The Code requirements have recently been reviewed and updated. Please select the relevant tab below according to when the home was reserved.
The Code Requirements, 4th edition (for homes reserved up to 31 Dec 2023) DOWNLOAD PDF
The Consumer Code Scheme, 4th edition (for homes reserved up to 31 Dec 2023)
The current Code Requirements which apply to homes reserved up to 31st December 2023 are:
1 Adopting the Code
1.1 Adopting the Code
Home Builders must comply with the Requirements of the Consumer Code and have regard to good practice guidance.
1.2 Making the Code available
The Consumer Code for Home Builders’ Scheme logo must be prominently displayed in Home Builders’ sales offices, those of appointed selling agents, and in sales brochures.
All Home Buyers who reserve a Home should be provided with a copy of the Code Scheme with the Reservation agreement.
1.3 Customer service: before legal completion
The Home Builder must have suitable systems and procedures to ensure it can reliably and accurately meet the commitments on service, procedures and information in the Code.
1.4 Appropriately trained customer service staff
The Home Builder must provide suitable training to all staff who deal with Home Buyers about their responsibilities to them and what the Code means for the company and its directors.
1.5 Sales and advertising
Sales and advertising material and activity must be clear and truthful.
2 Information – pre-contract
2.1 Pre-purchase information
Home Buyers must be given enough pre-purchase information to help them make suitably informed purchasing decisions.
In all cases this information must include:
- a written Reservation agreement;
- an explanation of the Home Warranty cover;
- a description of any management services and organisations to which the Home Buyer will be committed and an estimate of their cost;
- the nature and method of assessment of any event fees such as transfer fees or
Also, if a Home is not yet completed, the information must include:
- a brochure or plan illustrating the general layout, appearance and plot position of the Home;
- a list of the Home’s contents;
- the standards to which the Home is being built.
2.2 Contact information
Home Buyers must be told how their questions will be dealt with and who to contact during the sale, purchase and completion of the Home.
2.3 Warranty cover
Home Buyers must be given accurate and reliable information about the insurance-backed warranty provided on the Home.
2.4 Health and safety for visitors to developments under construction
Home Buyers must be informed about the health-and-safety precautions they should take when visiting a development under construction.
2.5 Pre-contract information
Home Builders must advise Home Buyers to appoint a professional legal adviser to carry out the legal formalities of buying the Home and to represent their interests.
Home Buyers must be given a Reservation agreement that sets out clearly the Reservation’s terms, including, but not limited to:
- the amount of the Reservation fee;
- what is being sold;
- the purchase price;
- how and when the Reservation agreement will end;
- how long the price remains valid;
- the nature and estimated cost and of any management services the Home Buyer must pay for;
- the nature and method of assessment of any event fees such as transfer fees or similar liabilities.
The Reservation fee must be reimbursed if the Reservation agreement is cancelled. The Home Buyer must be told of any deductions that may be made.
While the Reservation agreement is in force, the Home Builder must not enter into a new Reservation agreement or sale agreement with another customer on the same Home.
3 Information – exchange of contracts
3.1 The contract
Contract-of-sale terms and conditions must:
- be clear and fair;
- comply with all relevant legislation;
- clearly state the contract termination rights.
3.2 Timing of construction, completion and handover
The Home Buyer must be given reliable and realistic information about when construction of the Home may be finished, the date of Legal Completion, and the date for handover of the Home.
3.3 Contract termination rights
The Home Buyer must be told about their right to terminate the contract.
3.4 Contract deposits and pre-payments
The Home Builder must clearly explain how Home Buyers’ contract deposits are protected and how any other pre-payments are dealt with.
4 Information – during occupation
4.1 After-sales service
The Home Builder must provide the Home Buyer with an accessible after-sale service, and explain what the service includes, who to contact, and what guarantees and warranties apply to the Home.
4.2 Health and safety for Home Buyers on developments under construction
Home Buyers must be told about the health-and-safety precautions they should take when living on a development where building work continues.
5 Complaints and disputes
5.1 Complaints handling
The Home Builder must have a system and procedures for receiving, handling, and resolving Home Buyers’ service calls and complaints.
The Home Builder must let the Home Buyer know of this, and of the dispute resolution arrangements operated as part of this Code, in writing.
5.2 Co-operation with professional advisers
The Home Builder must co-operate with appropriately qualified professional advisers appointed by the Home Buyer to resolve disputes.
The Code applies to complaints made up to two years from the date on the Home Warranty Body’s insurance certificate, which defines the start of the period of cover, about defects or damage caused by a breach of its technical requirements. An Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme is available for Home Buyers who believe their builder has failed to meet the Requirements of the Code.
1. Complying with the Code
1.1 Adopting the Code
1.1.1 This Consumer Code is mandatory for all Builders*.
1.1.2 Builders must comply with the Requirements
1.2 Making the Code Available
1.2.1 The Builder must make the Code available, free of charge, to any Customer interested in buying a Home and it must be made available in appropriate formats where requested.
1.2.2 The Code must be readily accessible to Customers from the Builder’s website, and on any software applications that may be used and referred to in sales literature.
1.2.3 The Builder must prominently display the Code logo in public areas related to the Home sales process (including areas such as sales offices and offices of appointed selling Agents), and in sales brochures and on websites.
1.2.4 In making the Code available, the Builder must consider the needs of, and comply with, guidance on Vulnerable Customers in section 1.6 – Vulnerable Customers.
1.3 Customer Service Standards
1.3.1 The Builder must ensure that they have systems and procedures in place to enable them to accurately and reliably meet their commitments to compliance, service, procedures, information and monitoring in relation to the Code. This includes being able to comply with any awards (including financial) made under the Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.
1.4 Training of Customer Service Staff
1.4.1 The Builder must provide training on the Requirements to all staff (including those employed by any Agents used) who deal with Customers
1.5 Sales and Advertising
1.5.1 The Builder must ensure that the content of any sales and marketing material relating to the Home is clear and truthful and uses plain English. The content must comply with all relevant codes of advertising and the law.
1.5.2 The Builder must state in their sales and marketing literature that they subscribe to and comply with the Code.
1.5.3 The Builder must not mislead Customers or Buyers, including on the following matters:
- Size of property.
- Specification of property.
- Energy-performance ratings.
- Pricing of property.
- Mobility adaptations.
- Legal completion date.
- Warranty provisions.
- Management services.
- Future phases of the Development.
- Costs, coverage or benefits of any additional products such as insurances or warranties and guarantees.
1.5.4 The Builder must not use high-pressure selling techniques to influence a Customer or Buyer’s decision.
1.5.5 If the Builder receives any commission for recommending certain products or services, this must be declared to the Buyer (see also section 2.3.3).
1.6 Customer Vulnerability
1.6.1 The Builder must acknowledge and cater for the needs of Vulnerable Customers and help them make informed decisions.
2.1 Pre-contract Information
2.1.1 The Builder must give Buyers or their Professional Adviser (or both) enough
pre-contract information to help them make suitably informed purchasing decisions.
2.1.2 In all cases this information must include:
- a written Reservation Agreement
- an explanation of the cover provided by the Home Warranty and contact details of the Home Warranty Body providing it
- a description of any management services and organisations to which the Buyer will be committed and an estimate of the associated costs
- the nature and method of assessment and calculation of any Event Fees
- whether the Home is Leasehold or freehold
- the Detailed Planning Consent reference number under which the Home is being built and details of any future build phases of, and the facilities on, the expected completed Development if this is known and for which there is Planning Consent
- a list of contents in the Home that are included in the price including white goods, curtains, carpeting, wall tiling, door-entry systems, power points and sanitary-ware fittings
- a specification for the Home including the type of materials providing the building’s main structural frame (masonry, timber, steel frame or other)
- information about the standards the Home is being built to, including confirmation that it will meet the UK Building Regulations, the relevant home Warranty Body’s standards and the Home’s expected energy-performance standards
- any exceptional restrictions on using, living in or the appearance of the Home and its grounds. This does not include standard terms covered in the title deeds, plot transfer of ownership or equivalent document. The Builder must recommend that the Buyer asks their appointed Professional Adviser about any exceptional restrictions that apply
- details of any services, facilities and responsibilities that may not immediately transfer from the Builder to the Buyer on Legal Completion (for example, responsibility for the water and drainage systems and utilities). If these will transfer to the Buyer on a later date, the Builder must explain this in full and give the Buyer written details.
2.1.3 If the Home is not yet complete, the Builder must also give the Buyer:
the Builder’s provisional estimate of when the Home will be ready for occupation
a brochure or plan showing the size, specification, general layout, plot position and orientation of the Home.
2.1.4 The Builder must inform Buyers, in writing, how their questions will be addressed and who to contact (with names and contact numbers) during the sale, purchase and transfer of ownership of the Home.
2.1.5 The Builder must give the Buyer a copy of the Builder’s Complaints Procedure
(see section 5.2 – Complaints and Disputes).
2.2 Reservation Agreements
2.2.1 The Builder must give the Buyer a Reservation Agreement, written in plain English, which has been signed by both parties (digitally or in person) and which sets out clearly the terms of the Reservation, including:
- the company name or the legal title of the seller of the Home
- the amount of the Reservation Fee
- the Buyer’s right to cancel within the Reservation period and the range of possible monetary costs the Builder may retain
- the terms under which the Reservation Fee is refundable and non-refundable and any administration fees or similar that the Builder may deduct
- that it is “Subject to Contract”
- details of the Home including the property type, plot number, Development name, postal address (if available), parking arrangements
- the purchase price of the Home
- how long the price and the Reservation Agreement remain valid
- how and when the Reservation Agreement will end
- date by which Contract Exchange must take place
- any dependent or conditional matters for example part-exchange details, if applicable
- details of how the Buyer can include in the Contract of Sale any spoken statement that is to be relied upon
- the nature and annual estimated cost of any Management Services (Scotland: ‘factoring’) and other costs that the Buyer must pay, as specified in section 2.1 – Pre-Purchase Information
- whether the Home is freehold or Leasehold
- the nature and method of assessment of any Event Fees
- scope and process for administering changes to the Home (such as paint colour, design changes, specification changes)
- how the Buyer can cancel the Reservation Agreement, including as a result of a Major Change (as set out in section 3.3)
- that there is a 14-calendar-day Cooling-off Period, during which the Buyer can cancel the Reservation Agreement and receive a refund of the full Reservation Fee.
2.2.2 The Builder must refund the Reservation Fee (less any stated deductions if appropriate) within 14 calendar days of the date of any notice of cancellation given by the Buyer.
2.2.3 The Reservation Fee must be fully refunded if the Buyer wishes to cancel the Reservation for any reason within 14 calendar days of signing the Reservation Agreement. Refer to section 3.4 – Protecting Buyer Deposits and Pre-Payments.
2.2.4 While the Reservation Agreement remains valid, the Builder does not have the right to terminate the Reservation Agreement and must not enter into a new Reservation Agreement or sale agreement with another customer on the same Home.
2.2.5 If a Builder offers an Early Bird arrangement and charges a fee, they must:
- not charge more than £150 (or any future maximum set under the Code)
- make it clear to the Customer before any fee is paid, how long they have to accept the Early Bird offer and how long they will have to change their mind and still receive a full refund of the fee they have paid, and
- tell the Customer of any administration fees or similar that may be deducted.
2.2.6 Subject to any data protection requirements, at the end of the Reservation Agreement period, the Builder should give the Home Warranty Body full details of the Buyer and the Home they have reserved if the Home Warranty Body requires this.
2.3 Appointment of Professional Advisers
2.3.1 The Builder must make Buyers aware that they should seek and appoint independent legal advice when carrying out the legal formalities of buying the Home.
2.3.2 The Builder must not restrict the Buyer’s choice of legal representative, financial adviser, mortgage intermediary, or qualified inspector. However, the Builder may recommend a practitioner from a panel.
2.3.3 The Builder must inform the Buyer if they receive any fee, commission or any other reward or advantage for introducing any adviser (see also section 1.5.5).
2.4 New Home Warranty Cover
2.4.1 At Reservation and before Contract Exchange, the Builder must give the Buyer accurate and reliable information about the New Home Warranty provided for the Home.
2.5 Health and Safety for Visitors to Sites under Construction
2.5.1 The Builder must ensure their sites meet all relevant health-and-safety legislation and guidance.
2.5.2 The Builder must inform Customers/Buyers about the health-and-safety precautions they should take if permitted to visit a live construction site.
2.6 Part-exchange Schemes
2.6.1 When a Builder offers Buyers a Part-exchange Scheme, the terms must be fair, transparent and must not be used to pressure a sale. The Builder must give the Buyer, particularly if they are a Vulnerable Customer, adequate time to consider the information provided.
3. Contract Exchange
3.1 The Contract of Sale
3.1.1 The Builder must ensure that the Contract of Sale terms and conditions:
- are clear, fair and written in plain English
- comply with all relevant legislation
- define the Legal Completion notice period, which is from serving a Notice to Complete until Legal Completion
- clearly state the circumstances in which the Buyer can terminate the Contract of Sale as set out in section 3.3 – Contract of Sale Termination Rights
- clearly state what will happen if construction of the Home is delayed and the Home will not be ready for ownership by the Buyer by the date stated by the Builder
- clearly explain how Contract Deposits are to be protected as set out in section 3.4 – Protecting Buyers’ Deposits and Pre-Payments.
3.1.2 The Builder must formally consult the Buyer and get their agreement to a Major Change that occurs after Contract Exchange to the design, construction or materials to be used in the Home, if this significantly and substantially alters the size, appearance or value of the Home from what was shown to the Buyer in the Reservation Agreement and Contract of Sale.
3.1.3 The Builder must tell the Buyer of their right to terminate the Contract of Sale and the specific circumstances when they could use it, if the Major Change is unacceptable to the Buyer, before Legal Completion. The Buyer must have the right to terminate the Contract of Sale and be refunded their Contract Deposit and Reservation Fee and any other pre-payments without deductions. (See also section 3.3 – Contract of Sale Termination Rights.)
3.1.4 The Builder must formally consult the Buyer about any Major Changes to the design, construction or materials of the Home occurring after the Reservation Agreement.
It is not sufficient for the Builder to simply put these Major Changes in the Contract
of Sale. The Builder must make the Buyer aware of the Major Changes in writing
and obtain the Buyer’s agreement to them.
3.2 Timing of Construction, Legal Completion and Handover
3.2.1 The Builder must give the Buyer reliable and realistic information about:
when construction of the Home is scheduled to be finished
the date at which ownership of the Home will transfer from the Builder to the Buyer on Legal Completion.
3.3 Contract of Sale Termination Rights
3.3.1 The Builder must inform Buyers about their right to terminate the Reservation Agreement and Contract of Sale.
3.3.2 The Builder must repay the Contract Deposit, Reservation Fee and pre-payments in full without deductions within 28 calendar days if the Buyer terminates the Contract of Sale because of Major Changes to the Home or for an unreasonable delay, as defined in the Contract of Sale. (See also section 3.3 – Contract of Sale Termination Rights.)
3.4 Protecting Buyer Deposits and Pre-Payments
3.4.1 The Builder must have in place and explain to the Buyer the arrangements for protecting Contract Deposits and any pre-payments paid by Buyers, including Reservation Fees.
4. Legal Completion
4.1 Legal Completion
4.1.1 At the point of Legal Completion, the Builder must:
- have completed the construction of the Home to the standards identified in section 2.1.2
- have carried out their final quality-assurance inspection of the Home and given the Buyer a schedule of any Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works, and a statement of timescales for completing /remedying them along with the need for access at suitable times to enable the problems to be put right
- have agreed or given the Buyer an appointment for a home demonstration
- give the Buyer the Home Warranty documents showing that cover is in place
- have given the Buyer, or their Professional Adviser, the opportunity (in writing) to visit and carry out a Pre-Completion Inspection
- give the Buyer a copy of the Builder’s Complaints Procedure (see section 5.2 – Complaints and Disputes)
- give the Buyer the Health and Safety File for the Home in compliance with relevant legislation
- give the Buyer a statement of incomplete works, not being a part of the Home, but which serve it and directly affect it, as part of the Development under the relevant Planning Consent, and indicative timescales for their completion. (Examples include utilities, roads, open spaces, recreational areas, landscaping.)
- give the Buyer an explanation of how the appliances included in the Home operate
- give the Buyer full details of any guarantees and warranties that relate to the Home and appliances
- give the Buyer a copy of the Building Regulation Control Certificate and Inspection Records if requested (‘Habitation Certificate’ in Scotland).
4.1.2 The Builder must not offer a Buyer incentives (financial or otherwise) to move into, or complete the purchase of, a Home that has not been completed to the standards in section 2.1.2.
4.2 Health and Safety for Buyers living on Developments under Construction
4.2.1 The Builder must tell Buyers about the health-and-safety precautions they should take when living on a Development where building work continues and the measures that the Builder applies to protect them.
5. After Occupation Starts
5.1 After-sales Service and Defects Resolution
5.1.1 The Builder must give the Buyer a comprehensive and accessible After-sales Service for at least two years after Legal Completion.
5.1.2 This service should include the following things:
- Dealing with Snags that the Buyer notifies to the Builder during the two years after Legal Completion.
- Rectifying Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works in the Home that the Builder becomes aware of during the two years after Legal Completion.
- Repairing or replacing appliances and mechanical and electrical equipment provided by the Builder that develop faults (excluding wear and tear, lack of maintenance, misuse etc.) during the two years after Legal Completion.
- Remedying problems associated with any fixtures and fittings (excluding wear and tear, lack of maintenance, misuse etc.) provided by the Builder. This includes items not supplied as standard with the Home but for which the Buyer paid the Builder.
5.1.3 The Builder must ensure that Snags or Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works covered by the After-sales Service are resolved as soon as possible and within a mutually agreed timescale.
5.1.4 To make sure the Buyer understands how to access the After-sales Service, the Builder must provide the Buyer with suitable information about the service. It must include:
- a written statement of their After-sales Service procedures
- an explanation of their responsibility for remedying any Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works arising in the property for at least two years after the date of Legal Completion, under the terms of the New Home Warranty
- an explanation of how Snags and Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works and service calls will be managed, including timescales; how they should be reported and the names and contact information of the Builder’s staff to whom such issues should be addressed
- an explanation of the process for reporting and handling emergencies, including what qualifies as an emergency that the Builder will deal with
- a written explanation of what constitutes Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works during the first two years after Legal Completion and the Builder’s liability to remedy them, giving references to the relevant Home Warranty Body’s standards
- an explanation of what is normal maintenance and ‘running in’, which are the Buyer’s responsibilities, particularly for maintaining such things as boilers and appliances
- details of how the Buyer can make a formal Complaint about any issue or problem (including Snags and Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works) if they are unhappy with how the Builder proposes to deal with it.
5.2 Complaints and Disputes
5.2.1 The Builder must have, and keep to, a system and procedures for receiving, handling and resolving Buyer’s Complaints and Disputes (see section 5.2.4).
5.2.2 The Builder must give the Buyer a written statement of the process for making a formal Complaint and for resolving Disputes if the Builder and the Buyer fail to agree on the resolution. It should include details of how the Buyer can escalate such an issue to the following:
- The Builder
- The Home Warranty Body regarding any matters that fall under the Home Warranty Body’s dispute resolution service or warranty cover.
- The Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.
5.2.3 The Builder’s Complaints Procedure must be given to the Buyer and made available on the Builder’s website.
5.2.4 The Builder’s Complaints Procedure must clearly state the following:
- That the Builder will provide a written acknowledgement of the Complaint to the Buyer within five working days of the Complaint being made.
- That the Buyer can expect a more detailed response from the Builder within 20 working days of a Complaint being made. Where applicable, the response should include one or more of the following:
- An acceptance of the Complaint and what action the Builder is going to take to resolve the issue(s) raised.
- An estimated timescale for the work required to resolve the issue(s) raised.
- The time may vary depending on, for example, the nature of the issues raised, investigation work needed, the lead time for sourcing materials, and the preparation work needed.
- A rejection of the Complaint and details of the reason(s) why the Complaint is rejected.
- Details of any further investigation work necessary to determine the outcome of the Builder’s decision to either accept or reject the complaint, including timescales.
- That a written final response will be provided as soon as possible after any further investigation has been carried out and that it will set out what part(s) of the Buyer’s Complaint the Builder agrees with as well as (where appropriate), what part(s) the Builder disagrees with and why.
- That if the Complaint becomes a Dispute, the Buyer may refer it direct to the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme or the Home Warranty Body (or both) as appropriate:
- if the Buyer does not receive any response from the Builder within 20 working days of a Complaint being made
- if the Buyer cannot reach an amicable resolution to the Complaint with the Builder within 56 calendar days of the Complaint being made
- if the Defective, Faulty or Incomplete Works or issues arising are not resolved within timescales agreed between the Buyer and the Builder.
- That using their Complaints Procedure or the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme does not affect the Buyer’s normal legal rights. If the issue is not covered by the New Home Warranty, the Home Warranty Body may give the Buyer details about the Code’s Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme. See also section 5.1 – After-sales Service and Defects Resolution.
- That a Dispute may be brought to the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme after 56 calendar days have passed since the Buyer first raised the Complaint with the Builder and no later than 12 months after the Builder’s final response to the Complaint.
5.3 Co-operation with Professional Advisers
5.3.1 The Builder must co-operate with appropriately qualified Professional Advisers
(or agreed intermediary) appointed by the Buyer to help with the purchase of the Home, any pre-inspection and in the resolution of any Complaints before they become a Dispute.
5.3.2 The Builder must provide the same level of co-operation to an agreed intermediary representing the Buyer (e.g. a family member or friend) as they would to the Buyer.
*Applies to all builders operating within the scope of the Code (see page 9 of the Consumer Code Scheme).