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NHBC is Just Part of the Solution

01 November 2011

NHBC is Just Part of the Solution

Most new homes that are built in the UK have some kind of warranty - the most common being from the National House Building Council (NHBC) which you will find on homes built by the UK’s largest developers - covering 80% of new homes. An NHBC Buildmark warranty is valid for ten years - a pretty short time given the average life span of a typical house.  

If you are buying a house which was built in the last ten years then it's important to check the property has an NHBC certificate as it does give some degree of protection for some issues which may develop. However like most forms of insurance, there is a lengthy list of exclusions. In fact it is easier to look at what is covered rather than what isn’t, for example the following are covered: 

  • - Foundations
  • - Load-bearing walls
  • - Non load-bearing partition walls
  • - Wet-applied wall plaster
  • - External render and external vertical tile hanging
  • - Load-bearing parts of the roof
  • - Roof coverings
  • - Ceilings
  • - Load-bearing parts of the floors
  • - Staircases and internal floor decking and screeds where these fail to support normal loads
  • - Retaining walls necessary for the structural stability of the house, bungalow, flat or maisonette, its garage or other permanent outbuilding
  • - Double-glazing or triple-glazing panes to external windows and doors

Whilst this looks like a comprehensive list, compared with what can go wrong in a house it is rather short with other complications such as heating systems, damp problems or the knock on effect a poorly constructed extension can have to a property.  

Whilst the seller pre sale disclosure declaration is legally binding, the re address through this is a difficult and time consuming process.  

Given the narrow range of faults covered by the NHBC warranty, it's surprising then that more people buying newer houses don’t spend more money and find out a great deal more detail about their new home. A sizeable number of the potential faults in a property could be picked up in a building survey. 

Don’t assume that just because a property is just a few years old nothing can go wrong with it -  repairs could cost tens of thousands of pounds, so isn’t it a better idea to pay a little extra for a building survey and get some peace of mind? In many cases the building survey can pay for itself as it's sometimes possible to negotiate a better price on a property if you know more about its true condition. 

 Jonathan Cornell (in association with Colleys, the Property Experts) 

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