The Consumer Code for Home Builders have put together a web page about what a home buyer can expect when purchasing a new home. Here’s a summary…
The home builder should hand over the home, demonstrate how its facilities work, and provide keys. Any observed defects should be noted for correction by the builder, a process sometimes referred to as creating a ‘snagging list’.
Standards of Finish
Slight variations in the finished appearance of houses are normal due to the unique nature of individual construction and materials used. However, certain standards of finish are required by home warranty bodies, which cover areas such as brickwork, internal plaster, render, and paintwork.
Settling In and Drying Out
A new home needs time to settle, including drying out, which may result in minor cracks in walls, gaps in joinery, and white deposits on walls. These issues are normal, and instructions are given on how to handle them. It typically takes nine months to a year for a new home to fully dry out.
White deposits, or natural salts, may appear on walls due to the drying-out process. They are not harmful and typically disappear over time. Persistent white deposits on internal walls could indicate a more serious problem like a water leak, which would necessitate contacting the builder or a tradesperson.
This is common in new homes and usually caused by evaporation of moisture from building materials. However, if left unchecked, it can lead to mold. Ventilation and not drying clothes indoors can help mitigate this.
Problems / Defects
If any elements of the new home are not up to the required standard, the builder is responsible for rectifying these within the first two years (builder warranty period). If the builder fails to correct these issues, you can contact your home warranty provider for help or advice.
Three to Ten Years (Structural Insurance Period)
During this time, your home warranty provider should cover costs or perform remedial works for issues under the policy. This can include elements like foundations, walls, roofs, ceilings, and more.
The Consumer Code
If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly or not fully informed about your purchase and rights, you can file a complaint through the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme. However, issues related to snagging or structural defects are handled by warranty providers and aren’t covered by the Consumer Code.