New Homes Quality Code Consultation

A consultation into the draft New Homes Quality Code has been published by the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB).

The consultation will run for four weeks from June 9 to July 7 and the NHQB is encouraging as many stakeholders, customers and interested parties as possible to respond. It should take around 15 minutes to complete.

About us

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) is a new independent body that will have responsibility for overseeing the quality and the customer service provided by developers to buyers from the sales and marketing of new homes until the end of the first two-years of ownership.

Based on the principles of independence, transparency and integrity, its objectives are to deliver a consistently high standard of new home quality and service, and to strengthen complaints handling and redress for purchasers of new-build homes where these high standards are not achieved.

An interim board was established in May 2019 to oversee preliminary plans, with representatives from across the sector including consumer bodies, developers, providers of new home warranties, the lending industry, Homes England and independent members to tackle these issues.

Since then, work has progressed well including on the legal structure of the permanent body and board. This has now been completed and the NHQB has now been constituted as a legal entity and the board members appointed in a permanent capacity.

We look forward to bringing forward our vision for quality, service and improved consumer redress in 2021.

    image supplied by Barratt Developments

    Championing quality new homes & better consumer outcomes

    Our Aims

    The race to meet housing targets and high demand for new homes has rapidly accelerated since 2012. As volumes increase it is essential quality and service levels improve too. The NHQB aims to deliver a step change in how the house building industry operates and deals with customers.

    We want to help position housebuilding as a modern, forward-thinking industry, and give confidence to customers when they purchase their new home.

    Taking responsibility for the quality of new build homes and customer redress, the NHQB will oversee the creation and adoption of a comprehensive new industry code of practice, the New Homes Code (NHO) , as well as the appointment of a New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) to adjudicate against the new code.

    What we’re planning

    The New Homes Code aims to consolidate and improve on existing protections covering important aspects of the construction, inspection and sales process, while the New Homes Ombudsman Service will provide customers with access to fair and efficient redress.

    The new arrangements will provide customers with more confidence in new build homes and will provide governments with the assurance that as they introduce policies to increase housing supply, the industry will be delivering high standards of quality, service and customer satisfaction. 

    All of the new arrangements will be paid for by the house building industry and access to the NHOS will be free to consumers, likely through a new consumer facing portal that will be developed as part of the tender requirements by the appointed ombudsman service.

     

    The appointment of a New Homes Ombudsman Service – invitation to apply

    The process to appoint an independent New Homes Ombudsman Service is now underway and the NHQB is inviting interested, qualified parties to apply.

    "The new arrangements will lead to a step change in how new homes are built and sold and how customers are treated. The board is committed to driving new build quality and strengthening protections for buyers. A new home is the most important purchase most of us make and it is essential that buyers have confidence in both the product and the processes in place to support them."

    NHQB chair Natalie Elphicke MP

    “I am delighted to be a member of the New Homes Quality Board and proud to be part of improving build quality and consumer protection across the new homes sector”.

    Katy Jordan

    “I look forward to continuing to work, as part of the newly launched New Homes Quality Board, to develop a new industry code of practice and deliver a step change for customers/consumers to ensure they can be assured of high quality homes and customer service from their housebuilder and that the standards to which the industry are held to, are clear. This is another positive step forward for the industry and I am confident these measures will benefit both customers and housebuilders.”

    Jennie Daly

    “I am delighted to support this new body which will champion good quality homes and give much needed peace of mind for homebuyers with a strong regulator to help them if things go wrong.”

    Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick 

    “It’s crucial developers show more responsibility for the quality of their work while also acknowledging when things go wrong – this helps give vital confidence to buyers, especially at a time of general uncertainty."

    Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes MP

    FAQs

    Why is the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) being established?

    The establishment of a NHOS is a move that has been committed to by Government, and was the number one recommendation made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group in its report on the quality and redress issues experienced by customers of new build homes.

    It will provide customers with access to fair and efficient redress as well as more confidence in new build homes and will provide governments with the assurance that as they introduce policies to increase housing supply, the industry will be delivering high standards of quality, service and customer satisfaction. 

     

    When will consumers be covered by the New Homes Code (NHC) and New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS)?

    All the new arrangements will be paid for by the industry, the NHOS will be free to consumers, with access being through a new portal. The intention is to have a NHOS in place later this year. Once established there will be a transition period during which developers will need to sign up to the new arrangement, and so be subject to the requirements of the New Homes Code (NHC) and the jurisdiction of the NHOS. Once a developer has registered with the NHQB and signed up to the new arrangements, all new home buyers that have reserved homes from that date will be covered by the NHC and the NHOS.

     

    I’m in the process of buying, how will this affect me?

    Once the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) is established later this year, there will be a transition period during which time developers will be asked to sign up to the new arrangement. You will not be able to access the NHOS until your developer has registered with the NHQB and signed up to the new arrangements. However, please be reassured that you will still be protected by the existing redress process and consumer codes still in place if you reserve before the new arrangements are in place.

     

    Is the NHQB independent?

    The NHQB has an independent chair and deputy chair and the board comprises representatives with experience from a range of sectors including consumer bodies, developers, providers of new home warranties and the lending industry ; there are also two independent board members; whilst Homes England attend the board in a representative capacity.  Constitutional safeguards have been put in place to ensure the board has a majority of non-industry representatives on it

     

    What is the structure of the new framework?

    The NHQB will oversee all the arrangements moving forward, including the appointment and subsequent ongoing monitoring of a New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS).

    Underneath the NHQB will sit advisory committees which will include consumer, technical, public authorities and financial services specialists and a code council.

    The NHQB will be responsible for publishing data on the performance of the industry; and working with the industry to ensure it is aware of its responsibilities under the new arrangements and in a position to deliver against them. (It is envisaged additional support will be provided for SME builders.) This will include training support to enable developers to be able to train their staff.

    A new industry code of practice – the New Homes Code – sits at the centre of the new arrangements. It builds on the existing consumer codes but puts much more responsibility and requirements on developers. In particular it covers post occupation and sets out how developers have to deal with any issues buyers have with their new homes in the first two years.

    The NHQB will set up monitoring processes to ensure developers are complying by the requirements of the New Homes Code.

    Who will fund the new arrangements?

    All of the new arrangements will be paid for by the house building industry, likely with an annual registration fee and a  levy based on volumes, with an additional fee for certain referrals to the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS). Access to the NHOS will be free to consumers. Exact funding arrangements are being agreed.

    Where can I find out more information?

    We will be releasing more information to consumers about how to access the benefits of the New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) in due course, once the Code of Practice has been finalised and the tender process for the NHOS is underway.

    The Board

    Natalie Elphicke OBE

    Independent chairman

    MP

    Douglas Cochrane

    Deputy chair

    Independent

    Jackie Bennett

    Board member

    UK Finance

    Joanne Casey

    Board member

    Mactaggart and Mickel

    Gillian Cooper

    Board member

    Citizens Advice

    Jennie Daly

    Board member

    Taylor Wimpey

    Katy Jordan

    Board member

    Storey Homes

    Paul Smee

    Board member

    Conveyancers Association

    Nicholas Boys-Smith

    Board member

    Create Streets

    Steve Wood

    Board member

    NHBC

    The following also attend the board as representative, (non-voting) members; 

    Barry Cummins

    Board member

    Homes England

    Steve Turner

    Board member

    Home Builders Federation (HBF)

    Contact Us

    Note: The NHQB cannot yet advise or act on any consumer complaints or issues. Consumers with problems with their new homes should;

    • Contact their builder who has a responsibility to deal with all issues in the first two years of occupation (note, if a builder does not deal with a complaint to the satisfaction of a consumer they should contact their warranty provider if they offer a dispute resolution service e.g. NHBC.)
    • Contact their warranty provider about issues with a new home in years 3-10
    • Contact the consumer code with complaints about their builders’ performance

    If you would like to get in touch about our work please fill in the form below or email info@nhqb.co.uk.

    For media enquiries please contact media@nhqb.co.uk 

     

    *Note: The NHQB cannot yet advise or act on any consumer complaints or issues. Consumers with problems with their new homes should;

    • Contact their builder who has a responsibility to deal with all issues in the first two years of occupation (note, if a builder does not deal with a complaint to the satisfaction of a consumer they should contact their warranty provider if they offer a dispute resolution service e.g. NHBC.)
    • Contact their warranty provider about issues with a new home in years 3-10
    • Contact the consumer code with complaints about their builders’ performance