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Building a better Buildmark

19 September 11

A preview of the new online system for the acceptance of NHBC Buildmark warranty cover, planned to launch in April 2012

by Boyd Hackett

Some readers will already have heard of a new online system for the acceptance of Buildmark warranty cover for new homes, from the Law Society of Scotland conveyancing roadshows in 2010. The system will both improve consumer protection and have real benefits for conveyancers, giving them greater control of a more efficient and streamlined process.

Why change?

Our independent research indicates that many conveyancers are not checking that homes have the benefit of cover before conclusion of missives, as required by the CML Lenders Handbook. This means that many purchases currently go ahead without conveyancers knowing whether deposits are being protected by Buildmark cover. The new system will help fortify this part of the conveyancing process and should result in fewer instances of conclusion without deposit cover, and the associated difficulties.

Readers will also be aware that many of the other essential conveyancing functions are available online, such as search reports and SDLT returns.

NHBC’s online system will put conveyancers in control and allow them to check, easily and quickly, that warranty is in place prior to concluding missives.

It will provide immediate access for conveyancers to log in during the purchase, so they can input the sales information and download necessary documentation, including the NHBC insurance certificate. They will no longer have to rely on developers sending them the documentation, or call NHBC to check that Buildmark cover is in place.

Consumers will be better protected, as conveyancers will be in control of the acceptance process. They can easily check if their clients’ deposits are covered by Buildmark warranty prior to concluding missives.

Also, if there is an issue that may prevent NHBC signing off the property at final inspection (for instance, the developer is no longer registered), NHBC will flag that immediately.

Replacing the existing paper-based process, the new system should also eliminate storage of paperwork, postal delays, and the need to issue revised acceptance documents when plot information changes (any plot amendments are completed by NHBC and will be automatically updated on the system). So the whole process will be more efficient and easy to manage.

How will it work?

We have already developed a prototype of the system – see the screen shot. While this is still a work in progress, it does demonstrate how conveyancers can access and view the policies they, and their colleagues, are working on.

What next?

The new system is currently in development, and we are working with the industry to ensure that it meets conveyancers’ needs.

We are planning to launch from April 2012 through the NHBC website. Conveyancers will be contacted before then, with further information about how they can register and start to enjoy the benefits as soon as possible. A user guide will also be available to explain how the system will work.

If you would like any more information about the new system or have any ideas or comments, please contact me on 01908 747718 or at bhackett@nhbc.co.uk

Boyd Hackett is project manager at NHBC

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