Learning from the past

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as the Spanish philosopher George Santayana once wrote.  

No one can say for sure whether he had any strong opinions on latent defects insurance, but this article offers you a chance to learn from some very recent structural warranty history.  

We assembled the most common issues from 2022 that were escalated to our Dispute Resolution Service and resulted in a developer facing the prospect of remedying defects*.  

In this blog we take a look at the issues, explore what to look for on site, and talk about the steps needed to prevent them on your sites in 2023. 

Peer review - Learn from 2022's most common defects

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.


Area Workmanship Materials
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

Subscribe to our blog for the latest news

Get the latest news from LABC Warranty and the construction structural warranty sector by subscribing to our blog.
Subscribe to receive the latest news

Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual.

Related Articles

Meet Gary Wilson, your LABC Warranty account manager in the North

Meet Gary Wilson, LABC Warranty's account manager for the North, and learn more about his career, and his thoughts on the...
Read More

LABC Warranty Technical Manual Version 12 live now

Catch up with the changes in V12 of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual. Find out why the update was needed, what's new, & how it...
Read More

LABC Warranty appoints David Swigciski as new Managing Director

LABC Warranty has appointed David Swigciski as new Managing Director.
Read More

Have your say

Tell us what you think about this article and its contents by completing the form.