Monthly Archives: December 2014

How poor site managers win NHBC Quality Awards

Whilst it should always be preferable to buy a new home on a site when the site manager has won an NHBC Quality Award, many new homebuyers will be amazed to discover that actual quality of the new homes being built has very little to do with the actual winning of NHBC awards for quality!

The NHBC have said “The judging process does not guarantee that every home built on a site will be without issues and our 10 year Buildmark warranty and insurance cover is there to provide protection to the homeowner should problems arise following completion.”
Perhaps this is why NHBC Quality Award-winning site managers are not necessarily the best site managers


A quality award-winning site manager but his buyers didn’t get a quality new home!

By using the right “recipe”, even the most dim-witted site manager can (and does!) win an NHBC PITJ Quality Award by following the suggestions below!

Work for the right house builder
Every year, certain housebuilders have far more NHBC award-winning site managers than others. So by working for Barratt or Taylor Wimpey, a site manager is around 10 times more likely to win an award than he would be working for Persimmon/Charles Church for example. Differing cultures, priorities and enthusiasm for the awards may explain this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGet support from managers
It is essential that the site manager receive positive backing from his contracts manager and regional construction director. Without their input and support, even the best site manager will have no chance, whatever the NHBC may say about PITJ on their website; “achieving the highest possible standards and best practice in house building”

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The top 20 mistakes made by UK new home buyers

Buying a brand new home built to exacting standards, the latest energy-efficient designs with a ten-year warranty, where could naive, trusting new homebuyers possible go wrong?  Read on to discover the twenty most common mistakes made by Britain’s new home buyers and make sure you don’t become yet another victim of the UK housebuilding industry.

cropped-Bovis-Sales-Office.jpg1) Buying a new home because they can not because they should Various government schemes such as Help to Buy schemes make it easier and often the only financially possible way to get on the housing ladder. Being able to buy is not alone a good enough reason to buy a new home.

2) Using the housebuilder’s recommended, suggested or nominated firm of solicitors
The number one mistake made by new homebuyers. Despite it being illegal for housebuilders to insist that buyers use a certain solicitor, it still occurs. One major plc housebuilder even pre-filled in reservation forms with their preferred solicitor! By using the housebuilder’s solicitor buyers are not only relinquishing control of the process to the housebuilder, they are actually putting themselves at a legal disadvantage by not having their interests represented. Issues include; buyers legally completing on unfinished houses, a buyer of a flat later discovered specifications had been changed and the length of lease reduced and being told that completion certificates and warranty documents had been received when they had not even been issued, due to unresolved compliance and warranty problems with the home.

3)  Not having their new home independently professionally snagged and inspected
Snagging inspectorThe second biggest mistake new homebuyers make is not having their new home professionally snagged and inspected before they legally complete. It is a sad fact that around 96% of all new homes buyers will have defects and problems with their new homes after they have moved in. Many, if not all of these could have been prevented if the property had been properly inspected at each construction stage by both the housebuilder’s site management and warranty provider. It is therefore essential that new homebuyers use an independent professional to thoroughly snag and inspect their new home before they legally complete. This not only ensures it is, at the very least, fully completed before they pay for it, it also highlights all visible defects, snags and breaches of regulations and warranty standards. Unfortunately both the housebuilders and warranty providers cannot be relied upon to properly carry out the inspections and oversee remedial works to correct defects.

4. Not doing any research regarding housebuilders or new homes before buying
Websites such as our sister site and various forums have a wealth of information available for the new homebuyer. This enables them to make a fully informed choice, aware of what can and does go wrong and what steps they can take to reduce disappointment and feelings of regret and resentment after moving in.

5. Paying too much – not getting a discount
All house builders have a price list but only a fool actually pays the full price. Site sales staff nearly always have “negotiables” they can offer buyers with discounts amounting to 5-10% off the full advertised price on certain plots at certain times of the year. In addition, many new homebuyers buy at or near the top of the market paying too much only to later watch as the resale value of their home plummets just as interest rates rise and the housing market crashes.

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House builders forced to hire bricklayers from Portugal on £1000 a week.

House builders are, according to yesterday’s  Daily Mail are being “forced” to hire bricklayers from Portugal on £1,000 a week because of a shortage of workers that are able to do the job.   According to recruiters, a shortage of skilled people in the UK is forcing firms to look abroad for construction workers, who can demand double the “usual” day rate.

But the influx of overseas tradesmen could actually be good for the industry. Most European workers are more polite, co operative and produce higher standards of work than British tradesmen. Many site managers would actually prefer a Lithuanian or Pole to many British workers!

P1000442James Hick, from the recruitment company Manpower, told the Daily Mail that building firms were looking for bricklayers in Portugal. He said: “There is a severe shortage of skilled tradespeople in Britain bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, mechanical engineers, HGV drivers.”

“Where they were paying £500 a week at the beginning of the year, the demand for those skills means they are now paying £1,000 a week. That pressure on skills is huge, particularly in the construction industry in the South East and London. During the downturn, he said, many firms stopped training schemes and were left without skilled workers when contracts started coming in. That is not something that can be resolved quickly, but companies need people who can work now, so they have had to put up pay and look elsewhere.”

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A personal plea to Construction Minister Nick Boles

Dear Mr Boles,
You recently said that you regard house builders as the “unacceptable face of capitalism” after seeing first hand the shoddy workmanship of two house builders in your own constituency, adding housebuilders   “need to design beautiful places that respect the local environment, and they need to build houses to a high quality which will stand the test of time. If they don’t, I cannot and will not defend them.”

I have been campaigning for 8 years via my website and my blog to make the public more aware of the poor quality and design of new homes and housebuilders’ poor and often non-existent after sales service.

Your government has done more for the house building industry than any other government and continues to be the “gift that keeps on giving”. Only this week, stamp duty was reformed. Whilst this is good news for the majority UK house buyers and very welcome, it is also particularly good news for housebuilders, now able to increase their prices even more now that stamp duty threshold ‘chokes’ have been removed. This follows the 20% discount on new homes for first-time buyers under 40, in addition to: NewBuy, FirstBuy and the biggest taxpayer subsidy of all: “Help to Buy” which has ‘helped’ house builders to record profit rises by increasing average selling prices by 20%. Furthermore, your government has relaxed planning rules, requirements to build affordable housing,  Section 106 obligations, Community Infrastructure Levy and the zero-carbon homes policy. There has never been a better time to be a major British home builder.  Ask, and ye shall receive!

If it was not for the dogged determination of Kirsty Burton and her neighbours, perhaps you would never have witnessed first hand the dire quality standards at a Persimmon estate in your constituency. You personally also discovered the complete contempt housebuilders have for anyone calling them to task over the quality of their homes and their indifference to dealing with defects in their customer’s homes. Quite frankly, if a government minister is unable to get a satisfactory response from Persimmon CEO Jeff Fairburn, what chance have the buyers of this company’s new homes?

But please do not make the mistake that this is a new phenomenon,  restricted to just one or two housebuilders on a handful of developments. It is a national epidemic!

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Why a certain types of person buy new homes from particular housebuilders

Have you ever wondered what type of person buys a new home from particular house builders?

For a bit of fun at this time of year, we came up with the idea of trying to figure out the type of people who buy new homes – their personality, background, social class etc for each of the major house builders.

We already knew that new home buyers are generally people who cannot do DIY, that hate gardening, but like living with strangers looking at them watching television and have few possessions and small furniture!

We also already presumed that Persimmon home buyers would mostly comprise of Sun readers, gullible people who eat bad diets and vote on X factor. Who look for homes near a tattoo parlour, bookmaker, chip shop would be essential.

So this year we asked the gifted satirist “Ted Da Yonga” to come up with something. “Ted” is the author of the Mr Anthrop’s Blogspot “A tale of corporate greed, callousness and moral bankruptsy which started in reaction to an outrageous claim by Persimmon Homes and has since become a series of fictitious (mostly!) satirical stories based on real life situations facing the many buyers of new homes.

As with all Ted’s work please note it is satire – “this means it is for entertainment only and is not true. Mr Anthrop accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or otherwise of this information – it is all untrue. If you are a house developer reading this, well done –  ‘No child left behind’ is working!”

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Stamp Duty reform in Autumn Statement – effective from 4 December 2014

Stamp DutyThe Stamp Duty reform announcement in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement is yet another example of UK Government’s generosity towards the house building industry.  It could be argued that anyone buying a home, old or new-build will benefit, with reportedly 98% of homebuyers paying less from today. However the reform, whilst long overdue, will mean more people paying higher stamp duty in the long run with the housing market no longer constrained at the old price threshold levels and sellers free to tick up asking prices above the £125,000 zero threshold.

For sale board 2Many experts say the surprise change to the stamp duty system is likely to provide a fresh boost to the housing market and lead to higher prices for homes where the tax will be cut, property experts have warned. Mortgage lenders and estate agents have argued for a long time that this distorts the market, with house prices bunched just below thresholds.

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