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Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Developers need to prepare to respond to the announcement that a New Homes Ombudsman will almost certainly be appointed in the coming parliamentary session.

The number one question the Ombudsman will ask a complainant is, “Have you exhausted your developer’s complaint procedure?” And therefore Developers must have a complaint procedure.

Where is our industry currently with complaints?

After Build know anecdotally that developer’s aren’t always prepared to handle complaints consistently across their company. Or businesses may have a procedure but it’s not widely published or referred to. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for employees working in our industry to be hostile to the idea of complaints and any formality surrounding them.

Introducing complaint procedures can be seen as an exercise in trying to cause trouble. Instead, we need to start thinking of complaints as opportunities to learn how we can improve.

Mishandling one bad complaint hurts so much more than proactively preparing to handle 10 complaints well. Trust us! We’re in the business of solving people’s problems.

In 2016 I went on a personal campaign to encourage developers working closely with After Build to adopt a simple compensation policy. I was met with a resounding “No.” Usually followed quickly by, “We don’t pay compensation.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that people were alarmed at the very mention! As if speaking the term out loud would incite a run on the business’s ready cash.

I stopped short then of pointing out that a great many developers do pay compensation, they just do it informally. Because of this, the amounts are entirely subject to how much nerve a complainant displays. I strongly believe that compensation policies, crafted around sensible sums of money, help companies to pay out LESS in compensation. They don’t encourage complainants to seek it.

You said you could help ...

From a standing start of no infrastructure, the world of complaints and compensation can be daunting. As usual, After Build is here to help!

We want to offer any property developer a free session, over the phone or video chat. You’ll speak with a senior manager and discuss what you have in place and what we would recommend.

We’re also offering services to write these policies specifically tailored for your business and then to train your staff. If this is something you’d be interested in, you can let us know.

The call will be free, will be with a head of service or director. There’ll be no obligation to buy and no hassle to set it up. If you’d like to know more then call one of our team today on 01444 230 333.

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