Calls for greater support for new build homebuyers, after Committee hears “homeowner distress”

30.10.2017

After hearing from distressed homeowners, a Holyrood Committee is today calling for more homebuyer support – particularly for new build homeowners – in the event of building defects and poor build quality.

In a wide ranging report, the Local Government and Communities Committee identified a number of improvements that could be made to building regulations and fire safety standards in Scotland.

As part of its recommendations, the Committee also called for a Clerk of Works to become a more “familiar face” on building sites across Scotland. A Clerk of Works is responsible for checking the quality of work on site and acts on behalf of the client.

Local Government and Communities Committee Convener, Bob Doris MSP, said:

“It is understandably distressing for homeowners to subsequently discover that their brand new home has serious building defects. A new home can be the purchase of a lifetime and that’s why finding any kind of significant issue can be utterly devastating.

“Our Committee heard directly from homeowners and some said that they discovered their homes did not meet the standards set out in the original building warrant, despite receiving completion certification. They then struggled to get these issues rectified.

“That’s why one of our key recommendations is to give homebuyers much more information on their rights when buying a new build home and what they can do when things go wrong after they have moved in.

“We’ve also called for a Clerk of Works to become a more familiar face on building sites across Scotland to provide an independent quality check on building compliance, especially on large-scale blocks of accommodation or public sector projects that have significant costs.”

FIRE SAFETY

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Committee took the decision to extend its building regulations inquiry to also examine fire safety standards in Scotland.

Bob Doris MSP said:

“We welcome the additional fire safety visits undertaken by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and others to inform and reassure residents.

“The Committee is supportive of unannounced inspections as part of the overall approach to national fire safety. We also believe there is a powerful case for the new inventory of high rises in Scotland to be regularly updated and for access to vital safety information to be speedily accessible.

“Our Committee will continue to monitor the progress of the Ministerial Working Group as well as providing constructive scrutiny, and our thoughts remain with the families and friends who lost their loved ones in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”

Background

The Committee will provide a further report on Building Regulations and Fire Safety in Scotland in due course.