Following on from the “More Homes, Fewer Complaints” report in 2016, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Excellence in the Built Environment has once again called for the creation of a housing ombudsman to tackle issues they have identified in the house building sector.
A new report by the APPG, entitled “Better redress for homebuyers”, recommends that the new homes ombudsman should be free for consumers, make awards of up to £50,000, report annually, and include an industry-wide practice code. The ombudsman would be funded by a levy on house builders, with larger companies paying proportionately more.
In 2016, the National Federation of Builders (NFB), whose membership consists of small and medium sized (SME) developers, responded to the APPG by saying that the inquiry did not reflect the reality of its members’ working practices. Two years on, the NFB retains the same view.
The APPG is correct to identify that the majority of homes are built by the biggest house builders, but the NFB is disappointed that it stops short of making recommendations to decrease that reliance on volume developers and make the industry more competitive.
Instead of promoting the best practitioners, the APPG has focused on the worst performers, even going as far as identifying the collapse of Carillion as evidence of needed change.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:
“While more must be done to support consumers, this is already happening with the Consumer Code for Home Builders.
“We don’t need a blunt instrument introducing more regulatory barriers to solve the housing crisis. We need more high quality house builders and a cultural change rewarding best practice.”