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WHEN DOES GREAT SERVICE START?

As a new home developer or housebuilder, where would you say great after care starts? We would say it starts before legal completion, at the point where your site team are telling you that a property is practically complete. That is where your future will be one of two possible outcomes, depending on how you respond to their statement.


Outcome A Take them at their word and progress to legal completion. You run the risk that there are problems with the property and the first you will know about that will be when a customer contacts you to complain.


Outcome B Don’t take them at their word. Organise for a close inspection and make certain that any snags are reported back to the site team to get put right BEFORE the purchaser sets foot over the threshold. This way you’re de-risking the situation and removing the opportunity for a customer to complain.


Amazingly, we have found that Outcome A arises far too often. Developers appear to be more concerned about offending their contractor than upsetting a customer. It is a bizarre situation, however taking a contractor at their word and allowing a purchaser to buy a property that has not been subject to a thorough inspection is just plain nuts.


In a year we complete hundreds, if not thousands of Quality Assurance Inspections and we have never walked out of a property yet with a blank report. It can only be cost that prevents a developer from instigating this regime, can’t it? Yet the cost of an inspection is tiny compared to the consequences of a Twitter campaign that can destroy your good name in 280 characters because a customer moved into one of your homes and discovered a litany of problems.


Five important things we can share with you:

1. Surely, if we find, on average, 30 issues per plot, isn’t that better than your customer finding them.


2. Good contractors are not thick on the ground – but there’s hardly a surplus of customers with finance in place either! Next year looks challenging enough without putting new obstacles in your way.


3. A good contractor won’t mind that you want to have each plot inspected – if they are confident about their work, they know you won’t find much that needs correcting.

4. If product quality is great from the very beginning, then purchasers are ten times easier to handle over the ensuing 2 years. But if they move in and are confronted by problems, they will be difficult all the way.


5. In a tough marketplace there are few things that differentiate one product from another, but the most significant will always be service, because to the consumer it is an indicator of how well they will be treated when something goes wrong; and good service starts with a great product – so, don’t take chances, get it right first time.


After Build offer a comprehensive Quality Assurance Inspection. Here’s how it works:

· We charge a single fixed price per plot based on its physical size

· The service is made available prior to legal completion

· This allows your site team sufficient time to respond to the survey and eradicate snags

· Survey report provided usually within 24 hours by email, with text and photos by room

What we inspect


· Standard of decoration (at 2 meters in natural light)

· Check glazing for scratches (at 2 meters in natural light)

· Doors and windows (check hinges, stays, locks and door furniture)

· Run heating and hot water

· Ensure filling loop hoses provided

· Check all valves are labelled

· Check all fitted appliances (run on short cycle to be sure of no leaks)

· Inspect kitchen furniture

· Check tiles and grouting (walls and floors)

· Flush WCs

· Check taps, plugs and pop-up wastes

· Check outside tap (where applicable)

· Fill sinks, WHBs and baths

· Run showers

· Test all power sockets

· Check all lights function

· Test TV aerial signal strength

· Open loft hatch, check for rubbish and insulation coverage

De-Snag Survey

We will return to site and conduct a De-Snag Survey to ensure that all originally identified snags have been resolved, should you require it.


This service is such a ‘common sense’ start to the success of any new development – get product quality right and success will be yours. Fail to inspect each plot and you run a high risk that all your hard work and financial risk will suffer unnecessary and costly damage. It’s like buying an expensive car but not bothering to insure it.


Want to discuss your needs further? Call Mark Fawcitt (Director of Customer Development) on 07342 037810 or Email: markf@afterbuild.com)


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