Frequently asked questions
You may have a number of questions about joining NHBC. Set out below are answers to the questions we’re asked most often.
If the information you want isn’t here, please call us on 0844 633 1000 and ask for 'Customer Services', or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Why do I need to register?
- Only builders and developers who are on the NHBC Register can sell homes with the NHBC Buildmark range of cover.
- How long does it take after I apply before I am registered?
If you’re a developer, we will usually offer registration within 10 working days from receipt of your application. This would be subject to the results of our commercial assessment and other checks carried out during the application process.
If you’re a builder, we need to carry out a technical assessment by inspecting one of your new home builds on site. Therefore, the length of the application process is dependent on the time it takes for you to construct a home to at least first fix stage for the purposes of this technical assessment.
- How soon will I be able to start work on site?
Once we have received your registration application and your Site Notification and Initial Notice (SNIN), we will appoint an NHBC building inspector and let you know their name. This inspector will carry out the technical assessment on your site as part of your application process.
You can start work on site as soon as you have notified your inspector that work is due to commence so that he/she has an opportunity to inspect the work from the outset.
You need to submit your SNIN at least 28 days prior to work commencing – and 8 weeks in advance for any sites deemed as hazardous or non-traditional.
- What happens once NHBC has received my application form, SNIN and fee?
On receipt of your application, we will send you a copy of the NHBC Technical Standards. We will then begin the assessment process.
For a developer, this means a commercial assessment will be undertaken before we can offer registration, and for a builder there would also be a technical assessment.
- What is the commercial assessment?
- We will undertake personal and/or other searches of your company before we can make a formal offer of registration. Any adverse information may have an affect on your overall application.
- What is the technical assessment?
The technical assessment consists of an assessment of work being carried out on site. You will need to put forward at least one new build home for us to inspect at key stages in the build.
This needs to be from foundation level up until we have seen sufficient work to be able to decide on your suitability for registration – usually to at least first fix stage. The assessment will look at construction standards, site management capabilities and health and safety procedures.
As part of the technical assessment, you will also be required to attend an Applicant Builder Technical Training day on the NHBC Technical Standards and the responsibilities that NHBC registration entails.
- Can I put forward more than one site for assessment?
- Although possible, this is not something we would recommend, as potentially both sites could be put at risk of not achieving cover if the assessment is not successful.
- What happens if my technical assessment is not successful?
- If the site work assessment is not successful, then your application for NHBC registration would be rejected and any plots put forward would not qualify for cover.
- Will you require security for my registration?
We do usually require a form of security. Details of this will be sent to you with your offer of registration.
Under the terms of the NHBC Buildmark cover the first two years are the responsibility of the party registering the plots. If that party is unable to meet those responsibilities, then NHBC would be required to step in.
This means that each application received may be subject to a form of security (e.g. personal indemnity, holding company indemnity, bank bond or cash deposit) in case you are unable to meet your obligations.
- What is Grouping?
Companies under the same ownership and controlled by the same directors may elect to be treated as a single entity for Premium Rating purposes. This is done by 'grouping' the companies together. Similarly, companies who are trading groups within the definitions of the Companies Act have the same choice. All members of a 'group' are placed on the same Premium Rating, which is determined by the registration date of the earliest currently registered entity. Once a 'group' is formed, individual companies cannot be taken out of it without special dispensation from NHBC. Newly acquired companies may be added to a 'group' and will take the 'group' Premium Rating.
- What is Premium Rating?
NHBC's Premium Rating scheme works on the same principle as your no claims bonus for car insurance. Just as good drivers benefit from discount, good builders and developers pay reduced home-registration fees.
Your premium rating is based on your claims record and the amount of time you have been on the NHBC Register. We use this rating to calculate how much you should pay to register homes. The scheme aims to encourage quality in the industry as builders with a poor claims record inevitably pay higher premiums. This should motivate builders to improve their standards.
Newly registered builders pay a standard rate, while registered builders who have kept up high standards over many years, benefit from a discounted rate because NHBC values good building practices.
- How do I register my plots for warranty?
During the course of your application for registration, we will send you a Product Plot Schedule form. This form lists which plots on your site you would like to register for Buildmark cover. You will need to complete and return it to us to generate your quotation.
We cannot issue a quotation unless all parties (Builder and Developer if separate) involved on a site are NHBC registered.
Once you accept the quotation and pay the Buildmark fee, we will send your warranty plot activation codes.
- What are my responsibilities once registered?
Once registered, you will have certain obligations which are set out in the NHBC Rules of registration. These form the basis of the contract between you and NHBC.
The Rules govern the behaviour and obligations of both parties; in particular they give NHBC the right to expel any builder or developer from the register not only for poor workmanship, but also for failure to remedy defects and other significant breaches of the NHBC Rules. The names of expelled builders and developers, along with the reasons for expulsion, may be publicised.
- What happens if my first proposed site with you is a conversion?
- A conversion is defined as a dwelling reliant on any existing structure. For new applicant builders, a conversion is not usually acceptable for your technical assessment. Please call 0844 633 1000 and ask for 'Customer Services' to discuss this before submitting your application for registration.