Under the Code, home buyers can raise a claim using our free, speedy, Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS) if they believe their home builder has breached the Code. With the average small claims case now taking approximately 52* weeks to resolve through the courts, the IDRS provides a faster, more accessible option for home buyers and builders alike.
The Code’s IDRS is run by CEDR Ltd. CEDR Ltd is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute as the ‘competent authority’ acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for dealing with disputes that are raised with the builder from the Reservation date until two years after the date of Legal Completion.
Claims can be raised through our IDRS where you believe your home builder has failed to meet the Code’s requirements and your complaint falls outside your home warranty body’s resolution scheme for defects or damage.
Some Code requirements and the maximum amount you can claim differ depending on when you reserved your home:
Overview of the IDRS process
When a claim is raised, an adjudicator will first raise the issue with the home builder and encourage early resolution, saving you time and trouble and allowing builders to benefit from a reduced claim fee.
Where early resolution is not possible, both parties will be invited to submit evidence which will be reviewed by a trained Adjudicator. The Adjudicator will decide whether you have a legitimate dispute and have suffered a loss because your home builder has breached the Code’s requirements.
To support your claim, you should provide any relevant documents and/or evidence that supports your dispute and any loss associated.
The adjudicator will then publish a draft decision (known as a Proposed decision) to allow both parties to make any clarifications as needed, before reaching a final decision including recommendations for remedial action or compensation as appropriate. The decision is only binding once the home buyer has accepted the decision, prompting the home builder to take any action directed by the Adjudicator.
More detailed information will be issued by the relevant home warranty body with each application for adjudication. You can also check out the resources on our website, including:
Stages of an IDRS Claim
- The claim starts when you complete an application form and send it to the IDRS with your statement of evidence. Your statement must contain all the information relevant to your complaint and where possible, identify the Consumer Code Requirement(s) you allege has/have been breached. You must also provide copies of receipts or other evidence of expenditure if making a financial claim.
- The IDRS will ask your builder to respond to your statement. At this stage your builder may resolve the complaint without a formal adjudication – this is called ‘early settlement’ and results in a reduced case fee for your builder.
- If early settlement does not happen, your builder must submit their response to the Adjudicator. You will be given a copy of your builder’s response and asked to respond if you wish. At this stage, you may not raise any further new complaints about your claim which is why it’s important to include as much relevant information as you can from the outset.
Have a look at previous cases and Adjudication Summaries
- The Adjudicator will consider both submissions and decide whether or not your builder has failed to comply with the Code and whether you have suffered financial loss as a result. Both parties will be expected to have acted reasonably and to have controlled their costs.
- The Adjudicator will make a proposed decision and send it to both parties. The decision may be a performance award (where your builder has to do something) or a financial award (where your builder has to pay you some money as determined by the Adjudicator) or a combination of the two. Both parties are invited to notify the Adjudicator of any inaccuracies or provide missing information before a final decision is made.
- The Adjudicator may make a discretionary award for inconvenience. They will do so if, in their sole consideration and opinion, you have been caused inconvenience as a result of the complaint and/or how your builder handled it. You may not receive an award for inconvenience alone if the Adjudicator does not find a breach of the Code.
- The Adjudicator’s decision cannot be appealed; it can only be accepted or rejected by you.
- Under the rules of registration, the home warranty bodies require each registered builder to honour any award made against them under the IDRS.
- If the Adjudicator makes a financial award and you unconditionally accept it in writing, the Adjudicator must notify your builder of this in writing. Your builder must pay the award to you within 20 working days of the date of the Adjudicator’s written notification.
- If you do not unconditionally accept the award, any subsequent legal action you may take instead is likely to take account of the adjudication decision.
- Your builder remains liable for an award, even if they are removed from a home warranty body’s register.
Please Note: This Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme is independent of the home warranty bodies. Adjudication decisions made under the Scheme are not insured under the home warranty bodies’ Home Warranty Schemes.
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*Correct as at Jan-March 2023, Ministry of Justice