Over three million homes were built in Britain over the last two decades. 

However, while developers of housing have seen record profits thanks to government incentives for their properties, homeowners have faced a host of challenges.

The new-build business is now a £60 billion industry, market researcher IBISWorld says. Ministers plan to build 300,000 new homes per year in the middle of 2020.

New build nightmares: The average property now comes with as many as 157 defects, up 96% from 80 in 2005, according to specialists BuildScan

According to experts BuildScan, the average home now has 157 defects. This is 96% more than it had in 2005 when there were 80.

But Britain’s new housing developments are often full of unhappy residents. Owners complain of soaring numbers of defects — and some are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements before repairs are made.

Many were also burdened by onerous leasehold agreements and faced huge costs to replace fire-risk cladding. Even though the government promised to prohibit the sale of leasehold properties in England, these homes can legally still be sold today.

Homes are also being constructed on flood-risk areas and with poor energy efficiency standards.

What is the point of allowing shoddy standards in Britain to destroy its newly built housing stock.

Snagging shame

A recent poll conducted by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) found that 94% of newly-built homeowners have at least one defect after their home is completed. 

Poor plastering, bad brickwork pointing and damaged windows are among the most commonly reported ‘snags’.

Experts at BuildScan have found that the average property is now plagued by as many as 157 deficiencies, up from the 80 it had in 2005. 

Over the same period, the price of the average new-build home has soared by 44 per cent to £340,936.

In recent years, 12 of the largest construction companies have built more homes. 

According to a report by the parliamentary committee, 59% of market share was held by larger companies in 2015, up from 31% in 2008. In the wake of financial crisis, scores of small construction companies were forced to close their doors.

Big business: The new-build business is now a £44.4bn industry, market researcher IBISWorld says and ministers want to be building 300,000 homes each year by 2025

Big business: The new-build business is now a £44.4bn industry, market researcher IBISWorld says and ministers want to be building 300,000 homes each year by 2025

However, experts believe larger firms will leave their homes with more snags because of the pressure on builders to quickly finish projects and move on.

Supply chain issues and spiralling material costs have added to the pressure placed on the sector.

James Forrester, managing director of small developer StripeHomes, says: ‘Unfortunately, snagging issues are rife and the big builders are often the culprits. 

The result is that some homes simply aren’t fit for purpose and, in the most serious cases, pose a real danger to those unlucky enough to purchase them.’

Nicholas Christofi (Managing Director of Sirius Property Finance) says homes that are less high-quality could see their quality decline within 30 years.

And government schemes such as Help to Buy have also helped firms fill their pockets, by offering interest-free equity loans to buyers with small deposits — if they bought a new-build property. Critics allege that the scheme was used by builders to increase prices.

Told to sign NDA to get £7k payout 

Shoddy: Jamie Flarry has reported 400 snags with his Persimmon home

Shoddy: Jamie Flarry reports 400 snags in his Persimmon residence

Jamie Flarry reported 400 snags to their Persimmon residence. Sarah Lynn also reported this.

The couple bought 50 pc of the £370,000 four-bedroom house in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, through a shared ownership scheme two years ago.

But within days they had uncovered problems including a front door that wouldn’t open properly and a leaky bath.

Jamie (40), a payroll manager went to Premier Guarantee as his warranty provider. Premier Guarantee confirmed that all 270 issues had been addressed.

Persimmon initially offered the couple £2,000 to have things fixed themselves if they signed a non-disclosure agreement. This was later raised to a final offer of £7,000.

Jamie, pictured above, went back to the warranty company, which paid £12,000 in July.

A Persimmon spokesman says it has worked hard to resolve the couple’s complaints over the past two years.  

The heating letdown

The majority of buyers will expect the new home they buy to be energy efficient.

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that all developers are required to provide electric-car charging outlets for any new properties. 

All properties now have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which tells buyers how efficient they are.

However, government statistics show that only 2 percent of EPC ratings for new properties in England were A-standards. This is the highest possible score. 

And while 83 per cent achieved a ‘B’, 2 per cent received an E and a few were awarded a G, the lowest rating. Only 5% of Wales’ new-builds received an A.

The Government is banning gas boilers in new homes from 2025 — but hundreds of thousands could be fitted in new builds before then.

An energy-efficient heat pump costs about £2,500 to install when a home is being built, and more than three times as much to fit retrospectively. 

And while the Government will begin offering £5,000 grants towards the cost of fitting a new heat pump in England and Wales, new-build homes will not be eligible.

Labour says that if heat pumps were installed in more than 850,000 homes built over the next three years, owners would be spared a bill of more than £5 billion.

Lucy Powell, who was shadow housing secretary until this week, says: ‘It is insanity that we are building homes today that will need to be expensively retrofitted.’

A government spokesman says homes built to current standards won’t need extensive retrofitting to reach net zero. New-build buyers in Scotland can apply for up to 75 per cent in cashback, capped at £7,500, towards the installation of a renewable heating system such as a heat pump.

Threat: Floodplain development had risen by 12% in the last decade, putting more families at risk of dangerous and costly floods, according to the Committee on Climate Change

According to the Committee on Climate Change, Threat: Floodplain development has increased by 12% over the past decade. This puts more people at risk from dangerous and expensive floods.

Flooding risk

Local councils are under increasing pressure to approve plans for new builds — and this year alone, approval was given for more than 5,000 new homes to be built in areas at high risk of flooding, according to insurer LV and think-tank Localis.

Floodplain development rose by 12 per cent in the past decade, according to the Climate Change Committee.

Lenders often refuse to lend money to homeowners who own properties that are located in high-risk areas or have a history with flooding. 

Flood Re covers home insurance premiums, but not those for homes built in areas at flood risk. 

The Environment Agency advises against building on floodplains. However, councils aren’t legally required to do so.

David Renard, of the Local Government Association, says: ‘Councils reject planning applications that are reckless, and are generally opposed to building property where there is a risk of flooding.’

200 tradesmen visits 

John Charalambous (left), and Sarah Noakes (right) say they have received over 200 visits from tradesmen and staff to resolve problems in their new-build.

John Charalambous and wife Sarah Noakes claim have already had more than 200 visits from staff and tradesmen over problems with their £400,000 new-build

John Charalambous and wife Sarah Noakes claim have already had more than 200 visits from staff and tradesmen over problems with their £400,000 new-build

Sales manager John, 49, and Sarah, 35, moved into their £400,000 four-bedroom home in Hailsham, East Sussex, in November last year but found issues including a leaky bay window and stained carpets.

John says: ‘I must have sent more than 300 emails to Linden Homes since then.’

A Linden Homes spokesman says: ‘We have been in contact with the customer in response to the items raised and the vast majority have been resolved.’

Too little help

Developers have a duty to correct any issues with new constructions free of cost, provided that the problems are identified within two years. 

Between three and ten years after a property was built, the builder usually has to repair major defects that would cost more than £1,500 to fix.

However, homeowners are not always the most reliable.

Paula Higgins, of the campaign group HomeOwners Alliance, says: ‘All too often, we hear from families who are waiting months or even years to get problems fixed.

‘While some builders will eventually resolve the issue, other drawn-out snagging requests will lead to rows over who is accountable and whether the firm should have to foot the bill.’

Buyers have the right to complain to builders. If they don’t get their way, the case can be taken to the National House Building Council (NHBC). As long as the company is a member. 

Some campaigners argue that the NHBC is limited in its ability to assist. Builders will not be required to cover additional costs, like surveys.

Hotly contested snag complaints can be taken to a small claims court, provided the homeowner is claiming back £10,000 or less.

But if this is unsuccessful, you may pay as much as £790 in court fees if you decide not to represent yourself. 

This is often an excessive amount for families that have used their savings to buy a home.

The Dispute Service has been appointed last week as the New Homes Ombudsman, which offers free help for unhappy buyers whose builders signed up. 

After the Building Safety Bill receives royal assent, the Government will introduce a mandatory scheme.

Scandal homes

A number of scandals also affected buyers who are new to the market. Around four million homeowners are now unable to sell their homes because of fire-risk cladding. 

More than 1 million homeowners of flats are affected by this. They also have to pay huge amounts for special insurance or safety precautions.

In the meantime, 4.5 Million new-build purchasers were tied into punitive leaseholds, with skyrocketing ground rent demands, that left some properties unsellable.

After a long-fought campaign led by The Daily Mail, the government pledged that it would not allow developers to sell new leasehold homes.

Recently, the Commons received their second reading of a Bill to lower punitive ground rental costs to zero for almost all these properties.

The Home Builders Federation says new builds are boosting local economies and that customer satisfaction is ‘extremely high’.

Another spokesperson stated that homes built from new materials are much more energy-efficient than those constructed in the past.

Spokesman for the government says they are committed to prohibiting new leasehold homes being sold.


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