About the Dispute Resolution Service
The Dispute Resolution Service is how LABC Warranty settles claims between residents and developers when a new house is found to have a defect in the first few years after its completion.
In truth, only a handful of sites every year end up needing a dispute resolved – the overwhelming majority of homes built on sites covered by LABC Warranty are occupied by satisfied owners that never need to make a claim.
All the same, it’s worth having a look at where it most commonly goes wrong for builders that do need to remedy a claim for a home buyer.
The big problems areas at a glance
The issues leading to claims tended to be around workmanship and materials. In particular, how building elements are finished, and whether they function as intended. This is in contrast to defects that lead to issues like water ingress.
While one might assume larger, more complex buildings are more likely to experience defects, our data shows the opposite – the trend is for more claims to be levelled against low-rise, low-complexity homes.
The six most common areas for defects to emerge were:
- Windows and doors (27% of the six most common areas).
- Tolerances (23%).
- External masonry walls (20%).
- Second and third fixes (12%).
- Traditional slate and tile roof coverings (10%).
- Above ground drainage (8%).
We explore how these problem areas manifest, and what to look for, in the table below.
|Windows and doors||
- Alignment (true and square), functionality, and sealing of units.
- Windows not able to open and close correctly, and compression gaskets not sealed.
- Complaints over draught, heat loss, and rattling of units.
|- Damaged glazing and faulty mechanisms within timber, UPVC, composite, and aluminium units, including bi-fold units.|
- Issues mostly relate to masonry, doors and windows, internal walls and ceilings, and finishes fitted with furniture.
|External masonry and walls||
- A variety of issues, ranging from unfilled perp/bed joints to insufficient drip projects, to parapet copings.
- Most noticeable is lack of covered-over weep holes and vents to flashing, lintels, and damp-proof course levels.
|- Repeated issues with cracking where traditional masonry materials meet reconstituted stone-feature corbels or lintels.|
|Second and third fixes||- More than half of complains on this topic relate to bathrooms. In particular, ceramic tiling, failing grout, and poor workmanship with lipping and excessive gaps.|
|Traditional slate and tile roof coverings||
- Poor installation of industry-standard materials such as ridge/verge tiles and systems, including missing tiles and poor alignment.
- In addition, torn/damaged breather membranes, often in combination with other defect areas.
|Above-ground drainage||- Mostly relating to rainwater goods being incomplete, not laid to correct falls, incorrectly joined, or not laid to the full length of the roofs.|
What you can do now
This information should equip you with a better understanding of areas on a site that merit extra attention.
Understanding and adhering to the guidance in the LABC Warranty Technical Manual is the most effective measure you can take to ensure those areas are built to the appropriate standards and specifications to prevent defects emerging.
The Manual is assembled through decades of hard-worn experience from the site and warranty side of our business, and is a treasured resource for builders, architects, site managers, and more.
LABC Warranty’s Risk Management Surveyors have received reports on disputes and claims from 2022, and they will enthusiastic to help your teams ensure the guidance in the Technical Manual is met on your current and upcoming sites.
You can download digital copies of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual free of charge here, and physical copies are made available when placing an order with us.
Concerns about your sites?
If you have any concerns about sites covered by LABC Warranty, don’t hesitate to contact your Risk Management Surveyor. They would be happy to address any concerns about your build and make sure any work adheres to the standards laid out in the Technical Manual.
For any other questions about LABC Warranty, you’re welcome to contact your account manager.
* Note: A defect is defined as: A failure to comply with a Functional Requirements within the Technical Manual in respect of the construction of the home