Bovis Homes still tackling ‘legacy issues’

Bovis Homes said in February that measures would be put in place to address properties that they have sold with faults. The measures implemented include an increased number of customer support staff, a new ‘homebuyers panel’ and the appointment of a ‘customer experience director’, some homeowners are still waiting for the completion of remedial work after six months, despite being promised that work would be carried out within six weeks.

Some of those in faulty properties were offered sums of money in exchange for early completion. Properties are reported to have been sold unfinished, with faults including electrical and plumbing problems.

In December, Bovis chief executive, David Ritchie, resigned shortly after the firm issued a profit warning.

At its AGM in May 2017, Greg Fitzgerald, the former head of Galliford Try and new chief executive of Bovis, expressed confidence that the firm would again become one of the UK’s leading housebuilders. Mr Fitzgerald said Bovis had “re-established a ‘customer first’ culture” and that delivering quality homes was paramount. He has since visited all UK developments in his effort to rectify the quality issues that made headlines nearly a year ago.

Eight new sites have opened this year, adding to the 95 already active, and the firm expects these numbers to be maintained throughout 2017. However, the number of completions are expected to be fewer than last year by 10-15 per cent, making around 1,500 homes available in the first six months of 2017.

Following a review of the business, Bovis has now announced the setting aside of a further £3.5 million – on top of the £7 million set aside in 2016, to deal with the ‘legacy issues’ on homes built last year.

Earlier this year Bovis rejected two takeover bids from rival companies Galliford Try and Redrow, and demand for homes has remained strong throughout the problems.

The firm’s chairman, Ian Tyler, admitted that they had let customers down, apologising that corners had been cut to reach ambitious targets. He said that poor quality and customer service had affected hundreds of homebuyers, saying: “We absolutely got it wrong; we have compromised along the way,” admitting that homes were built too quickly, and sites were started and handed over too early.

The use of careless subcontractors which ‘may not have been of the highest quality’ were among the issues – although some of these had been sent to rectify the initial problems.

Facebook and Twitter groups now abound, with Bovis Homes Victims Group, Bovis Moans, Bovis Complaints and others inviting disgruntled customers to share their frustrations and photos. However, while the aim of the groups may be to speed up the remedial process, some of the organisers of BHVG have been accused of ‘taking the money’ and removing complaints posts from the group within minutes of appearing online.

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