Raising the Standard

Following Bovis Homes’ agreement to recompense purchasers to the tune of £7m for poorly built new homes, research suggests that more than half of the buyers of new homes in the UK in recent years have experienced major problems with their properties, with issues including basic construction, unfinished fittings and faults with utilities.

Which? quotes the number of homeowners who complain about new build property at a staggering 93%, saying that as many as 64% of these new homes have more than six problems.

Despite this, a YouGov poll, commissioned by Shelter, showed that 41% of homeowners would still rather live in a new home than an older one, and 45% disagreed with the statement “New homes are built to a higher standard than older homes”.

Shelter claims that 80% of working private renting families cannot afford a new-built home in their area. It has set out its vision for building new homes in a report entitled ‘New Civic Housebuilding’ which calls for a return to building high quality, affordable homes. It wants the Government to encourage the development of model villages, similar to Bournville village which was created by Cadbury for its workers, or the Duchy of Cornwall’s developments at Newquay, where the private estate is involved in two projects designed to consider development sustainability.

The National House Building Council (NHBC), the body responsible for checking new homes for defects and which provides ten year warranties for most new homes, has been criticised for being too close to housebuilders and is failing in its responsibilities.

The Shelter report suggests that big developers are being favoured over families looking for homes, and that these housebuilders are failing families by producing expensive, poor‑quality housing.

The report concludes that the delivery of high-quality, affordable homes is possible by finding ways to bring down the cost of land. Toby Lloyd, a co-author of the report, said: “We need government to prioritise bringing more land forward at lower cost, by giving local authorities more powers, setting up development corporations and using public land in smarter ways than simply selling it to the highest bidder.”

For advice from Independent Chartered Surveyors on buying both old and new properties, contact www.propertysurveying.co.uk