The Snagging List

You’d like to expect a new build home to be in perfect condition when you move in, but new doesn’t always mean flawless.

It is the responsibility of the building company to check and rectify any defects in the property before the sale completes and the keys are handed over to you, but it’s unlikely they will pick up on everything. Your new build home should have passed building regulations inspections and come with a structural warranty from an approved insurance policy provider.

Any defects discovered are known as ‘snags’.

If you spot any snags in your home, it is your responsibility to itemise and report them to the building company. There are professional snagging companies that can do this for you but be aware that this is a paid-for service.

What qualifies as a snag?

A snag is usually something that is damaged or broken; not fitted properly or looks unfinished, for example, loose skirting boards, leaking taps etc

Most snags are cosmetic – however larger snags can arise once you’re living in the property, such as major cracks on the walls.

What should I be looking for?

Look for surface defects that usually occur on woodwork, paintwork, glazing and tiling. Check the surfaces for chips and scratches and look for any paint splashes or cracks on the walls and ceilings. Use a spirit level to check whether surfaces are level.

See if things are fitted properly and in good working order. For example, check the taps don’t leak and hot running water comes through quickly and with adequate pressure.

When should you make the snagging list?

When the property is completely finished and ready for you to move in, and before exchanging contracts with the building company, is the ideal opportunity to make your snagging list. It also makes it easier for repairs to be made while the property is still empty.

However, the builders could refuse access to the property to which they are legally entitled before completion.

But then if you don’t create your snagging list until after you have moved in, the building company could argue that any damage noted was caused by you.

You have two years from your completion date to report any snags to the building company, which they are legally obliged to fix as part of your property’s warranty, which is usually ten years long.

Should I use a snagging service?

It’s more likely that a professional snagging service provider will spot more defects. And as part of their service, they can liaise directly with the building company meaning you don’t need to get involved. They can also return to check the repair work has been done to a suitable standard. It certainly does give peace of mind and although a cost is attached to this service, it could save time and money in the longer run.

What if the builders refuse to carry out the repairs?

The building company are responsible for correcting any snags caused by their failure to build in accordance with the standards as set out by their warranty and insurance provider.

However, guidelines can be subjective, which is where it can become awkward. You might consider something to be at fault, but the builder may argue it is not, so you may need to negotiate and agree on a solution that suits both parties.

Try to keep things amicable with the builders, as it will make the whole process a lot less stressful. And if all else fails, your warranty provider will be able to offer a resolution service free of charge.

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