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Common Snagging Defects with New Build Houses: Insights from LABC Warranty Data

When contemplating the purchase of a new build home, it’s essential for homeowners to be well-informed about potential issues that could arise. The latest data from LABC Warranty offers a revealing glimpse into the most frequently reported problems that escalated to their Dispute Resolution Service. This article, drawing from LABC Warranty’s insightful findings, aims to shed light on these prevalent issues, thereby equipping home buyers with the knowledge needed to proactively identify and resolve them.

This comprehensive data highlights a noticeable trend: a significant number of issues are linked to the quality of workmanship and the materials used. It particularly emphasises the finishing of building elements and their operational efficacy. This insight is crucial, as it underscores the need for meticulous execution and high-quality materials during construction.

What makes these findings even more intriguing is that these problems are most commonly reported in simpler, low-rise constructions. This observation challenges the prevailing belief that larger, more complex structures are more susceptible to defects. It suggests that regardless of a building’s size or complexity, attention to detail in construction is paramount.


An analysis of the defects shows six areas where issues are most prevalent:

Windows and Doors (27%)

The category of Windows and Doors, accounting for 27% of the most common issues in new build homes as per LABC Warranty’s data, is a significant area of concern that warrants close attention. This segment is crucial as it directly affects both the aesthetic appeal and the functional efficiency of a home.

  • Alignment Challenges: Proper alignment of windows and doors is fundamental to their operation and overall appearance. Misaligned frames can lead to difficulties in opening and closing, increased wear and tear, and can even affect the thermal efficiency of the house. Ensuring precise alignment during installation is therefore critical for long-term functionality and ease of use.
  • Functionality Issues: The smooth operation of windows and doors is essential for homeowner comfort and security. Problems often arise with faulty locks, hinges, and opening mechanisms, which can compromise security and impact daily life. Regular checks and maintenance are key to ensuring that these elements function as intended.
  • Sealing and Weatherproofing: Adequate sealing is vital for protecting against elements like wind, rain, and extreme temperatures. Poor sealing can lead to drafts, water ingress, and loss of energy efficiency, leading to increased heating and cooling costs. Attention to detail in this area during installation can prevent such issues and ensure a comfortable, energy-efficient home.
  • Glazing Defects: Damaged or substandard glazing not only detracts from the aesthetic appeal of a property but can also affect its insulation properties. Issues such as cracks, chips, or even ill-fitting panes can lead to problems like condensation, mould growth, and energy loss. Choosing high-quality glazing materials and ensuring they are expertly fitted is crucial.
  • Material Quality and Durability: The longevity of windows and doors is heavily reliant on the quality of the materials used. Inferior materials can degrade quickly, leading to issues such as warping, rotting, or corrosion. Investing in high-quality, durable materials can prevent these problems and extend the lifespan of these crucial elements.
  • Aesthetic Integration: Windows and doors play a significant role in defining the look and feel of a home. Their design, colour, and style should harmoniously integrate with the overall architectural theme. Aesthetic mismatches can diminish the visual appeal and potentially impact the property’s value.
  • Sound Insulation: In addition to thermal insulation, sound insulation is an important aspect of windows and doors, especially in urban or noisy environments. Inadequate soundproofing can significantly affect the comfort and tranquillity of the living space.

In addressing these issues, it’s important for builders and developers to work closely with trusted suppliers and experienced installers. Regular quality checks and adherence to building standards can help mitigate these common problems. For homeowners, understanding these potential issues is key to conducting thorough inspections and ensuring that any concerns are addressed promptly, thereby safeguarding their investment and enhancing their living experience.

Tolerances (23%)

The Tolerances category, constituting 23% of the common issues in new build homes, is pivotal as it encompasses the precision and accuracy in the construction of various structural elements, particularly masonry, doors, and windows. This section needs careful expansion to underline its importance:

  • Precision in Masonry Work: Masonry tolerances are critical for the structural integrity and aesthetic of the building. Issues like uneven brickwork, inconsistent mortar joints, and misaligned blocks can lead to both visual unattractiveness and potential structural weaknesses. Precision in masonry not only ensures the strength of the walls but also contributes to the overall harmony and appeal of the property.
  • Doors and Windows Alignment: Tolerances in the installation of doors and windows are vital for ensuring smooth operation, proper sealing, and aesthetic symmetry. Misalignment can result in gaps, uneven closing, and can even affect the energy efficiency of the home. Ensuring that these elements are perfectly aligned and levelled during installation is crucial to avoid future functional problems.
  • Aesthetic Implications: Beyond functionality, the visual impact of poor tolerances can be significant. Inconsistencies in alignment and spacing can be easily noticeable, detracting from the overall finish and polish of the home. Attention to detail in this aspect is essential for achieving a high-quality finish that meets homeowner expectations.
  • Thermal Efficiency and Weatherproofing: Incorrect tolerances, especially in the fitting of doors and windows, can lead to gaps that allow air infiltration. This not only impacts the comfort of the living space but also leads to higher energy consumption as heating and cooling systems work harder to maintain indoor temperatures.
  • Impact on Longevity and Maintenance: Poor tolerances can accelerate wear and tear on building components. For instance, a door that hasn’t been hung correctly might rub or stick, causing premature damage to both the door and the frame. Similarly, masonry with poor tolerances might be more susceptible to moisture penetration and weathering, necessitating more frequent maintenance.
  • Material Compatibility and Movement: In construction, accommodating material movement due to temperature changes and humidity is vital. Poor tolerances can exacerbate issues arising from material expansion and contraction, leading to cracks, warping, or other forms of structural damage.
  • Compliance with Building Standards: Adhering to established building standards and tolerances is not just a matter of quality but also of compliance. Deviations from these standards can lead to regulatory issues, potentially causing delays and additional costs.

Maintaining strict tolerances in construction is not just a technical necessity; it’s a commitment to quality, durability, and homeowner satisfaction. Builders and contractors need to prioritise precise measurements and quality control throughout the construction process. For homeowners, understanding the importance of tolerances is key to evaluating the quality of a new build home and ensuring that their investment is sound and reliable.

External Masonry Walls (20%)

The category of External Masonry Walls, accounting for 20% of the common issues in new build homes, is an area that requires thorough attention due to its impact on both the structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of a property. Expanding on this:

  • Unfilled Perpends: Perpends are the vertical joints between bricks or blocks. Unfilled or poorly filled perpends can lead to structural weaknesses in the wall, as well as moisture penetration issues. Properly filled perpends are crucial for maintaining the strength and durability of masonry walls.
  • Pointing and Jointing Quality: The quality of pointing (the visible part of the mortar joints) and jointing is crucial for both water resistance and the visual appearance of the wall. Poorly done pointing can lead to water ingress, which may cause damp issues inside the property. It also affects the overall look of the masonry, with uneven or sloppy pointing detracting significantly from the facade’s aesthetic.
  • Material-Related Defects: The choice and quality of materials used in masonry walls are pivotal. Issues like cracking in bricks and blocks are often due to substandard materials or improper handling and storage. Using high-quality, durable materials and ensuring they are appropriately treated and stored can prevent such defects.
  • Thermal and Moisture Movement: Masonry walls need to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction, as well as moisture movement. Inadequate provision for these natural movements can result in cracking and structural damage. This aspect needs careful consideration during both the material selection and construction phases.
  • Structural Alignment and Stability: The alignment and stability of external masonry walls are essential for the overall structural integrity of the building. Walls that are not correctly aligned or are unstable can pose significant safety risks, in addition to causing aesthetic issues.
  • Weather Resistance and Insulation: External masonry walls are the first line of defence against weather elements. They need to be constructed in a way that offers maximum resistance to weather conditions, including rain, frost, and temperature variations. Additionally, their role in the thermal insulation of the building is critical, impacting energy efficiency and interior comfort levels.
  • Compatibility with Other Building Elements: The integration of masonry walls with other building elements like windows, doors, and roofs must be seamless. Poor integration can lead to gaps, leaks, and thermal bridges, undermining the functionality and efficiency of the building envelope.
  • Aesthetics and Finish: The external appearance of masonry walls significantly contributes to the curb appeal and value of a property. Consistency in brick or block colour, size, and texture, along with skilled craftsmanship, is key to achieving an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Addressing these diverse aspects of external masonry walls requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses material selection, skilled workmanship, and adherence to construction best practices. For builders, this means rigorous quality control and skilled craftsmanship. For homeowners, understanding these potential issues is crucial for ensuring the longevity, safety, and aesthetic value of their property.

Second and Third Fixes (12%)

The category of Second and Third Fixes, which constitutes 12% of the common issues in new build homes, focuses on the final stages of construction where the finer details and finishes are applied. This stage is crucial as it greatly influences the overall quality and appearance of the interior. Expanding on this:

  • Importance of Internal Joinery: Internal joinery, including elements like skirting boards, architraves, and door frames, plays a vital role in defining the aesthetic and functional aspects of a home’s interior. Flaws in these areas are not just visually unappealing but can also indicate a lack of precision and care in construction.
  • Skirting Boards and Architraves: These elements provide a neat finish and a visual transition between walls, floors, and doorways. Poorly fitted or finished skirting boards and architraves can lead to gaps, uneven lines, and an overall unpolished look. Additionally, they are integral to protecting walls and edges from wear and tear, making their proper installation and durability important.
  • Door Frames and Installation: Door frames must be correctly aligned and installed to ensure doors open and close smoothly. Misaligned frames can result in sticking doors, gaps, and uneven wear. The aesthetic alignment of frames with the rest of the interior is also essential for a cohesive look.
  • Quality of Materials: The choice of materials for joinery work affects both the appearance and longevity of these elements. High-quality, durable materials can withstand wear and tear better and maintain their appearance over time. The compatibility of materials with the overall interior design theme is also crucial for a harmonious look.
  • Attention to Detail in Finishes: The quality of finishes in second and third fixes is a telltale sign of the overall craftsmanship in a building project. This includes aspects like the smoothness of surfaces, the neatness of paintwork, and the precision of cuts and joints. Attention to these details makes a significant difference in the perceived quality of the interior.
  • Functional Integrity: Besides aesthetics, the functional aspect of joinery work is paramount. This includes ensuring that elements like doors and windows operate smoothly, fixtures are securely attached, and there is no unnecessary creaking or movement in the joinery.
  • Impact on Overall Interior Design: The finishes in second and third fixes can enhance or detract from the overall interior design. Consistency in style, colour, and material quality across various elements contributes to a cohesive and appealing interior space.
  • Customer Satisfaction and Snagging: Issues in second and third fixes are often highlighted during snagging inspections. Addressing these issues efficiently is key to customer satisfaction and can significantly impact the perceived value of the property.

The emphasis in the second and third fixes should be on meticulous craftsmanship, quality materials, and a keen eye for detail. Builders and contractors need to ensure that these stages of construction are given the attention they deserve, as they significantly impact the final look, feel, and functionality of the home. For homeowners, a thorough understanding of what to expect and look for in these stages is crucial for ensuring their new home meets their expectations in terms of quality and design.

Traditional Slate and Tile Roof Coverings (10%)

The category of Traditional Slate and Tile Roof Coverings, accounting for 10% of the common issues in new build homes, highlights the critical nature of roof installation and material quality. This area is particularly important as the roof is a key element in protecting the home from environmental elements and contributes significantly to its overall aesthetic. To expand and enhance this section:

  • Importance of Expert Installation: The installation of slate and tile roofing requires skilled craftsmanship. Improper installation can lead to several issues, including leaks, loose tiles, and uneven appearance. It’s essential that roofers follow precise laying patterns and use the correct fixings and techniques specific to the type of tile or slate being used.
  • Material Quality and Suitability: While using industry-standard materials is important, selecting the right type of slate or tile for the specific climate and architectural style of the house is equally crucial. The quality of materials affects the longevity and performance of the roof. For instance, some slates are more suitable for harsh weather conditions than others.
  • Leak Prevention and Weatherproofing: One of the primary functions of a roof is to provide a watertight barrier. Issues like improper lapping, insufficient headlap, or faulty flashing can lead to water infiltration, causing damage to the internal structure and finishes of the house. Ensuring that the roof is effectively sealed and weatherproofed is fundamental.
  • Aesthetic Considerations: The roof contributes significantly to the visual appeal of a property. Inconsistencies in tile or slate colour, size, or texture, as well as uneven lines or patterns, can detract from the overall appearance of the home. Achieving a visually pleasing, uniform roof surface requires careful planning and execution.
  • Durability and Maintenance: A well-installed slate or tile roof can last for decades with minimal maintenance. However, poor installation can lead to premature wear, frequent repairs, and increased maintenance costs. Ensuring that the roof is installed to a high standard can enhance its durability and reduce long-term costs.
  • Thermal Efficiency and Insulation: The roof plays a crucial role in the thermal efficiency of a home. Incorrect installation can lead to gaps and thermal bridging, affecting the home’s insulation properties. Proper installation and insulation of the roof are vital for energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Structural Integrity: The weight of slate and tile roofs requires that the underlying structure is adequately designed to support it. Incorrect installation or the use of inappropriate materials can put additional stress on the roof structure, potentially leading to structural issues.
  • Compliance with Building Standards: Adhering to building codes and standards is critical in roof construction. These standards are in place to ensure safety, durability, and performance. Compliance is not only a legal requirement but also a benchmark for quality.

While the choice of materials is important, the expertise and attention to detail in the installation of traditional slate and tile roof coverings are what truly determine their success. Builders and roofers must prioritise precision and adherence to best practices in roofing. For homeowners, understanding the complexities involved in roofing installation can aid in making informed decisions and ensuring that their roof is both aesthetically pleasing and functionally sound.

Above Ground Drainage (8%)

The category of Above Ground Drainage, constituting 8% of the common issues in new build homes, is critical despite being less frequent. The proper functioning of above-ground drainage systems is essential for the overall health, safety, and comfort of a building’s occupants. To expand and enhance this section:

  • Importance of Efficient Water Management: Above ground drainage systems are designed to manage water efficiently, preventing it from accumulating and causing damage to the building’s structure. Defects in these systems can lead to water overflow, leaks, and dampness, which can cause structural damage and create unhealthy living conditions.
  • Impact on Building Integrity: Poor drainage can lead to water pooling and seeping into the building. This not only affects the aesthetic appeal but can also weaken structural components, leading to costly repairs and potential safety hazards. Ensuring that drainage systems are designed and installed correctly is crucial for the longevity of the building.
  • Material Quality and Durability: The materials used in above-ground drainage systems, such as pipes and gutters, need to be durable and suitable for the specific environmental conditions. Low-quality materials can degrade quickly, leading to leaks and blockages, and requiring frequent maintenance and replacements.
  • Correct Sizing and Capacity: Drainage systems must be appropriately sized to handle the volume of water they are expected to manage. Underestimating the capacity can lead to overflows, especially during heavy rainfall, potentially causing water ingress into the building.
  • Proper Installation and Alignment: The installation of drainage components requires precision. Incorrectly installed pipes and gutters can lead to poor water flow, blockages, and leaks. Proper alignment and sloping are essential for ensuring that water is effectively channeled away from the building.
  • Integration with Overall Building Design: Drainage systems should be integrated seamlessly with the building’s design. This includes considering the aesthetic impact of gutters and downpipes and ensuring they do not detract from the appearance of the building.
  • Ventilation and Health Implications: Adequate ventilation in drainage systems is necessary to prevent the build-up of harmful gases and maintain air quality. Poorly designed or blocked ventilation can lead to health hazards and unpleasant odours.
  • Compliance with Regulations and Standards: Adhering to building codes and standards related to drainage is not only a legal requirement but also a measure of quality and safety. These regulations ensure that drainage systems are designed to manage water effectively and safely.
  • Maintenance and Accessibility: Regular maintenance is key to keeping drainage systems functioning properly. Designing these systems with accessibility in mind ensures that maintenance and repairs can be carried out efficiently and effectively.

While issues with above-ground drainage systems may occur less frequently, their impact can be substantial, affecting both the functionality and safety of a building. Attention to detail in the design, installation, and maintenance of these systems is crucial. Builders and designers must prioritize robust and effective drainage solutions, and homeowners should be aware of the importance of regular maintenance to prevent potential issues.


Be Aware of Common Snagging Issues

For potential homeowners, awareness of these common defects is a key factor in conducting effective snagging inspections. A detailed understanding of what to look for can significantly aid in early detection of issues, potentially saving time and resources in the long run. This knowledge is not just beneficial for homeowners but also serves as a crucial reminder for builders and developers. It highlights the importance of focusing on critical areas that require improvement to enhance the overall quality and dependability of new build homes.

Furthermore, the insights provided by LABC Warranty emphasise the vital importance of precision in workmanship and the selection of materials. As the housing industry evolves, such data becomes increasingly valuable, guiding the industry towards higher standards in new build homes. Adhering to these standards is not just about avoiding defects; it’s about ensuring customer satisfaction and upholding the structural integrity of the buildings. This approach is instrumental in fostering trust and confidence among homeowners and contributes significantly to the long-term sustainability and reputation of the construction industry.

LABC Warranty’s findings serve as a crucial resource for all stakeholders in the housing sector. By highlighting common issues in new build homes, the data provides a roadmap for continuous improvement, helping to ensure that new homes are not only aesthetically pleasing but also structurally sound and reliable. This commitment to excellence is key to maintaining the highest standards in the construction of new homes, thereby ensuring the satisfaction and safety of homeowners for years to come.


How Snagging Inspections Can Help

In light of the common issues identified in new build homes, the value of a comprehensive snagging inspection cannot be overstated. A snagging inspection is a detailed check of a new property for any minor or major issues that need rectifying by the builder before or after you move in. Conducting such an inspection offers numerous benefits. Firstly, it ensures that your new home meets your expectations in terms of quality and craftsmanship. A professional snagging survey can identify not only the obvious issues but also those that are not immediately visible to the untrained eye. This thorough inspection is crucial for peace of mind, confirming that your new home is not just aesthetically pleasing but also sound and safe.

Addressing these issues early can save you time and money in the long run. Rectifying problems like misaligned doors or poor drainage systems before they escalate can prevent more significant and costly repairs in the future. It also holds the builders accountable to the highest standards, ensuring that you receive the quality you are entitled to in your new home. To facilitate this important process, we at New Build Inspections offer expert snagging services. Our team of professionals is equipped with the knowledge and tools to conduct meticulous inspections, ensuring that every aspect of your new home is up to par.

You can easily book a snagging inspection with us by visiting our online booking page. Alternatively, if you prefer to arrange your inspection over the phone or have any queries, feel free to call us at 01788 494 400. Our friendly team is ready to assist you and ensure that your new home is exactly as it should be – flawless and ready for you to enjoy.