Preliminary announcement of findings and recommendations of the APPG Inquiry into the Quality of New Build Housing in England

The waiting is nearly over.   Its official!  The New Home Ombudsman is coming! A culmination of two years’ campaigning and ten years dedicated work highlighting the plight of UK new homebuyers.

I spoke. They listened!

The APPG Inquiry report is being finalised and is due for publication in “at the beginning of June 2016.”

APPG Announcment 1On Tuesday 17 May 2016, chair Oliver Colvile MP made a speech at the JCT Parliamentary Reception highlighting the findings and the main recommendations.

He said that he, and “many of his Parliamentary colleagues across the country have had new homebuyers coming to their MP’s surgeries to complain about the way their new home was built. Although the report hasn’t been finalised, I can confirm that the Inquiry Committee has agreed on a number of recommendations and I would like to share a few of those with you”

  1. 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.
  2. Standardised house building sales contracts should be enforced, meaning uncertainty surrounding bespoke builders’ contracts would be removed.
  3. There should be a mandatory right for buyers to inspect and, should they wish, carry out a full survey prior to financial completion. More details of this particular point will be announced in the final report.
  4. 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.”

Mr Colvile said that he “believes at the very least, these four recommendations will go a long way to creating better homes for buyers, improving trust in the house-buying system and driving up standards across the sector.”

I whole heartedly agree! I am personally delighted, having made a presentation at one of this APPG Inquiry sessions, that all four of these specific recommendations come as a direct result of the presentations made during the second session I attended. Indeed, I have personally and unstintingly campaigned for nearly two years  for the introduction of a New Homes Ombudsman and I also proposed to the committee that buyers should have a mandatory right to either inspect their home, or have a professional snagging inspector do so, before they legally complete.


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4 Responses to Preliminary announcement of findings and recommendations of the APPG Inquiry into the Quality of New Build Housing in England

  1. This is brilliant news! Thank you for all your hard work. Any feel for what will happen for those already in new homes? Perhaps we will have to wait for the detail….

  2. It will depend on how quickly the new homes ombudsman is set up after the APPG Inquiry Report is published at the beginning of June.

  3. Unbelievably, Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, an industry body set up to represent the house builders’ best interests told the Financial Times:

    “Housebuilders have gone to great lengths in recent years to simplify and improve the homebuying process while enhancing the quality of new homes. This is reflected in the industry’s very high customer satisfaction ratings.” He said the industry was “committed to further improvements to deliver the best possible experience for its growing number of customers”.

    We’ve heard it all before! High satisfaction ratings? This is the industry’s own survey, manipulated by house builders and despite this, it shows standards have FALLEN three years running!

    The HBF website on 20 May 2016 said:
    “HBF will keep members updated as to progress with the report and will be engaging with members as to how we respond.”

    In other words, “How we can fight any proposals we don’t like.”

  4. Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation (HBF), told Inside Housing: “On the few occasions where problems do arise, it is important they are dealt with swiftly so that homeowners can fully enjoy their new homes.”

    You have to ask why have housebuilders never done this in the past?
    We will also see just how often Baseley’s “few occasions where problems arise” as 93% of new home buyers report problems to their builders in the first 8-12 weeks. The NHBC spent £87m in the year April 2015/2016, 26.2m of which was during the first tow years of the warranty when Baseley’s builders are supposed to be “dealing when them swiftly”.