The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has hailed the launch this week of the New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) as a major step forward in helping to restore consumer confidence and trust in the housebuilding industry.
Chaired by Natalie Elphicke MP OBE, the NHQB will oversee the introduction of a new industry code of practice that will place greater responsibility on developers to deliver quality homes and better consumer outcomes. The NHQB will also institute a New Homes Ombudsman Service (NHOS) to provide much needed support for buyers in the event of a dispute.
The establishment of the NHQB comes four years after the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment (APPGEBE), which is sponsored by the CIC, called for such measures after it found widespread evidence of consumers having no redress to housebuilding companies selling poor quality homes and failing to rectify problems.
The NHQB acknowledged the work of the APPGEBE at its launch, citing the Parliamentary group’s report More homes, fewer complaints in 2016 and its subsequent 2018 report Better redress for homebuyers, which called for a New Homes Ombudsman as its number one recommendation.
Professor Tony Crook CBE, Emeritus Professor of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield and Chair of the CIC’s Housing Panel, said: “CIC is delighted that this new board has been established to help restore trust and confidence in the house building industry.”
Crook, a member of the APPGEBE 2018 Commission of Inquiry which called for the ombudsman, added: “It is a major step forward in lifting standards and will provide much needed peace of mind to those buying a new home, knowing there is system of redress in place should problems arise.”
The NHQB’s board members include representatives from consumer bodies, housebuilders, warranty providers, the finance sector and independents – with no one body dominant.
Crook added: “We are pleased to see the new arrangement follows recommendations in the our APPGEB reports which called for access to a new homes ombudsman to be free to consumers and for all costs to be borne by the house building industry.”