Fighting for Fixes: Tips to Enforce Your Home Builder Warranty

new build house
*Collaborative Post

Moving into a new-build home can be exciting, yet stressful at the same time. While you expect some minor snags, major structural or finish issues can quickly dampen your homeowner spirit. If problems arise in your new property that the builder should reasonably fix under the home warranty or NHBC guidelines, it pays to understand your rights and the proper procedures to follow. This helps ensure you get the home fixes you deserve in a timely manner.

Do Home Builders Have Responsibilities After Completion?

Yes, most major home builders belong to warranty providers like the NHBC or Premier Guarantee. These schemes protect owners for at least the first two years by requiring buildings to rectify serious defects in materials, constructions, finishes, and more. Cover extends to driveways, drains, kitchen appliances, water installations, electrics, and heating systems. Nonetheless, reputable firms often aim to maintain good customer relationships by addressing reasonable issues beyond the stated warranty period. It may also be possible to get an extended warranty, such as a 10 year new build warranty with some builders.

Spotting Covered Defects

Warranties cannot cover every tiny imperfection; minor blemishes get noted on the snagging list. Yet major flaws in workmanship or materials contravene quality standards, signifying covered defects. For example, NHBC guidelines accept small plaster cracks due to normal drying and shrinkage but not large ones indicating underlying problems. Similarly, small paint touch-ups are typical, unlike widespread flaking revealing poor preparation.

The de facto compensation test relates to what a reasonable owner can expect from a property sold as brand new. Would another buyer happily purchase the home as is, without a price reduction? If numerous remedial jobs become necessary early on, the builder probably falls short of the inherent quality promises made.

Logging Initial Snags Properly

Carefully completing the snagging list before move-in lays crucial groundwork for securing subsequent repairs under warranty. Note all visible defects accurately, no matter how small. Get promised completion dates for unfinished aspects like landscaping, then follow up if the builder drags their feet. Consider employing a snagging surveyor to spot issues you might miss.

This shows the firm you intend to hold them accountable. Construct detailed paper trails confirming initial problems for reference later. Take date-stamped photos and videos, storing copies offsite too. Email correspondence summarises the understanding reached. If the builder later disputes defect coverage, robust records verify precisely when and how you flagged your concerns initially.

Attempting Direct Resolution

Upon noticing further faults later on, begin by contacting the site manager or customer service team directly to seek assistance. Explain in a factual, dispassionate manner the defects seen, referring back to previous snag lists. Highlight respects in which the problems fail to align with warranty quality promises or NHBC standards. Provide photographs plus written quotations from independent tradesmen to remedy issues if appropriate.

Stay reasonable and constructive in communications; builders get more incentivised helping homeowners who make their case politely and professionally. That said, firmly stand your ground when seeking definitive repair solutions. Refer to next steps like formal claims procedures if the firm stays uncooperative beyond a reasonable period.

Initiating the Formal Claims Process

If you are unsatisfied with the responses received, formally invoke the warranty claims procedures in writing. For NHBC-registered homes, their resolution service investigates by deploying building inspectors to assess damage. They determine whether the issues relate to breaches of NHBC guidelines and if the builder holds liabilities for repairs or compensation payouts.

The key involves demonstrating that the problem stems from inherent build quality failings rather than owner damage or normal wear and tear. Hence why keeping thorough defect records remains vital. Take more photos just before the inspector’s visit, showing that there have been no changes since you previously reported the problems. Take notes during inspections plus request copies of all reports produced.

Going Official with Ombudsmen

As a last resort, contact the relevant ombudsmen if warrantied repairs still get refused despite adequate evidence submitted. The two main Home Building Ombudsmen schemes in the UK now operate jointly for new complaints. They conduct additional site inspections using technical experts, hear all sides’ submissions in disputed warranty claims and publish reasoned judgements on the correct resolutions.

Most builders elect to comply with ombudsman rulings to avoid formal disciplinary procedures. However, for the few rogue traders ignoring directions given despite clear liabilities found, legal avenues remain open to ultimately pursue compensation owed. Gladly, these drastic steps seldom require consideration with reputable national developers.

New homeowners understandably feel frustrated when builders drag their feet addressing warrantied defects. Yet keeping communications constructive and claims procedures meticulous generally works wonders in securing your entitlements. With reputable warranty protection in place, plus the Home Building Ombudsman as a safety net, owners gain significant powers enforcing builder responsibilities regarding home fixes. Focus your efforts on demonstrating breaches of quality guidelines factually, avoiding undue aggression. Then provided adequate paperwork gets collated, you can rightfully demand satisfactory defect resolutions.

*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.

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