The Consumer Code for Home Builders’ (CCHB) Management Board has responded to the consultation on the New Homes Quality Code (NHQC) with suggestions on how some elements could be strengthened to protect consumers.
The NHQC has been developed by the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB). It will replace existing consumer codes – including the Consumer Code for Homebuilders – when it comes into force. The intention is to provide a consistent code of conduct across the industry, with which all registered developers will need to comply.
The NHQC includes many of the existing protections offered by the CCHB. It also includes some additional requirements relating to quality which should help address a gap in current provision. The CCHB fully supports the efforts being made to improve redress for consumers and is supportive of the new code, but has highlighted the need to clarify and/or strengthen some aspects, including:
- Direct registration – allowing builders to register directly with the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) risks losing the important step of checking a developer’s technical and financial capabilities which is currently handled by the warranty bodies. It is also unclear what happens if a builder opts not to register with the NHQB and how consumers would be protected in those circumstances.
- Quality standards – the CCHB fully supports the requirement to complete all works to a good quality standard but suggest this is more clearly defined, including who is responsible for determining that quality standard and how best practice will be applied consistently across the industry.
- Eligibility – that the new code should be extended to cover shared ownership and single property (i.e. non-commercial) landlords.
- Driving up standards – that the NHQB includes provision for enforcement and sanctions to ensure lessons are learned from complaints
- Independent inspection – that the NHQB clarifies the proposed option to allow an independent inspection of a property prior to completion, including the extent to which builders must rectify any snagging issues identified and the process for resolving any disagreements.
Noel Hunter, Chairman of the CCHB, said: “We are pleased to see many of the requirements already in place in our Code being reflected in the new arrangements, and we are keen to work with the New Homes Quality Board to support the smooth transition to the new code. However, it is important to clarify how consumers who purchase homes during the transition period will be supported, particularly given builders will have 12 months to register for the new arrangements once they have been launched.
“We will continue to work with the NHQB to ensure home buyers continue to receive the levels of protection they currently benefit from.”
Download the full CCHB response here: https://consumercode.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/CCHB-response-to-NHQB-Code-Consultation.pdf