Government to crackdown on shoddy housebuilders

25 February 2020 | By CM staff

The government will set up a new independent ombudsman to protect homebuyers who are faced with shoddy building work in their new homes.

Under new rules, rogue builders will have to pay compensation for shoddy work, with the ombudsman enforced in law “as soon as possible”.

The New Homes Ombudsman help homebuyers with issues from sloppy brick work to faulty wiring – and will have statutory powers to award compensation, ban rogue developers from building, and order developers to fix poor building work.

Where people are in dispute with developers, it will also act to resolve any issues. Meanwhile, new measures have also been confirmed that make sure all homes sold under the future Help to Buy scheme meet higher standards, with a greater emphasis on quality.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home.

"That’s why the Ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of housebuilders across the sector.  

“Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve.

“Currently, homebuyers who purchase new builds have no independent way of challenging developers’ service or poor workmanship.

“Today’s news will give people buying a new home the confidence they need that when they get the keys to their home, they are getting the quality they expect.” 


Sadly, I think they will be very busy.

Michael Brown, 25 February 2020

Very pleased about the government settings up a new independent ombudsman to protect homebuyers who are faced with shoddy building work in their new homes.

Ron, 25 February 2020

Will this really work, will it be enforceable and most of all will the homeowners be satisfied.

Making the works right after the event isn't the point, preventing poor workmanship in the first place is surely the issue to be tackled.

Tim Barrett FCIOB , 25 February 2020

Another useless body no doubt - a bit like NHBC and their worthless guarantees that come with every shoddy, new build these days? Why are NHBC not calling for higher standards on products that carry an NHBC Certificate??

What's wrong with the Sale of Goods Act and Trading Standards (albeit without having to go through Citizens Advice to make any complaint)?

It seems simpler to update THAT rather than another useless "Quango" staffed by overpaid talking heads and cronies.

Maybe a decent class action lawsuit against one of the culprits would sort things quicker??

Or is that just being cynical?

Tom, 26 February 2020

It is long over due to hold these "cow boys" to account!
Mike Mogul

Mike Mogul, 26 February 2020

Whilst the Government are sorting that out, when will the Government crack down on sub contractors retention's when warranties are put in place?

If the builders don't get paid for their shoddy work, they withheld all the subcontractors retention's, then none of us get paid, including the TAX and VAT man.

frank quinlan, 26 February 2020

Nothing cynical about that Tom. The cynicism is in the industry. All the big plc builders have tiers of management that simply aren't any good. It is entirely possible to enter into Construction management with minimal experience or worse. Designs intended to achieve and perform get value engineered away for margin. Contracts are written up and then put in the bottom drawer until some smart alec needs it in order to avoid paying its suppliers. It's Dodge City out there and the building users suffer as a result.

Reform construction. Give proper powers to building inspectors. Provide fair contracts and police them. Why bother with CDM at all if the industry simply seeks to get around it?

Jon Aburrow, 26 February 2020

Until we hit them where it hurts (the bank) there will be no solution due to the ever increasing numbers of quick builds required. As with all commercial/industrial builds, we need to bring in a 5% retention for 12 months post handover. That makes it so simple, if they don't fix the problem, we use your retention to pay others to rectify at the builders expense. That needs no new department, no over paid consultancies, just a simple change to the contract that, the government keeps 5% of every new build until they are satisfied that there are no outstanding issue's. Simple !!

Jim Stratford, 26 February 2020

With the training given to tradesmen these days is there is any wonder the standards are low.

This is a joke.

There are not enough trained people with construction experience and knowledge to police this disregarding the costs

Phil Richardson, 26 February 2020

Whatever happened to the good old "Clerk of Works"?

When I started in my architectural career 60 years ago, he was the independent inspector on site. A time-served tradesman, usually a joiner, who knew what to look for and not be influenced by the contractor when reporting back to the architect anything he believed to be amiss during the construction of a building.

He was able to relate to Building Control officers, Statutory bodies, tradesmen on site, as well as being able to read constructional drawings to a degree which ironed out much of the "shoddy" workmanship and fundamental problems found on housing sites today.

Admittedly the house is a far more complex building form today, with central heating, solar panels, double glazing, thermal and sound insulation, fire precaution requirements etc, but many of these modern improvements are in the hands of specialist firms, which should be responsible to the main contractor [developer] and controlled by him through the conditions of the sub-contract between them.

Unfortunately, the developer is now the client, the architect, the quantity surveyor, the contractor, the clerk of works and the tradesmen, who produces a product which he must sell to the general public at a profit, regardless of its suitability of design or construction, because demand far outstrips supply and someone will buy it, warts and all.

William Nuttall, 26 February 2020

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