New Build Properties and Snagging Lists

Thursday, 30th May 2019 | by: Tom Shute

There are a number of hoops to jump through when negotiating the purchase of a home, particularly when purchasing a new build property.

To add to this burgeoning ‘to do’ list, it would seem that a worrying trend of poor quality control is developing in the new build property sector, even amongst so called ‘luxury’ branded sections of major housing developers.  

This indicates how important it is for buyers to obtain a professional independent assessment and advice before they purchase their new home in the form of a Schedule of Outstanding Defects or ‘snagging list’.

This involves a surveyor visiting the property to make a detailed inspection and pick up on any ‘snags’, often minor defects left over from the build process which still need to be overhauled. This can include anything from leaky taps to doors that bind slightly in frames and is a common part of the process of constructing new buildings.

As buildings settle once construction has been completed, there is always the potential for some deterioration. Doors to begin to catch, windows to stick on opening/closing and skirting boards to come away from walls as they deflect slightly on settlement. These are simple repairs that can be fixed easily, and once the structure settles onto its foundations these should not re-occur.

However, as a number of press articles have highlighted recently, the snagging lists from some new build properties are growing ever larger.

It is also important to remember that the purchase of property is completely exempt from the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. This means that the purchase of property cannot be refunded on the grounds of fault.

In layman’s terms, this means that if you were to buy a toaster, or a television that turned out to be faulty, all you have to do is return to Curry’s with your receipt and get a full refund. This is not possible with the purchase of property. Once you’ve bought it, you own it.  

However, new builds often come with extensive warranties. It is highly likely that your new build property is covered by Buildmark, a policy provided by the National House Building Council (NHBC). As such, getting snags rectified should be straightforward.

Nevertheless, it is important to take as many steps as possible to guard yourself from purchasing a home with defects and the associated hassle of getting matters resolved satisfactorily.

At Peter Barry, we would recommend commissioning a snagging list of any new build property over a Homebuyer report or a Building Survey, as there is there is likely to be little that will show up on either of these conventional report options.  

Furthermore, it is important not to make the mistake of assuming that the new build warranty provides you with the same comprehensive cover for the full 10 year period. Most are set up to provide a comprehensive developer liability for repair during the first two years, after which the warranty is simply an insurance policy against structural defects only.

Given that some hidden defects may only manifest themselves after a period of time, it is also prudent to have a snagging inspection undertaken before expiry of the initial two years warranty period. 

A professional report can help you in dealing with a developer and avoid being fobbed off.

Whether you are purchasing a new build property, or are approaching the two year mark under a warranty for a property you already own, we would be more than happy to carry out a snagging inspection and draw up a list for you to present to your developer to rectify.

If any or all of the above applies to you, please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements.  

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