National House Building Council
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2008)|
|Headquarters||Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England|
Mike Quinton (Chief Executive), Isabel Hudson (Chairman)
|Revenue||£28,000,000 GBP surplus after tax (2010/11)|
|Employees||1,000 staff including inspectors and 80 Members of the Council|
NHBC (National House-Building Council) states its primary purpose as raising the construction standards of new homes in the UK and provide consumer protection for homebuyers.
Established in 1936, NHBC is the UK's largest provider of new home warranties. Around 80% of new homes built in the UK each year have an NHBC 10-year warranty. NHBC is also the UK's largest single Approved Inspector for Building Regulations. Its other activities include the provision of services linked to house building and general construction including energy ratings, health and safety, sustainability and training. It also provides industry statistics and benchmarking services.
It is a non-profit distributing company so reinvests "profit" in its activities to improve the quality of new homes to protect the interests of homeowners.
NHBC is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
New home warranties and build standards
NHBC offers warranties for newly built or converted private housing, affordable housing, self-build homes and commercial premises located on mixed use housing schemes. Mortgage lenders will usually require that a warranty is in place before lending on a newly built property as detailed in the Council of Mortgage Lenders handbook.
Builders and developers who sell properties with NHBC warranties must adhere to NHBC's strict standards of construction contained in the NHBC Technical Standards in addition to complying with Building Regulations in the UK.
NHBC inspectors visit building sites at key stages to check compliance with its Technical Standards. The stages are usually (but can sometimes be more): foundations, drainage, superstructure (e.g. brickwork), pre-plaster and pre-handover to the buyer. For flats, they also inspect roof construction. The inspection process is not designed to check every detail of the build but if NHBC is satisfied with the overall build quality they will issue the warranty for the new home/premises.
Buildmark, the NHBC warranty for private housing is split into 2 parts. In the first 2 years, the builder is responsible for fixing any defects caused by its failure to build to NHBC Technical Standards. If the builder fails to do this or has gone out of business, NHBC will take responsibility to fix the defect. From the start of the third year until the home is 10 years old, NHBC is responsible for putting right defects to the structural and weather-proofing parts of the home caused by breaches of its Technical Standards.
In 1985, under the Building Act 1984, NHBC set up a subsidiary company (NHBC Building Control Services Ltd) and became the first private sector building control body licensed as an Approved Inspector for the purpose of verifying that buildings are built in accordance with the building regulations across England and Wales. It is the largest single Approved Inspector in England and Wales (inspecting around 50% of all new-build properties in the UK) and assists builders to achieve compliance and advises on Building Regulations for schemes ranging from residential developments to large commercial and mixed use sites.
NHBC offers a range of additional services to help builders comply with Building Regulations, Health and Safety legislation and other construction rules. These include: energy rating services (SAP and SBEM), energy performance certificates, Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM assessments, CDM co-ordination, health and safety audits, UKAS accredited testing for sound insulation and air tightness.
They also offer a wide range of training courses for building professionals including construction related National Vocational Qualifications NVQs. NHBC compiles and distributes statistics and analysis about the UK housing market that are used by Government and financial institutions, as well as homebuilders. Examples are the Housing Market Report and the NHBC Quarterly Statistics. Purchasers of new homes are also surveyed providing statistics about levels of customer satisfaction in their homes.
NHBC runs two national awards programmes: Pride in the Job and the NHBC Health and Safety Awards.
Pride in the Job is designed to recognise and reward quality standards in house building and, specifically, the role that site managers play in ensuring the quality on their site.
Judging takes place over an 18 month period by NHBC Building Inspectors with the Regional and Supreme winners in each category being judged by independent experts as well as NHBC Regional Directors. Site managers are scored against pre-set criteria to ensure consistency and fairness across the competition.
The competition is divided into four stages, culminating in the Supreme Awards presented at a gala ceremony. The stages are: Stage 1 - Quality Awards and Single Plot Commendations; Stage 2 - Seal of Excellence Awards; Stage 3 - Regional Awards and Stage 4 - Supreme Awards.
A Pride in the Job award is a fantastic credit to the individual site manager who will be selected from almost 13,000 site managers across the UK. Pride in the Job awards provide a number of benefits to the individual winners and to the companies that they work for. Pride in the Job awards are used by many builders in the marketing of their new homes to show potential buyers that the homes are built to high quality standards.
The NHBC Health and Safety Awards were launched in 2010 and are the only health and safety awards exclusively for house builders. Site managers are recognised for the health and safety practices on their site and companies can receive awards for their overall health and safety policies and procedures.
Each year, NHBC also invites entries into 3 Special award categories such as Best Occupational Health Initiative, Best Worker Engagement Programme and Best Health and Safety Leadership. The Health and Safety Executive, ConstructionSkills and Constructing Better Health provide representatives for the independent judging panel who select the overall winners in each of the site categories and the special award winners.
The NHBC Foundation was established in 2006 as a partnership between NHBC and the Building Research Establishment (BRE Trust). Its purpose is to deliver high-quality research and practical guidance reports for the construction industry on topics where there is a recognised knowledge gap.
The main areas of its work are:
Zero carbon – to help the house-building industry in its transition towards the 2016 zero carbon target
Consumer interests - research targeted towards protecting the interest of homeowners, landlords and tenants
Risk management – aiming to minimise risks arising from changes to housing construction, technology and practice.
Consumer Code for Home Builders
NHBC was a founder member of The Consumer Code for Home Builders which gives added protection and rights to the buyers of brand new homes. The aim of the Code is to ensure that new home buyers are given all the information they need about their new home before they sign contracts and treated fairly afterwards.
NHBC was originally set up as the National House Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) in the United Kingdom in 1936 with the primary purpose to increase the care and professionalism shown by house builders.
As a Registered Housebuilder under the voluntary scheme, houses were inspected during building, buyers were covered by a 2 year warranty against major defects, and against the insolvency of the builder. By 1963, 26% of all housing was built by Registered Housebuilders.
In 1964 and 1965 changes were introduced, including the extension of the warranty to 10 years. 1967 saw the upgrading of the NHBRC's standards, particularly in the provision of power outlets, kitchen design and space heating, drawing on the recommendations of the Parker Morris Committee. By the end of 1970, 92% of new homes were built by NHBRC members.
In 1973, the name changed to the National House-Building Council (NHBC) and the organisation became completely independent from government and house builders. It was approved by the Department of Trade as an insurance company.
The NHBC was criticised on a 2010 edition of the BBC consumer television programme Watchdog for failing to repair homes due to incorrect surveying of problem properties by relevant professionals, and thus failing to either compensate owners financially or fix any problems promptly, for newly built properties under their warranty.
NHBC apologised to the families featured in the Watchdog programme for any mistakes that were made during the handling of their claims. NHBC argued that the cases showed how complex construction issues can be and that expert opinions from construction professionals could differ.
They also stated that they resolve claims from around 15,000 homeowners each year on homes up to 10 years old and also help to resolve around 5,000 disputes between homeowners and their builders each year.
In 2010/11 NHBC paid claims totalling £74.4 million.
- Building Regulations
- Energy Performance Certificate
- Code for Sustainable Homes
- Energy efficiency in British housing
- Construction Industry Council
- Gas protection