Buying a new home is an exciting process with a lot to take in. Occasionally there may be some aspects that don’t go according to plan and you might find that you need to raise a complaint with your builder. All builders covered by the Code must have an accessible complaints process in place and should provide you with a copy of this along with details of the Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.
Raising a complaint gives your builder an opportunity to investigate and put things right. To get your complaint off to a good start, here are some tips to consider when raising your concern.
- Check your builder’s complaints process. This should have been given to you prior to legal completion and should include details of how to make your complaint, who to, and the relevant contact details. Your builder’s policy should also set out what is covered by their complaints service and for how long – for example, builders are expected to handle complaints in the first two years after legal completion, although some issues may need to be escalated to your home warranty body.
- Explain the subject of your complaint clearly and concisely. It’s best to set it out in writing even if you then present it in person. Stick to the facts, avoiding any emotive language, and always remain polite. If you have relevant documentation such as warranties, work orders, email correspondence or receipts that support your complaint, include a copy of these.
- Alert your builder to any support needs. If you require support or have specific needs that may affect how you share or receive information from your builder, make the customer service team or complaints contact aware of this so they can adapt their approach accordingly.
- Set out exactly the remedial action you would like your builder to take to put things right. This lets your builder know your expectations and helps prevent any misunderstanding. Try to remain objective and realistic in your requests. You are more likely to receive a fast and effective resolution if your builder is clear about the problem and proposed solution and discussions remain constructive.
- Keep written records of all your conversations with those dealing with your complaint and retain a copy of all correspondence you receive. These will be helpful if you need to escalate your complaint further.
- Be prepared to follow-up. Some issues may take a while to resolve, and your builder should keep you informed throughout, but be prepared to chase if you don’t hear anything for a while.
In most cases, complaints are resolved quickly. However, if your complaint has not been resolved within 56 calendar days of raising it with your builder, you can contact your Home Warranty body for assistance. Depending on the nature of your complaint, they may handle it through their own complaints process, or, if it relates to a breach of the Code, they will provide you with the information you need to raise your dispute with the Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme (IDRS). Details of the Code’s IDRS are available on our website.
The Code is here to support you throughout your purchase and this includes after-sales once you have moved into your new home. By keeping the communication lines open and being clear about your concerns, you should receive a speedy response and constructive outcome to your complaint.