Kirk Hallam Homes

Your guide to NHBC and Buildmark

NHBC

WHAT IS THE NHBC?


The NHBC (National House-Building Council) was established over 60 years ago and is the independent regulator and standard setter for the new homes industry. Our aim is to help the house-building industry construct good quality new homes which meet the reasonable expectations of home buyers. We register house builders, set standards of construction, inspect homes, promote best practice among house builders across the UK, and provide cover on new and newly converted homes. Since 1965, NHBC has provided cover on over five million homes.

WHY DO I NEED TO COVER MY HOME?

If you are buying a new home you will need cover like Buildmark to help you secure a mortgage. Mortgage lenders prefer to lend on homes that have this type of cover because they know the home will have been built to specified standards of construction.

DOES BUILDMARK COVER ME AGAINST ALL FAULTS AND DEFECTS?

Buildmark is not a complete guarantee against all defects. Buildmark is an insurance policy which covers you against specified risks which could be very expensive to put right. It does not provide cover for general wear and tear, condensation, normal shrinkage, damage arising from failure to maintain the property, or minor faults which first appear after the second year. For full details you should read your copy of the Buildmark booklet which specifies the cover provided. The Buildmark booklet belongs to you so make sure you ask your solicitor for this document.

When you move in, you should also receive NHBC's 'Guide To Your New Home' from your builder. It contains useful information about 'running in' your new home. An NHBC video is also available free from your builder or from the Publications request section of this site.

WHAT DOES 'NHBC REGISTERED BUILDER' MEAN?

Only builders and developers who can demonstrate financial security and technical competence can be registered with NHBC. They must follow the NHBC Rules and build homes to NHBC Standards of construction.

WHAT ARE NHBC STANDARDS AND WHO SETS THEM?

NHBC Standards are the definitive standards for house construction and conversion in the UK and have been developed over many years. They are set by a committee representing all relevant organisations interested in improving the quality of new and converted homes. Builders, consumer organisations and professional institutions are represented on the committee. They take into account the Building Regulations, British Standards and NHBC's own claims record of defects. We believe that prevention is better than cure, so the Standards are continually improved to minimise defects.

HOW DOES NHBC CHECK THAT MY BUILDER COMPLIES WITH THE STANDARDS?

During the construction of every home, NHBC Inspectors carry out inspections to satisfy themselves, as far as is practicable, that the homes conform to NHBC Standards and are an acceptable risk for Buildmark Cover. Inspectors will visit each property to check the elements that you would not normally see, for example the foundations, the damp proof course and the cavity wall insulation. However, the NHBC Inspector does not check every detail of construction on each property.

If you have any concerns about the quality of your home during or after construction you should consult the builder. If you do not get a satisfactory answer, telephone the appropriate NHBC office

WHAT IS THE BUILDMARK COVER AND WHEN DOES IT START?

The Buildmark Cover is a ten year insurance policy divided into four main parts:

Cover before completion 
The first 2 years
Cover in years 3 to 10
Additional cover in years 3 to 10 where NHBC's subsidiary carried out the building control
Cover before completion

If, due to insolvency or fraud, the builder does not start building or converting your home or fails to finish it, NHBC will reimburse money you have paid the builder for the home that cannot be recovered from him. If the property is not finished, NHBC can arrange for the property to be finished in accordance with its Standards. There is a financial limit of £10,000 or 10% of the original purchase price (whichever is the greater) to this part of the cover.

The first 2 years after completion

For the first 2 years, Buildmark covers you against any physical damage to the home caused by a defect which results from the builder failing to meet NHBC Standards. This part of the cover runs from the date of legal completion of the first sale of the home (date of entry in Scotland) or, if later, the date NHBC agrees the home substantially complies with NHBC's requirements.

Under this part of Buildmark, the builder is responsible for any repairs necessary. You must report any faults to the builder in writing as soon as possible, and you should keep a copy of your letter. If the builder fails to rectify the problems, NHBC offers a free Resolution Service which aims to resolve disputes between you and the builder. Under the Resolution Service, NHBC can also help arrange the remedial work needed to put things right if the builder fails to do so. If the builder is insolvent, then NHBC insures his obligations.

Please remember that the builder is not responsible for items such as normal shrinkage or normal condensation due to the property 'drying out', general wear and tear and damage arising from failure to maintain the property.

Cover in years 3 to 10

From 1 January 2003 Buildmark covers you against the full cost, if it is more than £500 at April 1999 prices (indexed), of putting right any physical damage to the home caused by a defect in any one of the specified parts of the building. Buildmark covers:

foundations
load-bearing walls
non load-bearing partition walls
wet-applied wall plaster
external wall rendering and external vertical tile hanging
load-bearing parts of the roof
tile and slate coverings to pitched roofs
ceilings
load-bearing parts of the floors
floor decking, screeds and staircases where these fail to support normal loads
retaining walls necessary for the structural stability of the home, its garage or other permanent outbuilding
multiple glazing panes to external windows and doors (in converted properties they must be newly installed at the time of conversion)
below-ground drainage for which you are responsible
defective chimneys and flues causing a danger to the health and safety of occupants
Among the problems we have helped to remedy are dry rot affecting structural timbers and foundation failure due to inappropriate design.

Please remember that from year 3 this part of Buildmark does not cover items such as gutters, central heating, internal plaster finishes, fixtures and fittings etc. Nor does it cover you against any claim that is insured elsewhere, or by your household insurance policy (e.g. storm damage to roof tiles).

If your home is on a site registered with NHBC before 1 January 2003 different cover may apply. Please refer to your policy or telephone us on 0845 845 6422 for details of the cover provided.

In addition, NHBC also provides cover for the cost of clearing up contamination of the land on which the home is built if a local authority or government agency take action against the home owner under environmental law.

Additional cover in years 3 to 10 where NHBC's subsidiary carried out the building control

This cover only applies if NHBC Building Control Services Ltd has carried out the building control.

If it has, you are covered against costs arising from the builder's failure to comply with specified statutory Building Regulations. The Insurance Certificate will show if this cover applies to your home. The financial limit for a claim made under this section is the original cost of the work covered by NHBC Building Control Services Ltd Final Certificate.

IS THERE A FINANCIAL LIMIT TO THE COVER AFTER COMPLETION?

Yes. The most we will pay is the original purchase price as shown on the Insurance Certificate up to a maximum of:

£500,000 for a newly built home, or
£250,000 for a converted home
(up to £1 million for all the homes in a continuous converted structure)
The financial limit will be increased each year in line with the RICS House Rebuilding Cost Index, or if less, by 12% compound per year from the date of the Insurance Certificate (please see the Buildmark booklet for full details).

WHO PAYS FOR THE BUILDMARK COVER?

The cost of Buildmark is included in the purchase price of your home. Your builder pays the premium directly to NHBC. The premium is based on a scale of charges relating to the sales value of each home.


WHAT IF I SELL MY HOME BEFORE THE TEN YEARS EXPIRE?

If you sell your home while Buildmark is still in force, the benefit of the rest of the cover automatically transfers to the new owners. You should pass the Buildmark documents to the new owner.