Everyone knows the UK is facing a housing shortage. Pete Griffin, director of key nationals at Premier Guarantee, examines the big question: how do we improve things?
New homes, especially the quality of those handed over at completion to the purchaser, are a hot topic at the moment.
The tabloids, social media, TV programmes and all-party parliamentary groups all seem to be pointing the finger towards the UK’s national housebuilders saying, “up the quality and your game!”
So, what does it all mean?
We are all aware that the UK is going through one of our largest housing shortages since the 1920s, which has driven demand up. To exacerbate the situation even further there’s a skills shortage in the construction industry, and when you mix both of these together it can often lead to rushed work.
This can be compounded by a growing online social media presence, where disgruntled homebuyers are a post or tweet away from airing their thoughts and anger. Well, you can imagine how it can create a volatile recipe for disaster for the new homes industry.
Here’s the big question: How can the new homes industry improve things?
The main responsibility lies with those building and selling the homes.
Housebuilders must do everything they can to ensure that the homes they build are of the best quality possible and, if there are problems, act quickly to resolve issues for the homeowner, who will have put their hopes, dreams and life savings into this house.
But that’s not where the buck stops.
Secondly, those involved in the project as a partner must add value and raise the standards of housebuilders, being their check and balance, and working together in any way, shape or form they can.
Which leads me to structural warranty providers.
The UK, unlike other countries in the EU, doesn’t have a single licensing body to qualify builders as fit for purpose. It’s up to bodies like structural warranty providers or the Federation of Master Builders to guide and set standards that builders should adhere to. It’s in these standards we can assist builders to strive for high-quality workmanship and customer care on all their projects.
How can we work together?
As director of key nationals, my team and I are always looking for ways to add value to the partnership we offer our national housebuilders. Assisting them in not only obtaining all the necessary warranty documentation and sign off they need but making sure they have a quality product at the end. One that is “built to last” as so many media outlets now say new homes are not.
From our experience, there are four key values a successful partnership between developer and warranty provider requires in order to improve the quality of homes. These include:
Proactiveness – Spotting potential issues as early as possible, communicating these effectively and resolving them before they cause any disruption is essential. We have a ‘pick up the phone and own a problem’ ethos with our clients which helps us to diminish any problems before they occur.
Early design reviews – We firmly believe that our partnership and involvement from a project’s inception is the best way to ensure high standards and a smooth running on site. It allows all stakeholders’ expectations to be managed and ensures everyone understands the compliance and quality that is being strived for right from the beginning.
Learning & training – “A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise one learns from the mistake of others.” We place a high regard on the experience and training of our staff and believe this should also be passed on to our clients. We have over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry and pass this on to our clients through toolbox talks, claims learning presentations and benchmark/quality presentations, giving them the knowledge to highlight risk areas and how to overcome them.
A mutual goal for quality – Keeping quality consistent between all of your active sites can be difficult, especially if these are managed by different regional teams. We’ve found that implementing a Quality Indicator Service into our warranty inspections has helped developers and us track and improve the quality of their new builds throughout all regions. The service is a library of build elements that we rate, allowing our clients to choose what they see as a driver for quality. This provides terrific visual data allowing comparison of sites/regions on the areas they see as important in creating a quality home for the buyer. This also feeds into our learning and training for construction teams so all sites/regions are working to the same quality levels.
Tel: 0800 107 8446
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