What's the deal with new builds?

publication date: Apr 2, 2015
author/source: Allan Buchan

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Guest article from Allan Buchan of the CORC

New Build


New Houses
When you buy a new house you would think that you would have no worries, no faults, no problems. Wrong, you may be walking into a living nightmare. The recent television programme highlighted some of the faults you could find, i.e.: sunken floors, poor fitting window frames, cracks in walls, the list is endless.

Most new houses are backed by a 10 year guarantee, as the programme showed, getting these problems corrected under the terms of the guarantee is not always straightforward. In extreme cases you have to take legal proceedings before the guarantor agrees liability.

That’s the worst scenario; let’s look at the other side of the coin. You decide to sell your house and buy a brand new one. You find a purchaser for your one and Sunday morning you begin your search for a house that suits you. You pull into a new development, visit the show house and fall in love with it. You sign the contract and move in. Then you decorate to your taste and live happily ever after. Believe me, this does happen in most cases so don’t be put off buying a new property; you have got to be very unlucky to find a dodgy one.

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Always have a surveyor inspect a property before you buy, your building society surveyor is there to basically assess the value of the property, you should have a qualified building surveyor who would go through the property with a fine toothcomb, and if it has any problems he should find them.

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Main Contractor
The main contractor is the company who has bought the land and secured planning permission.

His main interest is getting the houses up and sold in the shortest and cheapest possible way, whilst maintaining the required standards.

He does this by means of sending out tenders to various building companies; normally the cheapest will win the contract.

He prepares the specification on which the tenders are based, he will also insist on certain guarantees from most trades, i.e.: roofing, not only will he require the roofing contractor to be reputable, he would also insist on a long term guarantee for works carried out, this could also apply to electricians, plumbers, plasterers etc.

These tradesmen have to give promises that certain works will be carried out by a certain time, if they are not, the main contractor can impose financial penalties.

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New Roofs
Let’s say John Smith Roofing Company was invited to tender to carry out the roofing works on an estate of fifty houses.   His first job would be to study the specification for each property, assuming they were not all identical. He would then cost out the price of materials and labour, add his profit margin and submit to the main contractor or his agent.

Let’s assume that his tender was the lowest and he won the contract. This is where his troubles start. On a large contract, stage payments are required by the sub contractors, this is so they can pay their workers without having to obtain an overdraft from their bank. Stage payments are usually agreed between the contractor and the site surveyor. The surveyor would inspect and measure the work and agree a price.

When the contract is completed the main contractor will withhold retention of 5%, this is held for six months for any defect that may arise in that time.

The contractor will be required to issue guarantees on each property for a period of usually 10 years. Many main contractors and architects now require insured back up guarantees from the roofing contractor. These however are not freely available, roofing contractors such as John Smith Roofing do not belong to a trade association such as the Confederation of Roofing Contractors, therefore the benefits of membership are not available to them.

Poor old John, he is in a dilemma, I must join a trade association but which one, they all seem to offer the same benefits.

What John doesn’t realise is that becoming a member of a recognised trade association is not as easy as he may think.

If John applied to the Confederation of Roofing Contractors for membership, he would have to undergo a very strict vetting procedure, past works, current works, trade references and much more.  If John passed and was accepted into membership of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors, he would be able to issue 10 year fully insured guarantees on both domestic and 20 year insured guarantee’s on commercial contracts. He would also become a member of an elite force within the roofing industry, he would know that by being accepted into membership, his work would have had to have been well above standard.

The Confederation of Roofing Contractors have a list of reputable contractors covering the whole of the United Kingdom, if you are in doubt ring CORC first and be assured that the contractor you choose will carry out your work to a high quality and offer you a guarantee that you can rely on.

The Confederation of Roofing Contractors can be found in the trade section of every Yellow Pages and Thompson Local. Telephone:  01206 306600. Or visit our website on www.corc.co.uk.

Read - How to choose a roofing contractor checklist


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