Do You Need a Survey on a New Build?

In the last few years, the number of new estates has grown as new houses are built in order to deal with the housing crisis. Often we are asked why a property survey of a new build is worthwhile. After all, is a brand new build and having a chartered surveyor looking at it seems silly. What is more alarming, is the number of people who do not realize that even if you are choosing a new-build house, something to be wrong is still a high possibility.

Intuitively, when people choose to buy a new-build property, they are thinking that being brand new would mean that no work would be required for at least a couple of years. 

The roof would not leak, the gutters will be perfectly sealed, and the bathroom and kitchen are the latest design and the best workmanship was put into it. Also, all the windows and doors are perfectly fitted, and the electrics and plumbing are also up to date and in perfect working condition. 

By the end of the day, the home has an NHBC guarantee and if anything is going to be wrong, the new owners are covered. It all sounds ideal, isn’t it?

On more than one occasion, when wise homebuyers decided to instruct a chartered surveyor to conduct a snagging survey on their new build, all sorts of problems have been found.

Most likely, due to the latest press coverage, you have heard about snagging lists with more than 150 issues found on new developments and the new owner faced a £35,000 repair bill. 

Here are some potential issues that can be found when a survey on a new build has been carried over:

  • bridged damp proof courses
  • unconnected waste pipes and vents
  • unconnected drainage 
  • render badly applied 
  • poor workmanship in roofing causing water penetration
  • uneven brickwork
  • damaged plastic frames
  • loose sanitary ware
  • some terrible decorations
  • poorly fixed fences
  • badly fitted ironmongery
  • poorly fitted plumbing and electrics
We highly recommend getting a set of construction plans for your home as well as the owner’s handbook. These should offer enough details and guidance for resolving any issues you might come across after you bought your desired property. 

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Most of the new homeowners are reluctant into buying a separate homebuyer survey because they have an NHBC warranty and that should be enough. After all, if something is wrong with it, you are protected by law and everything should be fixed, right?

The NHBC warranty is a form of insurance and should compensate home buyers or fix any faults in the first 10 years. However, many disputes have arisen between buyers and NHBC. Can be quite difficult to make a claim and usually is a limited cover after 2 years.

Unfortunately, nothing is straightforward when comes to new property fixes and insurance claims. We highly recommend getting a new build survey for your new home. Having a chartered surveyor by your side can make your life easier, and save you time and money. 

Just Google for NHBC warranty problems and you will find lots of examples or just look at NHBC Trustpilot profile.

One of the main benefits of getting a new property is that it will be less likely to require the same level of maintenance as you would face with an older property. Normally, if the property has been built to standards and within the timeline, no corner should be cut off. Not just once, a developer rushed the construction of a house as their timelines and budgets have been very tight (this usually happens with the latest properties in their estate)

When you buy a new build, you should look not only at the appearances. Look for the value for your money, you want to know you are paying the right price for your desired property. The developer’s list price is an asking price after all.

Some of the disadvantages of buying a new property are that the area you are in is not yet established, some legal restrictions can be applied when comes to new ownership or modifications, and quality issues. To read more about the advantages and disadvantages of new builds, please read our guide on “New Build vs Existing Houses”

A snagging survey cost starts from £250 and, obviously is a dedicated survey for brand new properties. However, having a professional by your side into handling this for you means that they will deal directly with any issues. This will make you less nervous about your purchase and will definitely make your purchase run smoothly. 

Finding a great surveyor could not have been easier than now. All you need to do is just  fill in our free estimate form and we will provide you with a local chartered surveyor at the best price possible. 

Written by Danil P.
6th Jun 2022 (Last updated on 6th May 2023)
4 minute read
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