The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has been recently been launched, an independent watchdog charged with “driving new build quality and strengthening protections for buyers.”

What is the New Homes Quality Board?

The New Homes Quality Board is an independent body whose aim is to uphold the quality of newly built homes.

The watchdog has been long-awaited amongst industry experts, as consumers have little protection in the face of new build issues. This was evidenced by a 2015 customer satisfaction survey by the Home Builders Federation and the National House Building Council. The results found that 93% of buyers reported problems to their builders, with a third reporting at least 11 problems. Poor workmanship and ‘rogue developers’ are prevalent concerns, yet homeowners often have to pursue lengthy legal proceedings to obtain any form of redress.

What will the NHQB do?

The NHQB aims to rectify these issues to ensure the quality of new build homes, and to provide meaningful remedies for dissatisfied consumers.

Its primary task is to introduce a code of practice for new builds. The NHQB will oversee a consultation before issuing the requirements, known collectively as the New Homes Conduct. This will place “considerably more” demands on builders to deliver quality homes – demands which will last up to two years after the buyers have moved in. Developers must also put effective complaints procedures in place, outlining the amount of time a developer has to respond to an issue.

In addition, the NHQB will create a New Homes Ombudsman Services (NHOS). If a developer fails to respond to a complaint within the specified time, or a home-buyer is unhappy with the response, a complaint can be referred to the NHOS. The ombudsman will have the power to order fixes for substandard building work, amongst other things. The service will be free for consumers, giving new build home-buyers the protection of an independent regulator, should things go wrong.

Who is on the NHQB?

The New Homes Quality Board has nine board members, including representatives across the house building, banking and building control industries.

The New Homes Quality Board members are:

  • Natalie Elphicke MP for Dover (independent chair)
  • Douglas Cochrane (independent deputy chair)
  • Jackie Bennett, UK Finance
  • Joanne Casey, Mactaggart and Mickel
  • Gillian Cooper, Citizens Advice
  • Jennie Daly, Taylor Wimpey
  • Katy Jordan, Storey Homes
  • Paul Smee, Conveyancers Association
  • Nicholas Boys-Smith, Create Streets
  • Steve Wood, NHBC

Chair Natalie Elphicke said: “The new arrangements will lead to a step change in how new homes are built and sold and how customers are treated.”

“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.”

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