The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has welcomed the government’s decision to set up a New Homes Ombudsman, calling it a much-needed driver for improving housing quality and providing better redress for consumers.
The MHCLG Secretary of State, James Brokenshire made the announcement at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham earlier this week pledging that the new watchdog “will champion home buyers, protect their interests and hold developers to account. And give confidence that when you get the keys to a new home you get the quality build you expect and the finish you’ve paid for.”
The CIC has been leading calls for a New Ombudsman following the publication of two hard-hitting reports from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment, for which it provided the Secretariat.
The reports, More Homes, fewer complaints, published in 2016 and Better redress for homebuyers, published in June 2018, laid out the unacceptable scale of poor quality and workmanship in new housing and the confusing and frustrating landscape for consumers who often had no forms of redress to get problems fixed. Both reports called on government to set up a New Ombudsman scheme which was independent, free to consumers and provide a quick resolution to disputes.
Professor John Nolan, Chairman of CIC and a member of the commission of inquiry which produced Better redress for homebuyers said:
“All purchasers of new homes in this country should be confident they are buying a high-quality product, no matter who built it or where they are in the country. We are pleased the government has made this announcement as major step to help drive that.”
“Our report also called for it to be mandatory for all housebuilders to belong to the Ombudsman scheme, and we are encouraged that government has indicated it will introduce legislation if necessary to underpin that.”
Graham Watts OBE, Chief Executive of CIC, said:
“Consumers buying new homes should be entitled to expect the same levels of aftercare and redress they would receive when purchasing any other new product. An ombudsman for new homes will ensure a robust route for their concerns to be addressed. It is pleasing that the advocacy of the CIC and the All Party Group has led to this action.”
“The report also recommended that government, warranty providers, housebuilders and consumer groups’ work together to draw up a code of practice which would be used by the New Homes Ombudsman to adjudicate on disputes.”
Reports from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment can be viewed here.