Building new homes in the UK is currently fraught with challenges. A cost-of-living crisis, rising interest rates, and soaring inflation levels have dampened buyer appetite, while navigating the complex planning system and preparing for the full implementation of the Building Safety Act add to the difficulties faced by developers and contractors.
In this already complex landscape, the potential extension of new home warranty periods to 15 years and the introduction of mandatory warranties for all new-build homes raise questions about their impact.
In this article, director Johnny Leadsom delves into the key aspects of the new build 15 year warranties and their potential pros and cons.
Increased Costs vs. Improved Quality:
Extended warranties will inevitably increase the cost of new homes. Developers and builders will need to factor in the cost of insurance , potentially making it harder for some buyers to afford new homes. On the flip side, extended warranties can incentivise developers and builders to construct high-quality homes that will last. This could boost demand for new homes as buyers gain confidence in defect-free homes.
Lengthier Construction Times vs. Increased Peace of Mind:
Developers and builders must ensure they have the necessary documentation and records to support extended warranties, adding complexity and time to the construction process. However, this effort can provide homeowners with peace of mind, knowing their homes are covered for defects for a more extended period. This could lead to higher satisfaction and loyalty among homeowners, benefiting developers and builders in the long run.
Increased Risk vs. Improved Reputation:
Extended warranties increase the risk for developers and builders, as they are liable for defects for a more extended period. This could lead to financial losses if there are numerous warranty claims. On the positive side, extended warranties can improve the construction industry’s reputation by demonstrating a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, potentially attracting new customers and boosting sales.
Competition vs. Greater Transparency:
The increased cost of new homes might reduce demand, with some opting for older homes instead. This could challenge developers and builders in competing with other housing types. However, the new warranty requirements necessitate greater transparency about materials and workmanship, which can foster trust and confidence among homeowners.
The details of the new warranty requirements are still being finalized, creating uncertainty for developers and builders, making it difficult to plan and budget for new projects.
Challenges for Developers and Builders
The new home warranty reform could present challenges for developers and builders. They may face potential monetary penalties of up to £10,000 or 10% of the house purchase price. Moreover, the cost of warranty cover is expected to increase significantly, which could strain their finances, particularly against a backdrop of rising development costs due to legislative and market conditions.
Beyond Warranty Costs
Additional considerations extend beyond warranty costs. Consultants and designers may see an impact on liability and professional indemnity insurance premiums. Contractors may need to adjust their approach to specification and design. The reform emphasises improved quality, focusing on site supervision, workmanship, and contractor performance. Clarity in material specifications and technical details of projects will become paramount.