How to fix problems with a new build home

Last updated: March 2024 | 3 min read

Stepping into your newly built home should be a joy, not a jumble of jitters. If you're pondering are new builds worth it?, or have just moved in, this guide is tailored for you. It unravels common challenges new homeowners face, such as ensuring the snugness of windows or the reliability of electrical systems. These issues resonate with experiences detailed in moving into a new build house. Let's transform your new house into a worry-free home, where every corner reflects your dreams and hard work.

Introduction: Understanding new build home challenges

Are new build homes prone to more problems?

Comparing new builds with older properties

New build homes, fresh and modern, often allure home buyers with their pristine condition and contemporary features. Yet, they may conceal imperfections not immediately apparent. This section delves into how new builds compare with older properties in terms of potential issues.

Older properties, with their history and character, have stood the test of time. Their long-term endurance reveals most structural and maintenance issues, which previous owners likely addressed. In contrast, new build homes haven't had the opportunity to reveal all their secrets. Builders may rush construction to meet deadlines, leading to overlooked details or hasty workmanship.

The comparison focuses on several factors: structural integrity, materials used, and construction quality. Structural integrity in new builds might not be as tried and tested as in older homes. New materials can bring benefits like energy efficiency but may also have unknown long-term effects.

Construction quality, influenced by the skills of workers and time constraints, varies significantly between projects.

Understanding these differences helps new build homeowners gauge the types of problems they might encounter. It sets realistic expectations and prepares them for the unique challenges of their new homes.

Identifying common issues in new build homes

Poorly fitted windows and doors

Windows and doors in your new build home should fit snugly and securely. Poorly fitted windows and doors can lead to drafts, water ingress, and increased energy bills. If you notice gaps or feel cold air around these fittings, it's a sign they might not be properly installed. It's essential to address these issues promptly to maintain your home's energy efficiency and comfort.

Ensuring proper installation and insulation

Proper installation of windows and doors is key to preventing future problems. Check for uniform gaps around the frame and ensure seals are intact. If you find any issues, contact your builder or home warranty provider. They are responsible for rectifying such defects, often covered under the builder warranty period or new homes warranty scheme.

Cracks in walls and ceilings

Cracks can appear in internal walls and ceilings as your new build property settles. However, distinguishing between minor aesthetic issues and potential structural defects is crucial. Small cracks are common and usually not a cause for concern, but larger, widening cracks could indicate serious structural issues.

Distinguishing between minor and major defects

To distinguish between minor and major defects, look at the crack's width and length. Minor cracks are often hairline and result from the property settling. In contrast, major defects present as wider, longer cracks, possibly indicating structural problems. For peace of mind, consult a professional if you're unsure about the severity of the cracks.

Issues with brickwork pointing

The pointing on the exterior brickwork of your home should be even and intact. Poor pointing can lead to water ingress and damage to the structure over time. Inspect the external walls for any gaps or crumbling in the mortar.

Assessing the quality of external work

Check the uniformity and depth of the mortar joints. If you spot any irregularities, raise these with your home builder or warranty provider. The national house building council or similar bodies can offer advice on standards for external work.

Internal problems: Plastering, painting, and finish

Inside your new build home, look out for signs of poor plastering, painting, and overall finish. These issues, although primarily aesthetic, can affect your satisfaction with the home. Issues like uneven paint, visible plaster seams, or poorly finished fixtures need attention.

Addressing poor workmanship internally

If you find poor internal finishing, document it and report to your home builder. Under the homes ombudsman service or similar schemes, builders are obliged to fix these problems. Ensure you provide evidence of the issues to support your case.

Electrical and plumbing issues

Properly installed electrical and plumbing systems are vital for a safe and functional home. Faulty installations can lead to serious problems, including electrical hazards or water damage. Look out for signs like non-functioning outlets, leaks, or poor water pressure.

Identifying and resolving installation errors

If you encounter any electrical or plumbing issues, contact your home builder or warranty provider at the first instance. These problems often require professional assessment and repair to ensure safety and compliance with building standards.

Conducting a thorough snagging survey

What is a snagging survey and why is it necessary?

A snagging survey serves as a crucial checkpoint for new homeowners, examining new build homes for any issues or defects. Conducted either before or shortly after moving in, this detailed examination aims to identify any problems requiring rectification by the developer. For new home buyers, it ensures their property aligns with the high standards they expect, safeguarding their investment and ensuring a safe living environment.

How to conduct an effective snagging survey

To effectively conduct a snagging survey, start with a methodical examination of the property's exterior. This includes roofing, gutters, external doors, and windows. Ensure they are correctly installed and functioning as intended.

Inside, scrutinize walls, floors, and ceilings for any cracks, uneven surfaces, or other signs of poor workmanship. Pay close attention to fixtures and fittings such as light switches, sockets, and plumbing – they should operate smoothly and efficiently. Hiring a professional snagging inspector can be beneficial.

Their expertise and impartiality can uncover hidden issues, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the property's condition.

Post-survey actions: Compiling and prioritizing issues

After completing the snagging survey, the next step is to compile a detailed list of all discovered issues. This list should be organized, prioritizing defects based on their impact on safety and livability. Minor defects like paint blemishes or loose fittings, while important, may be less urgent than structural problems or poor installation that could pose immediate risks. Share this prioritized list with the property developer, establishing a clear and mutual understanding of the issues that need addressing.

It’s essential to maintain open communication with the developer and agree upon a reasonable timeline for resolving these problems. Persistent follow-ups are key to ensuring that repairs are carried out effectively and in a timely manner.

Engaging with your home warranty provider

Understanding your warranty with the National House Building Council

Home buyers often rely on the National House Building Council (NHBC) warranty for peace of mind. This warranty typically covers major structural defects for up to ten years. The first two years, known as the builder's warranty period, often include broader coverage.

It's crucial to understand the specifics of this coverage. The NHBC warranty aims to ensure that builders rectify defects during the warranty period, without additional costs to the homeowner. Familiarize yourself with the warranty's terms to assert your rights effectively.

How to effectively communicate with your warranty provider

Successful resolution of new build problems hinges on effective communication with warranty providers. Start by reporting issues as soon as they arise. It's advisable to document these problems thoroughly, including dates, descriptions, and photographs.

Contact your provider formally, using their preferred communication method, be it email, an online portal, or written correspondence. Provide clear, concise information about the issues.

If responses are slow or unsatisfactory, escalate your concerns. Remember, you're entitled to have these problems fixed in a reasonable time frame. Engage the warranty provider's dispute resolution service if necessary.

This can include the NHBC's own dispute resolution service, or an independent scheme like the new homes ombudsman service. They help in ensuring you're treated fairly, without incurring extra costs or waiting months for resolution.

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