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NHBC put under pressure by MP on shoddy affordable housing builds

  • 07/02/2017
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MP Rushanara Ali heavily criticised the quality standards of affordable housing builds and asked why government was left with high maintenance costs after completion, during a House of Commons Committee yesterday.

NHBC spokesperson Lewis Sidwick came under heavy fire from the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow who cited a development by Redrow at 1 Commercial St in Aldgate East with ‘poor doors’ for affordable tenants, despicable marketing and ‘varying quality of provision’.

Ali said the issue is how to control the practices of some cowboy builders and ensure quality across the board.

She added: “We are blocking planning permission and see these kinds of concerns from other MP colleagues. There is a rising tide of that kind of behaviour [from developers], which is not being addressed by government or the regulator.”

The NHBC’s Sidwick, who was standing in for a senior colleague, questioned whether this was an NHBC build and said: “I can’t refer to specific cases but quality is at the heart of everything we do.”

He added: “If something is wrong, we are there to support the warranty and help the homeowner.”

Ali told him she wasn’t satisfied with his answer and would need a written, detailed explanation on why Local Housing Associations continued to pick up the tab for shoddy building work and warranties were not being addressed and implemented.

She said: “Once developers have made their profits and walked, LHAs are dealing with the structural problems left behind. Local people who are buying in good faith have no choice but to chase their MPs.

Samantha Fernley, a spokesperson from the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme, said this was a failure of the whole housing industry and that quality assurance needed government intervention.

Meanwhile, Council of Mortgage Lender director general, Paul Smee, also sitting on the Committee said offsite build could play a part in helping the UK achieve higher building targets.

Smee said the CML would be encouraging lenders to share their experiences of lending on offsite building. Speaking at a conference in London last week, Smee said he was encouraging all parties involved in the build and sale of offsite homes; warranty providers, developers and mortgage lenders to talk to each other to get a better understanding of the new industry.

Smee expects new construction methods and property types to be featured in the government’s Housing White paper, expected to be published later today.

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