:

  • Levels
  • Drones
  • Thermal imaging equipment

Furthermore, any issues with the property that fall under this are usually the ones that can cost more for new buyers.

Despite the issues raised by professionals regarding ‘restrictive’ inspections, there is no restriction for buyers having a professional snagging inspection post-legal completion. As a result, they can document any building regulation or warranty provider defects within their snagging report.

New Build Conveyancing Process

The new build conveyancing process can be complicated. If you are buying a newly built house or apartment, then our team at AWH can help you.

At AWH we offer quality guidance and support to all our clients, ensuring that under any circumstance the conveyancing process will be straightforward. AWH is additionally regulated and authorised by the solicitor’s regulation authority.

We have expert property solicitors ready to deal with all aspects of residential freehold and leasehold conveyancing. Contact us online today, call us on 01254 274000 or try our online conveyancing calculator.

Our conveyancing solicitors can help clients across England and Wales.

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