Guide to the Consumer Code for Home Builders
The code has been designed to protect the consumer and make the process of buying a newly-built home smoother and more transparent.
What is the Consumer Code for Home Builders?
The Consumer Code for Home Builders was set up back in 2010 to ensure buyers of new-build homes have all the information at their fingertips before committing to the purchase.
It's designed to ensure that you are treated fairly, know what levels of service to expect, and are informed about your purchase and consumer rights before – as well as after - you move into your brand new home.
The scheme applies to complaints lodged within two years from the start date of the home warranty cover.
It offers an independent dispute resolution service if you feel that your builder has not met the code’s requirements. And you could be awarded up to £15,000.
Who are its members?
All house builders that are registered with Britain’s leading new home warranty providers, including NHBC, Premier Guarantee and LABC Warranty, adhere to the code.
What are the benefits?
Prior to the Consumer Code for Home Builders, you would have had to seek legal action if your case was not covered by your builder’s home warranty scheme.
However, the industry-led and run code now offers you the opportunity to settle your complaint through an independent dispute resolution scheme – and avoid the potentially expensive process of taking a case to court.
What does the code cover?
You house builder must meet 19 separate requirements to cover every stage of the buying process.
Firstly, you must be given all the necessary information to make an informed decision about buying your dream home. This includes:
- A written reservation agreement, including reservation fee, what is being sold, the purchase price and how long the price remains valid
- An explanation of the insurance-backed home warranty cover
- A brochure or plan showing the layout, appearance and position of the home, a list of its contents and the standards to which it is being built, if the property is not yet built and ready for occupation
- A description and estimate of the management services the buyer must pay for
Once you have found the home that ticks all your boxes, your house builder must give you a contract that is fair and clear.
The company is required to provide reliable and realistic information about when your new home will be finished, as well as the dates of legal completion and when the home will be handed over to you.
You have the right to terminate the purchase and get your reservation fee back - without any deduction - if there is an unreasonable delay in completing the property.
Your builder is also required to explain how contract deposits are protected and how they will deal with any other pre-payments.
Finally, once you have moved into your new home, your house builder must provide an after-sales service, as well as information explaining what it includes, who to contact, and information on any guarantees and warranties that come with your new home.
Your house builder is also required to advise on any health and safety precautions if you move into a home when building work is still taking place nearby.
How do I make a claim?
The first port of call if you have a complaint about the buying process is to lodge it with your house builder. If you are not satisfied, you should contact the home warranty provider within three months of the builder’s final response to the original complaint.
The home warranty body will either deal with the complaint under the terms of the warranty or give you an application form so that you can refer it to the independent dispute resolution service, the Consumer Code for Home Builders’ Adjudication Scheme.
During this process, a trained adjudicator will review written submissions from both you and your house builder, and decide an award.