The clamour from UK house buyers over “snags” in new homes seems likely to continue unabated even though house builders are striving to resolve what may be perceived as a quality issue. This paper aims to discuss how the requirements, and hence the quality of new homes in the UK, are defined and the role the house buyer actually plays in this process.
Within the composite quality attainment process “snagging” is defined and discussed in detail along with the resulting quality cognitive dissonance likely to be encountered by the buyer. The results of detailed quantitative analysis of data on snagging from nearly 1,700 new homes are presented.
The snagging process shows how heavily the house buying process is geared towards the builder and that within this snagging process there are areas where the builder is absorbing costs, which reduce the potential profit on each house i.e. the absorbed snagging (snags remedied as the work progresses). The visible snagging at hand‐over stage is a further depletion of profit and completely avoidable. The snags are damaging to the image of house builders, they detract from customer satisfaction and they reduce the potential profit available on each new house. The analysis provided in the paper shows that there is a direct relationship between the size of the property and the number of snags identified. Also, there are differences in the number of snags identified for each of the builders and within the company each site has variance on the number of snags discovered: the scale of snags peaks at 389 for a single property – significant in anyone's terms.
Analysing the data was not a simple task due to the structure and variation within the data. It would be ideal to identify the exact factors that affect the number of snags in newly built properties. Collecting identical data with only one differencing factor would complete this. However, as the inspections were carried out randomly on request this was not possible with the present data.
The legal rights of new homebuyers are severely limited under UK law and this research highlights the need for both an improvement in quality and for buyers to ensure that they take steps to protect what is often the largest investment of their lifetime.
The volume of research into quality of new homes in the UK is remarkably scant given the size of the extent of the industry. The size of the data set for this paper is significant and allows fresh insights to be obtained.
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