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A new type of organisation is coming to customers’ rescue...

About 8 years ago our work in the new housebuilding sector identified a key tension between builders and their buyers – snagging.

When we buy something NEW, especially something that we have paid a lot of money for, we expect it to be PERFECT. Imagine a new car... it will have that wonderful new car smell. And most importantly we take the keys, confident that we will not have any issues for a number of years. This is especially true and important for ‘new build’ house buyers because they often buy a ‘new build’ house as they need to control costs (think first time buyer) and/or don’t want to or can’t do DIY (think of your granny).

We recently met James* for whom the process of rectifying defects on his new build home has been emotional and exhausting. Despite issues with insulation, heating, and his garden, his developer kept telling him there was nothing wrong. Getting close to despair, James turned to an independent snagging company for support: “The snagging company found 173 defects. Finally, I feel like what I was experiencing is real! But it shouldn’t have to come to this. It’s been a tough time and has put me off buying a new build in the future.”

The housebuilding industry has been slow to address how to manage snagging because housebuilders often measure profit before snagging, meaning the cost of remediation is rarely taken into account early enough.

However, there are significant financial (and reputational) costs to snagging:

1. The faster a buyer feels happy with their home, the faster they will take responsibility for it.

2. Snagging is expensive for a builder to fix especially once they have left the site. A task that would take moments to fix in the building process can take days.

3. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, snagging lists and how they are handled damage builders’ brand reputations. Imagine how many conversations a new homeowner has with family and friends about how they’re settling into their new home.

To borrow from Richard Branson ‘innovation flourishes best when you look to solve a problem’. By not proactively solving the management of snagging in a way that meets customers’ needs, a gap for independent adjudication has opened in the market and a new industry has emerged to meet it: New Build Snagging.

Perhaps the new arrivals on the scene will be a catalyst. Certainly, the new build housing market needs to wake up and realise that addressing snagging is critical if they want to meet the needs of ‘new build’ buyers, build their brand reputation and support their long-term commercial success.

*Customer name changed for confidentiality


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