Buying a new build property? Why it might be worth getting a building survey

Builder going through survey with homeowners

The UK is facing a continual and rising demand for housing and councils all over the country have local plans in place to address housing need. Despite 222,000 properties being built in 2017-2018, it’s estimated that the government’s target of delivering 300,000 new homes every year by the mid-2020s will be impossible to achieve, largely due to issues within the planning process.

Despite that, it still means a huge amount of properties are being built, and for many, that can only be good news. These properties are more likely than older and period properties to be structurally sound and energy efficient. Plus they come with a NHBC guarantee that offers protection in the event of any issues after purchase – no need then for a building survey. A brand new property ready for you to put your stamp on it and then live happily ever after. What could possibly be wrong with that?!

Hold on a minute!

Have you seen the TV programmes about new build nightmares? Have you read about the problems new owners have had subsequent to moving in to their dream homes – often built by some of the big names in property development. It’s happening everywhere and unhappy owners are telling the world about it.

Maybe it’s worth paying for a building survey after all

A NHBC warranty is great to have and it’s designed as a form of insurance, there in the event that you need to have any faults fixed within the first 10 years. Unfortunately, that guarantee is perhaps not quite as secure as it appears. The cover can be relatively limited and disputes do not always turn out in the property owner’s favour. Naturally, it’s often the case that owners only get surveyors involved when a problem becomes apparent and, sadly, that can be too late – particularly if problems surface after two years. The NHBC warranty appears to be good for 10 years but, in reality, its value is vastly reduced after two years.

We believe that there is a strong case for requesting a building survey before purchasing a new-build property, no matter how reputable the company building it may be. It may well prove to be a completely sound building, but quality can vary from one property to another within the same development. A slightly cynical view is that the first houses to go up are the prototypes and the final ones are when corners could be cut because time and money are tight. Isn’t it better to move into a new home safe in the knowledge that you won’t one day wake up to cracks in the walls or problems with damp?

If you’re currently thinking of buying a new build property, why not get Home-Approved to carry out a building survey so that you know you’ve made the right decision.