What is a building warranty?

This is an insurance backed warranty or guarantee that the property you are buying has been built to a set of standards that meet the approval of the warranty company.

It’s normally 10 years in length but it can differ, ranging from 6 years onwards.


How are each warranty company different?

The NHBC is the warranty company that most people are familiar with and they warrant somewhere in the region of 93% of all new homes built in the UK. The remaining 7% are fought over by an increasing number of companies with insurers backing them trying to profit from the opening up of the NHBC monopoly. Some, such as insurance giant Zurich and CRL, have fallen by the wayside as the differing companies battle for market share.

This battle has led to differences in the product they offer, as they seek to differentiate themselves in the market. These differences include the coverage and length of the warranty, the standards and bureaucracy in order to “operate under the flag” of the warranty provider, the amount of inspections that get done (or don’t get done) and the cost to the builder.


What does a warranty inspector do?

A warranty inspector should be making a number of visits at key stages to the property during its construction and be picking up any deviations to the warranty standards. Get hold of a copy and make sure you know what they are and what you might expect. You might not understand it all, but if you can just get to terms with some aspects then you will be able to determine what’s acceptable and what’s not (at least in terms of the finishes).

A warranty inspector will also be expected to pick up on building regulation issues as well, but this is not their main priority. Their main function is to ensure that there are no claims made under the warranty or to reduce claims made.

The key feature of a warranty is the EXTRA protection it offers.


What is a building regulations certificate?

This is issued by an approved inspector and confirms that the house meets the standards required by the building regulations.

For many decades the UK government has sought to control the basic standards that the builder has to build to. The approved documents of the building regulations, to give them their full title, is a set of guidelines that advise builders on how to meet the standards required in law.

These regulations are enforced by what we commonly call building inspectors. Most operate under the jurisdiction of your local authority LABC and therefore are not for profit organizations working for the public good.

There are however private companies engaging in the inspection of new homes. These are profit driven organizations competing against the LABC in a de-monopolized free for all.

The building inspectors’ function is to ensure the homeowner is protected and the house is built to the required minimum standards. In addition to building regulations, your new home has to comply with other statutory requirements and must pass/ comply.