NHBC (National House-Building Council) is the leading warranty and insurance provider and standards setter for UK house-building for new and newly converted homes. As a non-profit distributing company, it reinvests all income in achieving its primary purpose; improving quality in housebuilding to protect homeowners.
NHBC marks its 75th anniversary in 2011, celebrating three quarters of a century of raising standards in UK house-building to protect homeowners.
Genesis of NHBC
NHBC started as the National House-Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) in 1936, created to tackle sub-standard building practices following government slum clearances. It was an important voluntary venture into self-regulation and consumer protection by the industry.
An inter-war housing boom was marred by builders who, through technical incompetence or financial pressure, skimped in the building process. Countering a drop in confidence in the industry, NHBRC aimed to increase the professionalism and care shown by housebuilders, therefore improving the finished product.
Its motto, "Cavendo tutus" - 'be safe by taking care' - laid down the values NHBC lives by today.
Evolution, innovation, emulation
NHBRC achieved its aims by establishing an approved housebuilder register, by inspecting and certifying new houses as fit for purpose, and by influencing legislation. This was underpinned by the first standard construction specification for new homes; the forerunner of the NHBC Standards which protect homeowners today.
NHBRC's registration process included an innovative warranty for buyers of certified houses that defects arising from non-compliance with specifications during a two year period from date of purchase would be fixed by the builder, with NHBRC arbitrating in disputes. In 1965, this evolved into today's ten-year Buildmark warranty.
NHBRC was renamed as NHBC in 1973, having become financially and governmentally independent. The NHBC model is a demonstrable success, copied around the world in countries such as China, South Africa, Holland, Australia, Canada and the USA.
NHBC through the decades
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Three quarters of a century of experience allows NHBC to shape UK housebuilding. By setting standards and inspecting new homes, and by providing industry feedback and training, NHBC drives continual improvement.
NHBC Buildmark warranties now cover over 80 percent of new UK houses; 1.7 million homes are protected currently. Nearly seven million homes have benefited so far, representing over 30 percent of the UK housing stock, giving homeowners assurance and redress on occasions when things go wrong.