measures designed to improve the quality of new homes could be in place by
early 2021, according to sources involved in setting up the independent body,
which is designed to tackle poor workmanship in the housebuilding sector.
All housing developers will be required to adhere to the
ombudsman’s planned code of practice, which is expected to place tougher
requirements on parties involved in the construction, inspection, sale and
aftercare of new homes.
If firms fail to meet the standards of the code, they could face
fines or be prevented from operating as a builder.
The ombudsman will also have powers to help consumers with
a dispute within two years of their buying a house, lengthening the period
in which a housebuilder could be held responsible for its work.
An interim New Homes Quality Board chaired by MP Natalie
Elphicke (pictured) is responsible for the creation of the ombudsman, which was
set up following a series of consumer scandals involving poor-quality housing.
“They [the board] want to see what the industry is putting
forward in terms of voluntary sector-led solutions, but if that solution
doesn’t deliver what they want, they’ve got all options on the table to put
something in place separately themselves,” said one person involved in the
“The ambition is that it will be supported by all parties but
regardless, it will be mandatory and the decisions of the ombudsman will be
The ombudsman’s creation follows a swathe of consumer scandals
over new homes built by major developers in recent years. An independent review
into Persimmon last year found that the housebuilder did not have agreed
minimum standards for all the homes it was building.