BRANZ survey finds most people are happy with new homes but builders need to be better at following up to fix problems after the house is completed

Short headline: 
BRANZ says builders need to do better when fixing defects in new homes

Christchurch people are likely to be less satisfied with their house builders than people in other parts of the country, according to the latest BRANZ New House Owners' Satisfaction Survey.

The survey of 650 people from throughout the country who had a new house built for them last year, found that 88% were satisfied with the overall quality of their new home but nearly as many said they had to get tradespeople back to the house to fix defects after they had taken possession.

The key findings of the survey were:

  • 88% of respondents were satisfied with the overall quality of their homes. 
  • 17.3% of respondents had disputes with their builder over the final cost – up 2.2 percentage points from last year. Price conscious new home owners were the most likely to have disputes over costs.
  • 87.5% of owners had to call back tradespeople to fix defects, up about 15% on the previous survey. The most common problems were with plumbing and electrical work.  
  • There was a high proportion of bespoke or modified house plans – partly a result of owner preferences and partly dictated by the shape or slope of sections. That is preventing builders from achieving economies of scale by using prefabricated construction techniques.
  • People who had built new homes before, rated their builders more highly on all measures in the survey than  those who were having a home built for the first time, suggesting that the industry is not adequately informing new clients of what to expect during the building process.
  • New home owners expected better follow up from their builders after they had taken possession.
  • Builders in Canterbury rated more poorly than those in other parts of the country, particularly around their performance in relation to fixing defects that became apparent after the house was completed.
  • Smaller building companies generally rated more highly for customer satisfaction than larger ones.
  • Builders' workloads were up about 15% overall on the previous year.

BRANZ said the lower buyer satisfaction levels in Christchurch were likely a reflection of the greater workloads there.

"Christchurch represents 20% of housing construction underway in New Zealand and workload pressures are clearly challenging the delivery of good building performance.

"The survey signals that better follow up by builders is needed for homeowners after handover, and to improve communication over call backs and repair of defects," BRANZ said in a statement accompanying the survey's findings.

To read the full 28 page BRANZ report on the survey, click on this link.


Our free Property email newsletter brings you all the stories about residential and commercial property and the forces that move these huge markets. Sign up here.

To subscribe to our Property newsletter, enter your email address here. It's free.