Defect Liability Period: A Guide for Developers

What is a Defect Liability Period?

We’re sure you’ll be aware of defect liability periods and how they affect you. A defect liability period is a form of warranty which is usually two years, after legal sale. You’ll be responsible for making sure that all defects in the plot are fixed during this time.

This period of time can also be called a rectification period or defects correction period. It all sounds relatively simple and straightforward, right? 

Defect Management, Defect Liability Period

The amount of time you’re responsible for can differ from site to site, but the defect liability period is usually 24 months. During this time, your buyers might contact you with defects. If this happens, the problem should be fixed in a reasonable amount of time. Most of our clients consider no more than 1 month for routine items and 24 hours for emergency items to be fair. 

During the 24 months after sale, the buyer can report as many defects and snags as they notice to you. Not everything that buyers report will be true defects. They are often user error or home owner maintenance which is not your responsibility. This is something that should be decided as soon as an issue is called in because you still have to deal with the customer.

What does this mean for my business?

Smaller developers can keep in contact with your customers but bear in mind that one angry buyer, a difficult build or luxury plots can all affect the amount of time taken up by defects. Smaller companies can consider outsourcing to avoid these unforeseen problems.

Construction team may tell larger developers that there will be few defects whereas the truth can be very different. It’s very rare that a plot will have no issues to report at all. Across an entire site, it’s unheard of. 

Some Developers choose to complete an end of defects process at the end of the two years which can put unnecessary strain on your teams which isn’t required by the warranty provider.

You cannot ignore the Defect Liability Period and you should prepare for it. If you ignore the Defect Liability Period it could cause frustration to your customer. You can avoid this by thinking about how you’re going to manage it now and make sure you’re prepared.

If you want to talk to us about some options for outsourcing we can help you. You can read more about our services or contact us here.  

You can read more about the industry’s most frequently purchased warranty at the NHBC website.

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After Build are continuing to provide their service through the COVID-19 crisis. Our team are working remotely to diagnose and attend to defects, keeping customers informed and keeping contractors safe. You can find more information on our COVID-19 tab. 

We know that developers are being effected and we want to be able to help. If you need urgent assistance with after care or site services, we can help. 

In the meantime, we encourage all clients, contractors and homeowners to stay safe.