Bovis billed £7m to compensate owners of poorly-built homes
In the wake of Bovis Homes having to pay £7m in repair costs, new questions have been raised regarding the standard of new-build properties.
The compensation will be paid to repair poorly built new build homes, the prevalence of which was highlighted by a Facebook group of unhappy buyers.
In a recent apology, the Bovis boss promised to complete the houses to meet the customers’ level of satisfaction. He failed to state, however, the cost of repairing each house or the number of homes which require the immediate repair work; Kent is said to be where the majority of problem homes are located.
As a result of the announcement, shares in the company have fallen 10%, with over £100 million being cut from its stock market value.
Complaints about the standard of new homes alongside the organisation setting these standards – the NHBC – have risen in recent years. Many have stated that the body have failed to provide consumers with adequate protection, despite them offering 10-year-warranties on most new build properties.
Commenting on the need to maintain the quality of supply was Oliver Colvile. The Conservative MP highlighted the need for an independent ombudsman in order for developers to be held to account.
“A lot of developments across the country are not very good, and I’m concerned about all of this,” he said. “There is a genuine need for more housing but we need to ensure they are going to be good quality housing rather than the sometimes frankly rubbish.
“Buying a house is the biggest financial investment families are going to make. It is their dream and suddenly they find out it is not fit for purpose.”
Chief Executive of the Homeowners Alliance campaign group also commented on the lack of protection for buyers and gaps in consumer awareness.
“People are going in with their eyes shut because they think they are getting the same protection as other big purchases. There needs to be a lot more consumer protection.
“[The Bovis homes] were signed off for the needs of the shareholder, not for the needs of the homeowner.”
Buyers of the affected homes have been left with problems such as a complete absence of guttering, faulty plumbing and incomplete tiling.
The problems sparked the creation of a Facebook group – the Bovis Homes Victims Group – which campaign spokesman, Marc Holden, initially thought would have no effect.
He stated: “I was quite cynical that little old me and our Facebook group trying to fight a big company would have any effect, but they actually have changed,” he said on Monday. “Well, the proof will be in the pudding. But I do believe they are genuinely trying to change.”
Bovis’ interim chief executive, Earl Sibley, stated that he had visited several of the affected homes to examine the issues as well as personally apologise. He was not able, however, to give an average cost of the repairs, nor a total amount for the most poorly built property.
He stated: “Our customer service proposition has failed to ensure that all of our customers receive the expected high standard of care.
“We are fully committed to putting our customers back at the centre of everything we do and to delivering a much-improved level of customer service.”
Due to drop in Bovis’ full-year profits – by 3% to £154.7 million – and the forecasted decline for the year ahead, the company have stated that the number of units it builds will be reduced by 10-15%.
Last year, the company stated that it built nearly 4,000 homes, but 180 properties scheduled to be completed 2016 have still not been transferred to buyers.