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What are the Warranties to Your New Home Build in the UK

Bedford Bedfordshire MK40 new home builders

When building or purchasing a newly constructed home in the UK, having adequate warranties in place is crucial for protecting your investment. Warranties provide homeowners with a safety net against defects, poor workmanship, and failing appliances or fixtures in the early years of home ownership. With substantial sums at stake, understanding precisely what is and isn’t covered can give vital peace of mind.

With no standard national warranty schemes in operation, warranties are usually provided by the home builder directly or arranged via third parties. This means researching reputable providers and comparing the limitations and exclusions in different policies is essential. Homeowners who fail to obtain warranties or neglect to adhere to the associated terms and conditions risk expensive repair bills down the line.

This guide takes an in-depth look at the key types of warranties available for new builds, including structural, workmanship and appliance cover. We explore the homeowner and builder responsibilities in securing warranties, where third-party warranty providers can assist, along with inside knowledge on common pitfalls to avoid.

Types of Warranties

Structural Warranty

A structural warranty is intended to cover any major defects impacting the property’s critical load-bearing elements. This includes issues with the home’s foundations, walls, roof, floors, and stairs.

Typical durations for structural warranties range from 10 to 12 years. The exact timeframe and extent of the defects covered can vary between providers. Homeowners should study policy documents closely to understand what is and isn’t included.

Having this type of protection is invaluable if significant structural problems emerge requiring extensive repairs or even a total rebuild. Without sufficient structural warranty coverage, such scenarios could cost owners hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Widely used structural warranty providers in the UK include the National House Building Council (NHBC) Buildmark scheme and Premier Guarantee. For builders in Bedford, we offer reliable services and can assist you in obtaining the right structural warranty for your project. Contact us today for a free quote and ensure peace of mind with our expert construction services.

Workmanship Warranty

A workmanship or defects warranty covers faults stemming from substandard workmanship during the build process. This may relate to aspects such as the quality of finish for floors, walls, kitchen fittings, tiling, plumbing, electrics, plastering, painting and decorating.

Workmanship warranties tend to last around 2 years from the date of legal completion. The duration and extent of cover can vary significantly, with more comprehensive ‘insured’ options available for an additional premium. Homeowners should assess if the ordinary warranty provided by the builder will suffice or if enhanced protection merits the extra investment.

Typical defects covered include cracks appearing prematurely in walls and ceilings, peeling paint or wallpaper, cracked or uneven tiles, leaks from poor plumbing installations, and electrical wiring faults.

The key difference between this and a structural warranty is that it covers relatively minor installation flaws rather than fundamental building integrity issues. The two policies complement each other.

Appliances and Fixtures Warranty

Purchasing a newly built home includes having brand new white goods, kitchen and bathroom suites, boilers, and potentially smart home gadgets installed. As appealing as this may seem, it’s vital to understand precisely what warranties and guarantees apply.

With appliances, the duration and extent of coverage can vary tremendously between manufacturers and specific models. Budget brands may offer just a 12-month warranty, while leading names provide up to 5 years assurance against breakdowns. Homeowners should check documents to clarify responsibilities for organising repairs, Call-out charges, and replacement parts costs.

For fitted kitchen and bathroom items like cabinet doors, sinks, taps and sealant around showers, coverage may fall under the workmanship warranty previously outlined. Checking the limitations around natural wear and tear over time is wise.

Getting appliance and fixture warranties clearly defined from the outset helps avoid nasty surprises later on. They complement wider structural and workmanship policies.

How to Obtain a Warranty

Builder’s Responsibilities

In the UK, reputable developers and housing construction firms will have standard procedures for providing warranties to homeowners buying new build properties. This will normally involve either offering cover directly or arranging this through a third-party.

Builders are expected to follow National House Building Council guidelines requiring all new homes to have a minimum 2-year workmanship warranty and 10-year structural warranty in place from completion. Any builder unwilling or unable to fulfil this obligation should ring alarm bells for potential buyers.

Checking builders are registered with trading standards bodies adds further assurances. Homeowners maintaining warranties depends partly on adhering to the builder’s usage guidance for operating appliances, managing waste water, and general upkeep. Neglecting such stipulations can invalidate policies.

Third-Party Warranty Providers

Home buyers seeking enhanced peace of mind can secure more extensive warranties from specialist third party providers. Using insurance-backed policies offered by established names like Premier Guarantee, FMB Insurance, and Advantage Build Assure may involve paying a small premium but delivers invaluable protection.

Key benefits include long policy durations, generous claim limits, and allowances for selling the property without invalidating ongoing structural cover. However, assessing different providers’ qualifications criteria and analysing policy fine print remains vital. Excessive exclusions for common issues like damp could prove problematic. Weighing up premiums against value delivered is also essential.

Leading third parties like Premier Guarantee partner with reputable housing developers nationwide. This route streamlines obtaining robust cover without relying solely on the builder’s limited and non-insured versions.

When reviewing providers, check contract lengths, claim submission processes, transfer and selling caveats, maintenance obligations, and crucially what areas get excluded. Then choose the one matching your risk tolerance and budget.

Common Warranty Pitfalls


A common assumption among new build home buyers is that warranties provide infinitely comprehensive protection for years after moving in. Unfortunately, the reality can prove rather different.

Even lengthy structural policies have limits on claim values. Exclusions also frequently apply for common annoyances like cracks due to normal drying and shrinkage. Homeowners expecting every minor defect to get fixed for free under warranty usually get disappointed.

Reading the detailed policy documentation rather than general marketing materials is essential. Seeking clarity from builders or warranty providers on ambiguities in cover also helps mitigate nasty surprises later on. Assuming you have more protection than is the case causes significant stress.


New build warranties invariably exclude certain defects from coverage through exclusion clauses. Typical examples include:

  • Minor cracking due to standard drying/shrinkage
  • Damage from extreme weather events
  • Wear and tear from normal usage
  • Neglecting maintenance stipulated in documents
  • Alteration work by new owners

Homeowners frustrated to discover remedial work on what seem like straightforward flaws falling outside warranty scope is commonplace. Negotiating to get certain exclusions minimized or removed requires proactively before exchange of contracts, not after.

Once warranties are signed, understand what gets excluded. Then either budget for eventual repairs yourself or pay extra insurance premiums to get cover. Avoid assuming major structural issues would always be included. Check first.

Maintenance Responsibilities

Warranty small print invariably specifies requirements for homeowners maintaining properties to prescribed standards. This relates to aspects like operating appliances properly, keeping guttering clear, managing drainage systems, and maintaining ventilation.

Neglecting stipulated maintenance frequently invalidates affected warranty sections when you later want to claim. That “minor” issue you put up with for years after moving in could come back to bite you.

Staying on top of maintenance activities outlined in paperwork may seem tedious but proves worthwhile. It demonstrates duty of care if warranty disputes do arise further down the line with builders or providers.

Get clarity on timeframes for retaining paperwork proving completion of maintenance too. Missing crucial documentation could damage your customer protection rights.

FAQ Section

What is the typical duration of a structural warranty?

The industry standard structural warranty duration provided on new build homes in the UK is 10 years. Some leading third-party warranty providers offer extended 12-year alternatives for an additional fee. Check policy documents closely for commencement and expiry terms which vary between insurers.

Can I transfer the warranty to a new owner if I sell the house?

Most structural warranties on new builds are transferable to future owners for the remaining duration when homes get sold on. This reassures buyers about investing in new build homes. However, submitting notification forms and a small admin fee to the warranty provider is commonly required. Avoid assuming transfers happen automatically. Check procedures well in advance of completion.

Are there government-backed warranties available?

Unlike some international markets, the UK doesn’t currently offer national government-backed new home warranties or subsidence protection schemes. Insurance-backed structural and appliances cover from reputable private providers are the only options. The NHBC’s Buildmark product does partner with many volume house builders. But this still leaves some risks with homeowners.

What happens if the builder goes out of business?

If the original building firm folds, workmanship warranties they provided typically cease. But structural protection or policies sourced separately through third parties remain valid regardless. This emphasises the benefits of thorough due diligence before a purchase. Checking builders’ credit ratings, company histories and using specialist warranty providers adds a safety net.

Can I purchase additional coverage for specific items?

Several third-party structural warranty providers offer optional bolt-on policies to broaden protection on key items. For instance, Premier Guarantee offers enhanced cover for ceilings prone to cracking and removable kitchen appliances. Broker sites like HomeOwners Alliance also partner with insurers providing flexible extended warranties. Assessing your risk appetite and likely usage can indicate where extra cover merits the premiums.

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