Why a building survey on a newbuild home could be essential

Buying a newbuild home may seem a risk-free enterprise. No leaky roofs, no crumbling walls, simply a brand-new construction that’s going to be maintenance free for years. The reality for some is shockingly different and suggests getting an independent chartered surveyor to examine the property before you sign on the dotted line could be essential.

A recent episode of the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme heard of how some families’ new homes had become uninhabitable less than a year after they had moved in.

Structural problems have caused leaks, subsidence, holes in the floor and cracks in the wall in a property that was only months old. According to the independent surveyor who inspected the home, builder Bovis had forgotten to put in place essential movement joints that are designed to stop the cracking if the land shifts. The house was only completed in December 2016.

Snags were actually major defects

The BBC programme spoke to homeowners who had bought from a variety of house builders who revealed that the snags – usually minor defects in a newbuild – were actually major defects, including poor drainage, dampness, badly fitted windows and doors, and sloping floors.

A 2017 survey by the House Builders Federation showed that 98 percent of new homeowners reported snagging problems with 41 percent identifying more than 10 snags in their new home.

New homes are inspected by the National House Building Council (NHBC), which provides a 10-year warranty for homeowners who buy from a builder that is part of the NHBC. According to the NHBC, 90 percent of newbuilds are covered by its warranty.

It inspects new homes during the construction and completion stages, according to its guidance for home buyers: “Our inspectors carry out inspections of all new NHBC registered developments at key stages during their construction to check compliance, as far as reasonably practicable, with the NHBC standards.”

Resolving structural issues

Homeowners who have been in their new property less than two years should deal directly with the builder to resolve any structural issues with the NHBC offering a free resolution service where issues cannot be resolved between owner and builder.

While that is cold comfort to those who have bought a new home in good faith that is not fit for purpose, anyone contemplating investing in a newbuild could remove the stress or worry from that purchase by instructing a chartered surveyor to examine the property before completing the deal.

Surveyor Local works only with chartered surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), ensuring you have an independent expert on your side.

Talk to our team on 0800 038 6667 now to find out how we can help with a building survey to give you peace of mind.

Post Author: Frances Traynor