The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Excellence in the Built Environment has today published proposals for a New Homes Ombudsman. The CIOB submitted evidence on behalf of members to the APPG earlier this year, in which we supported the creation of a new body to provide a voice for consumers and improve the reputation of the construction industry. We also outlined some key points for the APPG to consider in order to make the new body fit for purpose and responsive to the needs of consumers; we outlined requirements for an ombudsman to be independent, to be able to set timescales for housebuilders to deal with property defects and to direct housebuilders or developers to take remedial action – correcting previous remedial work, if necessary.
The proposals published by the APPG today cover those points and many others, with 11 recommendations in total.
“The CIOB welcomes the publication of these proposals. Our support for the idea of an ombudsman and our suggestions for how it could work are largely reflected in the APPG’s proposals. It’s also a reflection of our values in putting the public at the heart of our service and supporting others within the industry to do so. A New Homes Ombudsman will lead to improvements in the quality of any new homes built; whilst prompt and effective rectification is essential after sale, what is more important is that housebuilders adopt a “get it right first time” attitude. We all win. Buyers get good quality houses and the industry gets the capacity to build more,” said Chris Blythe OBE, Chief Executive of the CIOB.
He added: “This could also be a significant and meaningful step change in helping to improve the overall culture of the construction industry, in seeking to drive standards up and maintain a culture of quality and professionalism.”
The CIOB have also been taking other opportunities to make the case for more support for consumers from the industry and government, which sit alongside the APPG’s efforts to make the case for an ombudsman. We have also responded to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s (MHCLG) consultation on strengthening consumer redress in housing. We are hopeful that the direction of travel, with this approach which addresses all the current redress systems for consumers, is one which will lead to and support those wanting to deliver the highest industry standards and an overall culture of quality.
The APPG’s full report, Better redress for homebuyers, can be accessed below.