HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance back All Party Parliament Group recommendations to tackle the poor quality of new homes

  • Date: 22/05/2016
HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance back All Party Parliament Group recommendations to tackle the poor quality of new homes

Last week, the All Party Parliament Group (APPG) inquiry into the quality of new-build homes have made a number of hard hitting recommendations, from creating a New Homes Ombudsman, to requiring developers to produce a Home Information Pack and giving buyers a right to inspect and survey their property before financial completion.

The recommendations are supported by the findings of the 2016 Homeowner Survey conducted online by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance which explores what quality means to potential new build home buyers along with the key quality checks buyers would aim to undertake.  HomeOwners Alliance share the concern that whilst we need more new homes built, the pressure to build is coming at the expense of quality.

Key findings from the survey:

  • 58% would want a survey as a quality check before buying a new build home
  • New builds are not popular with more than twice as many people preferring an older home (49%) to a new build home (19%)
  • When considering new homes quality, people are likely to focus on size of rooms (74%), the feeling of space on the development (65%), layout (62%) and the level of finish (61%)
  • The reputation of the house builder, the quality of the sales process or the provision of detailed floor plans fall further down the list in terms of what signals quality

When assessing quality, consumers currently place less emphasis on aspects of the sales process or particulars of the property.  HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance agree with the APPG that these aspects require greater attention and are potential risks for new build homebuyers.  Standardised house building contracts and builders to provide homebuyers with an information pack in plain English should make it clear what consumers are buying and their legal obligations.

Another recommendation from the committee is that there should be a mandatory right for buyers to inspect and, should they wish, carry out a full survey of their property prior to financial completion. The survey’s findings support this recommendation with 58% of UK adults saying they would want to undertake a snagging survey as a quality check if buying a new build. 

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance, said: “'the MPs recommendations are spot on. We see day in and day out people having the most appalling time trying to get their new home fixed. A lot of this is due to the rush to build quickly. New home buyers must have the right to inspect their home and to get a full building survey before the keys are handed over. This will be a practical step to encourage builders to deliver homes to their customers and not their shareholders.

"Buying a new home should mean years of worry-free ownership. Yet that is not always how it turns out. A new Homes Ombudsman should help to support owners to get their faulty home fixed. We have also issued today a practical guide on how to get things fixed in your new home.”

Kim Vernau, Chief Executive Officer, BLP Insurance said: “BLP fully supports the APPG review and its headline findings. Transparency coupled with clarity in terms of the contractual requirements of purchasing a home and the quality of the product that the consumer is receiving for their money are fully supported by BLP’s Code for the Sale of New Homes. This is a mandatory Code that applies to the majority of clients who require our BLPSECURE policies since 1st June 2015. The right for the Home Buyer to survey the property prior to completion is also a pragmatic step to mitigate the number of issues likely to arise post completion.”

See Figures below.

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Notes to Editor
The need to build more homes has been a recurrent theme since the last general election with the government announcing that it is aiming to build one million homes by the end of this parliament.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment is currently working on finalising the report from its last inquiry, which looked at the quality and workmanship of new housing in England. It is hoped to be published by the end of May or the beginning of June 2016.  They published their initial recommendations on their website earlier this week.


Recommendations include:

  • A New Homes Ombudsman should be set up. This would mediate disputes between consumers and their builders or warranty providers to offer a quick resolution procedure.
  • Standardised house building sales contracts should be enforced, meaning that the uncertainty surrounding bespoke builders’ contracts would be removed.
  • There should be a mandatory right for buyers to inspect and, should they wish, carry out a full survey of their property prior to financial completion. More details of this particular point will be announced in the final report.
  • To improve transparency, builders should be required to provide homebuyers with a comprehensive information pack. This would include plain English explanations so that homebuyers can understand exactly what they are buying.

2016 Homeowner Survey

  1. This is the 4th Annual Homeowner Survey, a state of the nation report on the housing concerns and trends affecting homeowners and those aspiring to own.
  2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). 
    a. In 2016, total sample size was 2,095 adults of which 1,293 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken 4-5th April 2016.
    b. In 2015, total sample size was 2,214 adults of which 1,390 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken 4-5th March 2015.
  3. The 2016 Homeowner survey was made possible through sponsorship by BLP Insurance, leading provider of housing warranty insurance. 
  4. Related releases from the survey include: Housing Crisis Deepens and Support for Stamp Duty Surcharge

Please link to the HOA website at http://hoa.org.uk/ and the BLP website at http://www.blpinsurance.com/

For media enquiries about HomeOwners Alliance, please contact: Chantal or Sophie at Panpathic Communications – Chantal@panpathic.com / 07788 184 649 or Sophie@panpathic.com / 07815 860 082

For media enquiries about BLP Insurance, please contact:
Four Broadgate, Cara Penkethman on 020 7726 6111 or BLPInsurance@fourbroadgate.com

Paula Higgins, CEO of HomeOwners Alliance is available for interview. Images of charts available as jpegs.

About the HomeOwners Alliance

The HomeOwners Alliance champions the interests of Britain’s homeowners and aspiring homeowners. We are a consumer group providing helpful advice and services and acting as the voice of the homeowner in the media, lobbying for their interests in government, and campaigning against bad practices in industry.

We directly engage with government and media by conducting independent research and publishing reports that champion the interests of homeowners.  In addition to our annual Homeowner Survey, previous publications include:

  • Why the Mystery? – An investigation into the murky world of estate agent fees and contracts
  • Stamping on Aspiration - The astonishing impact of stamp duty on homeowners and the housing market
  • On the Edge - 300,000 interest-only mortgage holders set to lose their home
  • The Stresses of Buying and Owning a Home
  • The Death of a Dream – the crisis of homeownership in the UK

We are one of Britain’s most popular and fastest growing property advice websites, staying true to our mission to help homeowners facing some of the biggest and most complex decisions of their lives. Last year, more than 2 million homeowners and aspiring homeowners visited our website, www.hoa.org.uk, viewing over 4.5 million pages.

At hoa.org.uk, we provide independent advice for the key moments in owning a home, supported by legal and industry experts.  Get our free newsletter with a market-wide view of house prices and all the latest tips on buying, selling, improving and managing homes.  On our website you can find free independent guides, checklists and top tips.

About BLP Insurance

BLP Insurance offers housing warranty insurance and commercial development latent defects insurance underwritten by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE. Our insurance is a compelling alternative to the 'traditional' 10 year new home warranty solutions and our commercial latent defects insurance product is the most comprehensive in the market. Unlike traditional new homes warranties, BLP’s insurance covers the building – not the developer – and does not ask developers to pay up front registration fees, ongoing membership fees, bonds, guarantees or deposits. For claims, only proof of damage is required not proof of liability. BLP’s cover is approved by all of the major British mortgage lenders.

We provide peace of mind for homeowners and protect their investment from the risk of undiscovered defects, because: our insurance policies are backed by an AA rated global insurer; we will have properly assessed the build project from design through to workmanship on site, to help minimise the chance of future defects; and if a defect does arise the homeowner won't have to prove who is to blame, just that there is a defect.

We have been providing construction insurance since 1989, trading as BLP since 1999. We are owned by Thomas Miller, a world class insurance services business at the forefront of the insurance industry for over 125 years. BLP Insurance is regulated by the FCA. www.blpinsurance.com

Figure 1: Interest in buying new build
Figure 2: Signs of New Build Home Quality
Figure 3: Quality Checks

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