New homes - do they need maintenance?

A common assumption made by consumers is that owners of newly-built properties do not need to conduct thorough maintenance on their homes.

However, while these properties should require less maintenance, it is still critical to ensure that they are well maintained to avoid major problems at a later stage.

One of the common problems identified with newly-built homes, or homes that have alterations or additions, is that the construction work may not adhere to proper building standards. This could potentially be a huge problem for homeowners, not only because of the inconvenience of needing to have their property repaired, but also financially, as a homeowners insurance policy will not cover issues related to faulty workmanship.

One of the major issues that can arise as a result of defective workmanship on homes is severe water damage to the structure of the building. For example, if the slope of the roof does not support the existing drainage system, or the valleys are not wide enough to accommodate drainage in the event of heavy rain, there may be an accumulation of water that is unable to flow away, resulting in damage to the building.

The National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC) regulates the home building industry and homeowners can submit a claim against defective workmanship to the association. It should be remembered, however; that these claims are only related to faulty workmanship in the building of the property and the NHBRC does not handle disputes relating to alterations or additions. Claims can also only be submitted up to seven years after the property was built, so if faults begin to appear after this date, this cannot be claimed against.

Legally, all home builders must be registered and certified by the NHBRC, which provides consumers with protection against housing units of substandard design, workmanship or poor quality material. It is crucial that before a consumer begins work on a new building, they ensure that the builder they contract to carry out the work is not only registered with the NHBRC, but that they also have the necessary commercial insurance cover in place to insure against the threat of the builder becoming insolvent, if they cannot finish the building project or if they need to fix defects.

Building your own home can be an exciting project but it is also incredibly stressful and may be prone to a number of issues often out of the homeowner’s control. As a result, it is crucial to ensure that all possible precautionary measures to protect the homeowner are taken, including obtaining references from the builder’s previous clients, ensuring the builder has commercial insurance cover and checking that they are registered with the NHBRC.

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