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It’s easy to assume that an inspection wouldn’t be required for a new home, but snagging inspectors routinely find up to 300 defects in a new build property.

Although some homeowners might think it’s a waste of time and money to inspect what should be a finished product, it’s an important and often overlooked part of the home-buying process. Even new builds have flaws. If left unchecked, some of them could lead to a multitude of costly headaches down the road.

A detailed snagging inspection can provide vital information about the quality of the finish on a new build. Moreover, if a consistent pattern of defects and quality control issues are identified on a wider scale, it can lead to some tough questions for the developers and builders and will help in the further development of the inspection and reporting process that has already been part of the deliberations to bring about the regulations for new homes.

Most national new home developers claim to pride themselves on in-house snagging checks, but they’re sometimes found to be lacking, much to the dismay of the homeowners. 

In light of widespread disputes, the biggest developers in the country have now signed up to a new code of practice to resolve new home disputes. Barratt, Redrow, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey are among the 100 firms to adhere to this new code of practice, which will be overseen by the New Homes Ombudsman Service

Among other things, the code requires that developers must provide all relevant information about the home during the sales process, which includes both tenure and service charges.

Also – and this is the important bit – the firms must allow customers to engage a professional third-party inspector to carry out any pre-completion assessment inspections.

A third-party snagging inspection evaluates the overall quality of the finish before the property sales transaction completes, so the buyer can be confident in their purchase if they choose to go ahead. 

The inspector will evaluate the property and issue a report of their findings, including photographic and video evidence to substantiate any defects or concerns raised.

Using this evidence, the prospective homebuyer can then approach the seller or the developer to ensure that any issues are fixed before completion, no matter how small they appear.

What are the common issues found in new builds?

Social media is rife with videos and images from disgruntled homebuyers and new home quality inspectors left aghast at the quality of workmanship on new builds. From the evidence on show, there appears to be a common pattern emerging across the country.

The most common issues found by third-party snagging inspectors include the following: 

  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Air brick vents too close to ground level
  • Missing lead flashing on roofs
  • Faulty grading
  • Out-of-plumb walls and fences
  • Substandard framing
  • Poorly wired electrical outlets
  • Missing switch plates
  • Cosmetic defects to fittings
  • Improper plumbing and much, much more

Given the Government’s ambitious target of 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, and add to this the supply chain issues and higher cost of materials, it comes as no surprise that some housebuilders, both national and independent firms, have allegedly cut corners to deliver within a squeezed budget and on those targets.

As you can see, there are lots of things to consider when assessing the quality of a new build, which is why third-party snagging inspections are so important. Capturing all of that information, including hundreds of photos and videos documenting the exact nature and location of the issue, requires detailed evidence which can be both time-consuming and costly.

That said, the truth, the reality here is that the costs only get bigger the longer they’re left unchecked. 

Without a comprehensive snagging inspection, new homeowners are technically left “holding the bag”, not knowing whether there are any serious structural, electrical or drainage issues that will then present themselves further down the line after the sale has been concluded, leaving them with a potentially hefty bill and little chance of any justice.

What do snagging inspectors check for?

Snagging inspectors look for a range of issues, taking any building regulations into account. The time it takes to complete an inspection can vary according to the size and quality of the new build property – some snagging inspectors say they routinely discover 150 to 300 defects on a new build! 

Among many other things, a snagging inspector will typically check for issues such as:

  • Inside and outside the property
  • Brickwork and paintwork
  • Plumbing, electrics and heating
  • Kitchens and bathrooms
  • Tiles and grouting
  • Garages and driveways
  • Gardens and fences
  • Roofing
  • Groundworks
  • Ceilings and walls
  • Windows and doors

The aim for a snagging inspector is to identify any and all defects found in the property, identify issues at the property that are not in line with the developer’s warranty standards, including work left unfinished or incomplete and breaches of building regulation. 

Finally, and before the sale completes, the inspector (depending on the service provided) can offer guidance to the prospective homeowner so that they can then make informed choices about purchasing the property.

The importance of snagging inspections

As you may already realise, there is a lot that could go wrong with a new build. We can hope as much as we want, but new builds are rarely finished to the level we expect and as required to validate the warranty.

Housebuilders and new home developers are ultimately responsible for rectifying any defect that is a direct result of their workmanship, but the guidelines can be tricky and open to interpretation.

This is why a comprehensive third-party snagging inspection is important. It leaves no room for doubt and with the right evidence documented, a resolution will be much easier to come by.

Property Inspect has designed a template to capture the required information as set out by The New Homes Quality Board – Pre-Completion Inspection Checklist (House) that can be completed on-site, within our app, whether you have an internet connection or not.
Start a free trial or book a demo today to learn more about our home inspection software.

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