Buying a House

What Does a New Build Warranty Cover?

When you are buying a home, especially a new build, it can be an exciting journey, but it’s essential to understand the protections provided by a new build warranty (and what is not covered). In this article, we’ll delve into the details of new build warranties, covering everything from what developers will cover to what […]

When you are buying a home, especially a new build, it can be an exciting journey, but it’s essential to understand the protections provided by a new build warranty (and what is not covered). In this article, we’ll delve into the details of new build warranties, covering everything from what developers will cover to what to do in case of defects.

What is a New Build Warranty?

A new build warranty, also known as a structural warranty, new build warranty or latent defects insurance, is a form of insurance that provides protection for homeowners against structural defects in newly built properties. Mortgage lenders require a 10-year structural warranty so it is needed by developers in order to sell their properties. The warranty offers peace of mind by covering the cost of repairing certain defects in the design, workmanship and materials used to build your home, that may arise within a specified period after completion.

Who are the Providers of New Build Warranties?

Several providers offer new build warranties in the UK, including NHBC (National House Building Council), Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Warranty, Premier Guarantee, and Checkmate. These providers set standards for construction quality and provide insurance-backed warranties to homeowners and developers. Nearly all providers ask developers to sign up to a consumer code such as the New Homes Quality Code (enforced by the New Homes Ombudsman), the Consumer Code for Home Builders or the Consumer Code for New Homes.

How Long Do New Build Warranties Last?

New build warranties typically last for ten years from the date of completion or occupancy, although the exact duration may vary depending on the provider and policy. During this period, the warranty offers protection against structural defects that may compromise the integrity of the property. In certain cases, it may be possible to get your warranty extended with your developer so this is worth checking. Also, be sure to note the date at which your policy becomes active.

Do All New Homes Get a New Build Warranty?

Yes, most newly built homes in the UK are covered by a new build warranty. It’s a legal requirement for developers to provide a warranty for newly constructed properties to protect homeowners as well as mortgage companies and ensure compliance with building regulations.

What Do 10-Year New Build Warranties Cover?

A 10-year new build warranty typically covers structural defects that compromise the safety or stability of the property. This includes issues such as subsidence, structural instability, roof and chimney issues and water ingress. Additionally, warranties may also cover non-structural defects for a specified period, usually the first two years. This is known as the defects insurance period and may include things like the heating not working because of faulty pipework.

What is Not Covered by a New Build Warranty?

While new-build warranties provide comprehensive coverage for structural defects, they do not cover general wear and tear, cosmetic issues, or maintenance-related problems. Additionally, defects resulting from homeowner negligence or alterations made after completion may not be covered. For example, if your home is suffering from dampness due to poor ventilation on the part of yourself, this is unlikely to be covered. Some providers also have an excess payment that you will be liable to pay in the event of a claim being made. It is essential that you check the small print of your documentation carefully to be sure about the terms and conditions attached to your warranty.

Do I Still Need to Get a Snagging Survey if I Have a New Build Warranty?

Yes, it’s advisable to commission a snagging survey before completion to identify any defects or issues that may need addressing. A snagging survey helps ensure that any problems are rectified, often before moving in, providing added protection and peace of mind.

Can I Get a Warranty if I Self-Build?

Yes, self-build projects are eligible for new-build warranties, and many providers offer tailored policies specifically designed for self-builders. These warranties provide protection against structural defects and ensure compliance with building regulations throughout the construction process and policies should be started before work starts on site. Providers of warranties for self-builds include Self-build Zone, Self-build UK, Build Store and ProAktive.

What Do I Do If I Spot a Defect Covered by the Warranty?

If you identify a defect covered by the warranty, you should notify the warranty provider as soon as possible. They should arrange for an inspection to assess the extent of the defect and determine the appropriate course of action, which may include repairs or remediation.

What If I Spot a Defect Not Covered by the Warranty?

If you encounter a defect that is not covered by the warranty, you may be responsible for addressing it yourself. In such cases, it’s advisable to seek advice from a qualified professional, such as a chartered surveyor or structural engineer, to determine the best course of action.

How Do I Raise an Issue Covered by the Warranty?

To raise an issue covered by the warranty, you should contact the warranty provider directly and provide details of the defect, including as many photographs and videos as possible of the issues and any relevant documentation. The provider will then liaise with the builder to arrange for an inspection and address the issue promptly.

What If the Builder Won’t Honour the Warranty or I am Unhappy with the Outcome?

If you encounter difficulties with the builder or are dissatisfied with the outcome of a warranty claim, you can escalate the matter to the warranty provider initially. They will likely review the case and work to resolve any disputes or issues in accordance with the terms of the policy. If your issue is within the first two years, the New Build consumer codes offer an independent dispute resolution scheme, if the builder refuses to carry out the remedial work. If you cannot get a resolution to your complaint, contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. 

Does Having a Warranty Count as Having Insurance?

While a new build warranty provides insurance coverage for structural defects, it only covers issues that are the fault of the builder and does not replace the need for home insurance. Home insurance covers additional risks, such as fire, theft, and accidental damage, and is essential for protecting your investment and belongings.

In conclusion, understanding the details of your new build warranty is essential for protecting your investment and ensuring peace of mind throughout the homeownership journey. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the coverage, providers, and procedures outlined in your warranty, so you can confidently navigate any issues that may arise and enjoy your new home to the fullest.

Buying Your First Home? Read Our Buyers Guide…

From mortgages and insurance to viewings, offers, exchange and completion, our Buyers’ Guide will take you through everything, step by step, from start to finish.

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