Government links building control to housing warranty schemes

The government is introducing a new rule linking building control by approved inspectors on new homes with designated housing warranty schemes.

The Warranty Link Rule will increase competition and choice in building control across the whole range of regulated building work, whilst providing residential owner-occupiers with appropriate safeguards.

Yvette Cooper, housing minister, says: “From today the WLR will increase customer choice for building control provision in England and Wales whilst further strengthening consumer protection for new home owners by driving up warranty standards.

Previously, approved inspectors have only been allowed to carry out building regulation checks on commercial properties or alterations to existing private dwellings. New homes have been the preserve of local authority inspectors or the national house building council where home buyers are protected by a warranty scheme.

The new arrangement will safeguard consumer protection by ensuring that a suitable new home warranty is in place before the approved inspector agrees to carry out the building control check, known as the WLR. It will also increase customer choice by allowing developers and builders to add all approved inspectors to the list of those able to provide a building control checking service for new dwellings.

Three warranty schemes have been approved by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for the purpose of the WLR, NHBC’s Buildmark, Zurich’s Standard 10, and Premier’s Guarantee for New Homes. All have met stringent conditions designed to ensure that new home owners have a no-fault means of protection in the event of a subsequent building control related defect being found.