January 2024 marks the implementation of the updated Consumer Code for Home Builders’ and Consumer Code for New Homes’ Codes of Practice, which will deliver better consumer protection during the house purchase process and after-sales support across new-builds in the UK.
The basis for the updated standards was initially developed by the Consumer Code for Home Builders and Consumer Code for New Homes in 2021, in preparation for the anticipated single, mandatory code and Ombudsman scheme. Although the government has not implemented a mandatory scheme, that initial work now underpins the main codes in the marketplace. This means that customer service requirements and consumer protection offered across the new build homes market is now largely consistent, making it easier for home buyers to understand the protection available to them and for the industry to comply.
Noel Hunter, Chair of the Consumer Code for Home Builders said: “These changes bring consistency across the main code schemes and provide additional protection for consumers. Compliance with a code scheme is a condition set by most warranty providers, effectively making it mandatory for home builders to meet the required customer service standards and offer an independent dispute resolution service should things go wrong. The Consumer Code for Home Builders continues to play a leading role in championing stronger protection for consumers and supporting the industry to drive up standards.”
Both the Consumer Code for Home Builders and the Consumer Code for New Homes, have launched updated codes of practice, enhancing the protection available to consumers and raising the overall standards the industry is expected to meet in the marketing and selling of new build homes.
Sarah Langley, Managing Director of the Consumer Code for New Homes, said: “We recognise how important it is for consumers to have clarity as well as a high standard of protection. By collaborating with our colleagues at the Consumer Code for Home Builders, we have collectively raised the standard, not just for our own codes but for the wider industry.
“Importantly, we have done so in a way that builds on existing best practice to avoid creating unnecessary bureaucracy for developers but instead supports them in continually improving the service they provide.”
The Consumer Code for Home Builders and Consumer Code for New Homes collectively have over 20 years of experience in operating codes of practice in the sector and both are approved codes under the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. This additional layer of third party assessment ensures these codes provide comprehensive protection, including the availability of an independent dispute resolution service for home buyers (equivalent to an ombudsman scheme), and the ability to take action against builders/developers who fail to meet the codes’ requirements.