National House Building Council
The National House Building Council, usually known as the NHBC, states its primary purpose as raising the construction standards of new homes in the United Kingdom (UK), and providing consumer protection for homebuyers through its 10-year Buildmark warranty.
|Supporting the house-building industry in improving the build quality of new homes for homebuyers, whilst providing warranty protection to consumers when required. Non profit distributing.|
|Industry||House building, Insurance and warranty, Training, Research|
|Headquarters||Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England|
|Isabel Hudson (Chairman), Steve Wood (Chief Executive Officer)|
Directors: Stewart Baseley, Ian Davis, Neil Jefferson, Sir John Harman, Sir (Alastair) Muir Russell, Dame Helena Shovelton, Jean Park, Ian Craston, Paul Hosking, Paul Bishop, Stephen Stone, Kate Davies
Number of employees
|1,300+ staff; including 700 inspectors, and 80 Members of the Council|
Established in 1936, NHBC is the UK's largest provider of new home warranties. According to NHBC's website, around 80% of new homes built in the UK each year have an NHBC 10-year warranty. NHBC is also the UK's largest single Approved Inspector for Building Regulations. Its other activities include the provision of services linked to house building and general construction; including energy ratings, health and safety, sustainability, and training. It also provides industry statistics and benchmarking services.
The NHBC is a non-profit distributing company, so reinvests 'profit' in its activities to improve the quality of new homes to protect the interests of homeowners.
New home warranty and build standards
NHBC offers warranties for newly built or converted private housing, affordable housing, self-build homes and commercial premises located on mixed use housing schemes. Mortgage lenders will usually require that a warranty is in place before lending on a newly built property, as detailed in the Council of Mortgage Lenders handbook.
Builders and developers who sell properties with NHBC warranties must adhere to NHBC's strict standards of construction contained in the NHBC Technical Standards, in addition to complying with Building Regulations in the UK.
NHBC inspectors visit building sites at key stages to check compliance with its Technical Standards. The stages are usually (but can sometimes be more): foundations, drainage, superstructure (e.g. brickwork), pre-plaster, and pre-handover to the buyer. For flats, they also inspect roof construction. The inspection process is not designed to check every detail of the build, but if NHBC is satisfied with the overall build quality they will issue the warranty for the new home/premises.
'Buildmark', the NHBC warranty for private housing is split into two parts. In the first two years, the builder is responsible for fixing any defects caused by its failure to build to NHBC Technical Standards. If the builder fails to do this, or has gone out of business, NHBC will take responsibility to fix the defect. From the start of the third year, until the home is ten years old, NHBC is responsible for putting right defects to the structural and weather-proofing parts of the home caused by breaches of its Technical Standards.
In 1985, under the Building Act 1984, the NHBC set up a subsidiary company; NHBC Building Control Services Ltd, and became the first private sector building control body licensed as an Approved Inspector, for the purpose of verifying that buildings are built in accordance with the building regulations across England and Wales. It is the largest single Approved Inspector in England and Wales; inspecting around 50% of all new-build properties in the UK, and assists builders to achieve compliance, and advises on Building Regulations for schemes ranging from residential developments to large commercial and mixed use sites.
NHBC offers a range of additional services to help builders comply with Building Regulations, health and safety legislation, and other construction rules. These include: energy rating services (SAP and SBEM), energy performance certificates, Code for Sustainable Homes, and BREEAM assessments, CDM co-ordination, health and safety audits, UKAS accredited testing for sound insulation and air tightness.
They also offer a wide range of training courses for building professionals, including construction related National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).
NHBC compiles and distributes statistics and analysis about the UK housing market that are used by government and financial institutions, as well as homebuilders. Examples are the Housing Market Report, and the NHBC Quarterly Statistics. Purchasers of new homes are also surveyed, providing statistics about levels of customer satisfaction in their homes.
Industry awards schemes run by NHBC
NHBC runs two national awards programmes: Pride in the Job, and the NHBC Health and Safety Awards.
Consumer Code for Home Builders
NHBC was a founder member of The Consumer Code for Home Builders, which gives added protection and rights to the buyers of brand new homes. The aim of the Code is to ensure that new home buyers are given all the information they need about their new home before they sign contracts, and treated fairly afterwards.
History / milestones
NHBC was originally set up as the National House Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) in the United Kingdom in 1936, with the primary purpose to increase the care and professionalism shown by house builders.
As a Registered Housebuilder under the voluntary scheme, houses were inspected during building, buyers were covered by a two-year warranty against major defects, and against the insolvency of the builder.. By 1963, 26% of all housing was built by Registered Housebuilders.
In 1964 and 1965, changes were introduced, including the extension of the warranty to ten years. 1967 saw the upgrading of the NHBRC's standards, particularly in the provision of power outlets, kitchen design, and space heating; drawing on the recommendations of the Parker Morris Committee. By the end of 1970, 92% of new homes were built by NHBRC members.
In 1973, the name changed to the National House Building Council (NHBC), and the organisation became completely independent from government and house builders. It was approved by the Department of Trade as an insurance company.
The NHBC was criticised on a 2010 edition of the BBC consumer television programme Watchdog, for failing to repair homes due to incorrect surveying of problem properties by relevant professionals, and thus failing to either compensate owners financially or fix any problems promptly, for newly built properties under their warranty.
NHBC apologised to the families featured in the Watchdog programme for any mistakes that were made during the handling of their claims. NHBC argued that the cases showed how complex construction issues can be, and that expert opinions from construction professionals could differ.
They also stated that they resolve claims from around 15,000 homeowners each year on homes up to 10 years old, and also help to resolve around 5,000 disputes between homeowners and their builders each year.
In 2010/11, NHBC paid claims totalling £74.4 million.
Further criticism followed in 2017 with the BBC reporting "growing concerns that the quality of homes being built has drastically dropped" and one surveyor concluding that a client's new home was "unfit for habitation" and in places "unsafe." At the time the government was pressurising house developers to target the building 300,000 new homes a year.
- About NHBC - NHBC website
- NHBC - customers not thrilled with their build..., reference date 28 September 2010
- NHBC Watchdog Statement, reference date 23 September 2010
- NHBC Annual Review 2010, reference date August 2011
- Emma Ailes (19 December 2017). "The new homes 'uninhabitable' after less than a year". BBC news. Retrieved 19 December 2017. At the time the government was pressurising house developers to target the building of 300,000 new homes a year.