Time spent now, reviewing your business will save cost and worry later. The office of the New Homes Ombudsman has yet to confirm the appointment date, however the interim Quality Board has been announced.

Below are the 10 points we believe will be important in ‘getting your house in order’. We can assist in every instance and would be happy to hear from you. Contact Tom Jay Clark, tomjc@afterbuild.com or call 07464 542535 for a no obligation consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. BUILD AGREEMENT

One of the most overlooked aspects of the New Homes industry is the ‘After Care’ section in most Build Agreements. Often they receive minimal consideration and this can leave a Home Builder exposed at the end of the build when after care arrangements are inadequate. The following needs careful consideration:

  • Retentions
  • Snags
  • Defects
  • Response times
  • Warranty period
  • Alternative contractors
  • Out of hours capability (especially M&E, Drainage and Security)

We can assist you with this task and provide you with a complete After Care section for inclusion in your next agreement.

2. INFORMATION

It is important for the Home Buyer to have the right information throughout the purchase process so that they can make informed decisions. For guidance on this aspect we would encourage the Home Builder to follow Consumer Code 2010 guidelines.

  • Pre-sales Information Warranty
  • Reservation
  • Contract
  • Timetable
  • Termination
  • Deposits and pre-payments
  • Professional advisers

In terms of information provided to a Home Buyer following exchange of contracts, After Build can provide the following:

3. RESOURCE

Every Home Builder must have/have access to systems and procedures to deliver a product of suitable quality with a level of customer service expected by the Home Buyer and based on the scope of the New Homes Ombudsman.

  • Sales staff must possess a full understanding of the product for sale
  • After care staff must fully understand the warranty and there must be a process in place to receive calls from the Homeowner during the 2 years following legal completion
  • A dedicated system capable of managing calls, actions and associated works with a full audit to back-up all events will be critical in the New Homes Ombudsman regime

We’re happy to provide a complete overview of the services available so you can identify any gaps in your own service structure.

4. BUILD QUALITY

The key to the entire process is a new home without Snags. All Home Builders believe that their product will be high quality and snag free – rarely is this the case, because:

  • Unanticipated events usually compromise the timetable and the product emerges with problems
  • This has a negative impact on the Home Builder/Buyer relationship and is a frequent cause of early stage complaints – the very thing you wish to avoid
  • Most construction workers do not understand the potential for damage this can create
  • Follow our 6 STEP action plan to avoid SNAGS

Our Site Coordinator can provide a fixed-price service to manage this. Our Pre-Occupation Survey will identify anything likely to create a ‘warranty’ issue and this will be captured in a photo-narrative report for your construction crew to deliver the remedy. It is this essential attention to detail that will get your relationship with the Home Buyer off to a positive start – it is generally the last 1% of the build that construction teams miss – but a fresh pair of trained eyes will spot, and that makes all the difference!

5. HOME BUYER

There is an opportunity to set Home Buyer expectations about service and the after care they are going to receive and this is important. This should take place either just before/after legal completion at the property to conduct a Purchaser Demonstration that will:

  • Explain the benefits of construction type
  • Explain systems
  • Demonstrate appliances
  • Field questions
  • Capture snag oversights
  • Explain the after care programme
  • Provide means of contact
  • Set expectations for response time

Doing all of this well simply reduces any later complaint that they were ‘handed their keys’ with little or no explanation as to the workings of their new home or how to raise an issue when a problem occurs.

6. AFTER CARE

After Build’s core service is fixed-price After Care. We provide a dedicated full-time resource with a system and warranty trained personnel who will:

  • Take calls and be able to diagnose a legitimate defect
  • Understand that a Homeowner can also report other matters – e.g. broadband performance
  • All issues need a friendly, professional and trained response
  • Be able to instruct trades to carry out remedial works (managing your original contractors)
  • Manage the process
  • Manage Out of Hours Emergencies
  • Close out when completed
  • Report to Home Builder (you have 24/7 secure access to all activities through the Client Portal)

Want to know more about this cost-saving service?

7. ESTATE MANAGEMENT

If you have obligations to provide certain estate services in an apartment or communal complex we can help:

  • Managed service
  • Paid for via service charge
  • Collect service charge
  • Assistance with budget building
  • Identify, procure and manage contractors
  • Operate to planned/responsive maintenance schedule
  • Produce annual accounts/P&L
  • Provide annual report to residents

We will work with you to tailor our Estate Management service.

8. COMPLAINTS

One of the biggest problems so many companies have is that they have no form of structured Complaints Policy. So when a customer makes a complaint, in no time the issue has grown bigger because the complaint itself has been mis-handled. This is an issue we see a lot of but it’s not that difficult to overcome.

  • Devise and operate a Complaints Policy
  • Clear escalation process
  • Recordable
  • Follow GDPR
  • Advertise it (company website/literature)
  • Apply it
  • Be protected by it

We can write your policy for you and ensure that this isn’t a problem waiting to happen.

9. COMPENSATION

One of the most sensitive subjects – compensation. Most companies won’t posses a Compensation Policy, because they think it will cost them a lot of money – on the contrary, it will save you money in the long run. The New Homes sector is renowned for making expensive ad-hoc gestures to Homeowners – just to make a problem go away. A well structured Compensation Policy will be based on small sums that will save you money.

  • Devise and operate a Compensation policy
  • Clear escalation process
  • Recordable
  • Follow GDPR
  • Advertise it (company website/literature)
  • Apply it
  • Be protected by it

Let’s write your policy now!

10. WHITE LABEL

Don’t think for one moment that outsourcing your service will dilute or weaken your brand identity – we can ‘White Label’ what we offer you!

  • We can brand your literature
  • Create dedicated telephone numbers answered in your name
  • Email addresses branded in your name
  • Even Occupant Portals
  • Brand in your business name – or the name of the development

Increasingly this is becoming a popular option – Home Builders will either brand using their name – or even the name of the development. Let us show you some examples.

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During this difficult time After Build’s service continues as normal. Given our technology platform, the team is able to operate remotely without impacting on service levels – this includes Out of Hours Emergency cover.

In the event that a developer’s contractor is unable to attend a property (either because they are instructed not to, or because a homeowner does not wish it) the Property Coordinator will take full details of the issue, recording it on our system in readiness for making an appointment just as soon as matters return to normal.

Any specific enquiries from existing clients call: 01444 230333 or email: kerrim@afterbuild.com.

Enquiries from any organisation not a client but wishing to know more about our services, email: markf@afterbuild.com.

We encourage all clients, contractors and homeowners to stay safe.