Will a consumer code work?

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell revisits the news that the quality of new homes continues to disappoint.

New build homes have come under scrutiny again this week. For example, we report that the Federation of Master Builders has signed up to the new Consumer Code for New Homes (CCNH) which aims to provide protection for individuals and families who purchase new build properties

“At a time when there’s immense pressure on house builders to increase their delivery of new homes, it’s imperative that the drive to increase numbers does not lead to a reduction in quality,” Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said.

To be honest, it’s a bit of an understatement when the poor quality of finished homes has led to house builders being fined £millions.

And as I write this, I’ve just tweeted the news from the Guardian that “housing associations responsible for more than 175,000 homes are facing allegations of serial neglect of their residents and properties, focused on an array of new-build developments in London that have received more than £60m in public money”.

Thankfully, from our point of view, there is nothing to suggest that the quality of doors and windows have come into question, other than a reluctance by a housing association to fix a vandalised door.

However, it made me feel uncomfortable reading the story because I was always under the impression (from speaking to suppliers to similar projects) that housing associations commanded the best products for their properties – the most energy efficient windows with the most resilient hardware, and the most secure front doors – because it would save them less money in maintenance and replacement costs further down the line.

Maybe at a time when new homes are needed in vast numbers to meet demand, a consumer code is needed to ensure a collective eye isn’t taken off quality, especially when our typical benchmarks are being eroded.