The 2015 National new home customer satisfaction survey undertaken by the House Builders Federation (HBF) has shown that over 86% of respondents were pleased with the overall quality of their new home. However the converse of that statistic is that presumably approx. 14% – almost 1 in 7 of those who responded are not satisfied with their new home. With over 137,000 new homes being started in 2014 that equates to a very substantial number of dissatisfied home buyers!!
The House Building industry, rather than resting on its laurels with headlines such as “Homeowner satisfaction with new homes remains high” needs to start addressing the reasons why almost 1 in 7 of its customers are not happy with their new home. A figure which I would suggest is far too high for a customer driven industry. As someone, who through my business Snagging Inspections Limited, goes around England inspecting new build properties on behalf of buyers I never cease to be amazed at some of the build quality, or rather lack of quality that I find on my inspections.
Whilst the majority of House Builders produce a high quality property and do look after their customers, there are still far too many who produce a substandard quality of finish for their customers. I recently undertook a snagging inspection on a 4 bed detached home in Cheshire that had over 200 separate defects or snags including having every artificial stone cill at ground floor level damaged and virtually every window in the property in need of remedial work. Totally unacceptable.
You would not drive a brand new car away from the garage with a dented front wing or a scratch on the door yet you pay 20, 30, possibly 50 times or more than the cost of a car for your new property and some house builders, fortunately a minority, handover new homes with numerous defects or snags and then shrug their shoulders or become aggressive or very defensive when the purchaser wants them rectified – as though they were asking for the earth – not just for their new home built to an acceptable standard.
As an inspector of new build homes, I still find it both frustrating and annoying that a minority of house builders will not allow an independent snagging inspection to be undertaken prior to completion. Have they something to hide? If my experiences are anything to go by then the answer is yes. These house builders are usually those who produce the poorest standard of finish for their customers. Why? These defects or snags are not going to go away. They just end up with dissatisfied customers who, in this age of social media, then tend to also vent their anger on the internet. This does neither the house builder in question nor the industry in general any good.
It was noticeable in the HBF customer satisfaction survey that I referred to at the start of this article that four of the house builders who received a 5 star rating from their customers made the following statements:
“put construction quality and customer service at the heart of everything we do”
Mark Clare – Chief Executive – Barratt Developments plc
“A commitment to customer service excellence is part of our culture at CALA”
Alan Brown – Chief Executive – CALA Homes
“committed to putting customer satisfaction at the heart of our business”
James Wilson – Chief Executive – Davidsons Developments
“Excellence in design and build quality and customer service is at the heart of our operation”
Russell Denness – Chief Executive – Croudace Homes Group
So for all those house builders who were amongst the almost 1 in 7 who did not build a new home to their customers satisfaction, get your act together and start producing a quality product!!