Whether you’re a new-build home buyer looking for reassurance about the support our code provides, or a home builder or agent wanting to understand more about the Consumer Code Scheme, here’s a few facts about the Code and the work we do.

The original code – 14 years in existence

Our Code was launched in 2010 following recommendations of the Barker Review of 2004 and the government led study into the house building industry published in October 2008. The Code has been providing protection for new build home buyers for the past 14 years, supporting them from reservation through to two years after completion, while raising standards within the industry through shared learning and sanctions.  

21 Requirements to better serve home buyers

The latest edition of the Code, which came into effect on 1st January 2024, consists of 21 requirements that home builders and their sales agents must meet so that new home buyers are treated fairly and are fully informed about their purchase before, during and after their purchase.

Following a comprehensive and independent review carried out during 2023, the revised Code contains additional requirements relating to snagging and part-exchange properties and existing requirements have been enhanced to strengthen protection and align with other codes in the marketplace.

But we don’t just issue requirements – there’s lots of help, guidance and free training offered to help the industry get it right so that their customers have a good experience when buying a new home.

We cover the three stages of the home buying process

The Code was developed to make the home buying process fairer and more transparent for purchasers and focuses on the three main stages of the purchasing journey:  pre-contract, during purchase and after occupation – for up to two years! 

Home builders and their sales agents must adhere to the Code requirements so that home buyers receive good customer service, feel well informed before making their purchase, and that the home meets the expected specification when the buyer moves in.

Our series of video guides provides an overview of the support available during each of these stages and can be viewed here.

Supported by the four main home warranty bodies

We are proud to be supported by:

  • NHBC
  • Premier Guarantee
  • LABC Warranty
  • Checkmate

By default, homes being built under the insurance protection of one of our supporting home warranty bodies must comply with our Code, unless the home builder opts to switch to a different code.

Five years as a Chartered Trading Standards Institute Approved Code

In December 2023 the Code celebrated 5 years as an approved Code under the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Approved Codes scheme, having successfully completed the latest annual ‘Approved Code’ audit.

 All approved codes are required to undergo a stringent audit each year to ensure they continue to provide strong protection for consumers, as well as access to independent redress.

The Code was commended for being a “driving force for change” following the latest audit which highlighted efforts to regularly share information and best practice with builders, home buyers and wider stakeholders, and providing clear factual information to help informed decision-making.

Led by consumer protection experts

Our Board is independently chaired by Noel Hunter OBE. Noel’s consumer protection and trading standards credentials are extensive, having gained expertise through a wide variety of senior-level roles in various organisations. He is currently Vice President of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), Chair of the British Hallmarking Council, a previous Vice-Chair of the Council of The Property Ombudsman, and previous Chair of the Board of the CTSI.

The Board is made up of a mix of highly experienced industry experts and consumer protection representatives. Find out more about their roles and expertise here.

Chief Executive, Carol Brady, has been providing support services for the Code since May 2014 and brings extensive experience in consumer and regulatory policy. Previous roles include chairing the Claims Management Unit at the Ministry of Justice, Senior Ombudsman at the Legal Ombudsman, Commissioner at the Gambling Commission and former chair of the Birmingham Assay Office.

2,594 enquiries handled by the Code’s dedicated Consumer enquiry service in 2023 alone!

Our Code scheme provides a dedicated customer enquiry line provided by the award-winning CTSI Contact Centre, and consumers can call, email or write to the team. This is usually the first point of contact that home buyers will have with the Code and the team are fully trained to provide all the necessary information and signposting to help with queries.

345 cases reviewed in 2023 by the Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme

Although most home buyers are happy with the service they receive when buying a new build home* sometimes things do go wrong and the Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS) is available free of charge to consumers to raise a dispute if they believe the home builder has breached the Code.

The scheme is run by award-winning dispute resolution experts, CEDR Ltd, who are approved by the CTSI as the ‘competent authority’ acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for dealing with disputes. Further information on the IDRS and how to raise a complaint is available here.

In addition to those complaints referred to the Code’s IDRS, thousands more complaints under the Code are successfully resolved by builders or the relevant warranty body directly with home buyers each year. We applaud the marked increase in consumer care that has occurred within the industry since the Code came into operation, with latest responses to the National New Homes Customer Satisfaction Survey finding 90% of respondents would recommend their builder to a friend, and 88% of respondents said they were satisfied with the quality of their home. However, there’s still much room for improvement which is why codes of practice, independent redress and learning from complaints remain essential.

Continuously improving – five editions of the Code to date

The home building industry doesn’t stand still – and neither do we. From the outset, we committed to carrying out a review of our Code every three years to ensure continuous improvement, development and relevance within the market.  Triannual reviews have been taking place, although the review that was due in 2020 was put on hold following the Government’s announcement at that time, that it intended to establish a single, statutory based code. This subsequently did not happen so the review went ahead during 2023, leading to the Fifth Edition of the Code incorporating the majority of the 16 recommendations arising from the Review.

We consult consumer bodies and industry stakeholders to ensure our reviews are robust and our Code remains fit for purpose.

Want to know more about the Code and the work we do? Take a look at our videos and blogs or check out our resources hub.

*National New Homes Customer Satisfaction Survey

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