The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment is currently working on finalising the report from its last inquiry, which looked at the Quality and workmanship of new housing in England. It is hoped to be published by the end of May or the beginning of June 2016.
On Tuesday, 17 May, at the JCT Parliamentary Reception, the Chairman of the group, Oliver Colvile MP, made a speech highlighting the main findings of the Inquiry and some of the recommendations:
"As a Member of Parliament, I have had a number of constituents contact me with complaints about their new homes. I believe that buying a new home is one of the most expensive and emotional events that someone can go through and the number of constituents that have visited me at my constituency surgeries is worrying. Indeed, many of my Parliamentary colleagues across the country have had the same issues: Homebuyers coming to their MP to complain about the way in which their brand new home was built.
Indeed, just last Friday I visited a property in Devonport, within my constituency, with many of these issues. The home was built less than two years ago and the owners have gone through an extremely stressful and difficult time.
Realising that your dream home is uninhabitable can be devastating. You have saved for a deposit, signed the mortgage documents and had a brand new set of keys cut.
My job, as Chairman of the APPG for Excellence in the Built Environment, as well as being an MP, is to look out for my constituents. Therefore, starting in late 2015, I chaired an inquiry into the quality of new-build homes. Four inquiry sessions took evidence from housebuilders, consumer groups, insurance companies and homebuyers.
Each person came to give their own perspective. One that was driven from their unique place in the chain of events. From laying the first brick, to unlocking the front door for the first time and walking into the kitchen.
Although the report hasn’t been finalised, I can confirm that the inquiry committee has agreed on a number of recommendations, and I would like to share a few of those with you this afternoon.
- A New Homes Ombudsman should be set up. This would mediate disputes between consumers and their builders or warranty providers to offer a quick resolution procedure.
- Standardised house building sales contracts should be enforced, meaning that the uncertainty surrounding bespoke builders’ contracts would be removed.
- There should be a mandatory right for buyers to inspect and, should they wish, carry out a full survey of their property prior to financial completion. More details of this particular point will be announced in the final report.
- To improve transparency, builders should be required to provide homebuyers with a comprehensive information pack. This would include plain English explanations so that homebuyers can understand exactly what they are buying.
We are anticipating more recommendations when the report is released, but I believe that, at the very least, these four recommendations will go a long way to creating better homes for buyers, improving trust in the house-buying system and driving up standards across the sector."
The full list of written submissions, additional evidence and notes from the meetings can be found under Submission and Session tabs on the left hand side.
The APPG for EBE Commission of this Inquiry comprises members of both Houses of Parliament, senior members of the construction professions and key influencers and decision makers in other aspects of society.
Peter Bonfield OBE
Oliver Colvile MP
Mark Garnier MP
Helen Hayes MP
The Earl of Lytton
Rt Hon Maria Miller MP
Rt Hon Nick Raynsford
Andy Von Bradsky
For more inofrmation on the Inquiry, please contact Kamila Tomaszewska (Tuesday-Thursday) on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 399 7414