NHBC working with industry to reduce basement claims

NHBC has been working across the sector with the aim of forming a cross-industry committee to focus on the key issues affecting basements in the UK and help shape a new set of standards.

NHBC, the leading insurance and warranty provider for new homes in the UK, last year reported that claims on basements since 2005 have cost the industry a total of nearly £21 million – affecting nearly 890 homes.

Since the publication of the report NHBC has met with key figures and organisations from the sector, along with builders, manufacturers and suppliers to discuss issues such as improved design and installation standards, improved training and the formation of a new cross-representative committee. It is hoped that the new committee, once established, will be able to lobby parliament on planning and regulation issues relating to the industry.

The Basement Information Centre and Property Care Association are among the groups NHBC has already met with in an attempt to address key basement problems.

Following further cross-industry discussions and new surveys of live sites, NHBC will be issuing a new Standards chapter that will build on the current benchmark standards and offer practical guidance for structural waterproofing and the construction of basements, which will be included in the NHBC Standards 2015 edition to be published later this year.

Marc Separovic, NHBC’s Technical Projects Manager, said:

“Meeting with so many organisations, companies and individuals within the industry has enabled us to gain a detailed understanding of good practice on numerous aspects of basement construction including waterproofing systems.

“The benefits of working together are established and ultimately with the introduction of the new basement chapter, will raise standards and begin to reduce the number of costly repairs as a result of defective basement construction.”

NHBC’s initial report into basement problems found that nearly all basement claims were a result of water ingress, not structurally related, and that the majority of large claims from 2012 were due to workmanship and design failures associated with externally tanked Type A systems.

The report also highlighted the overarching issue relating to sufficient Ground Investigations being carried out to accurately establish the existing ground water conditions and enable the correct waterproofing system to be adopted.

Technical Extra, featuring a range of advice and guidance relating to basements, is available.