Coronavirus final

COVID-19

We're adapting to the challenges of
COVID-19 to maintain our service to you.

Find out more below

LAST UPDATED: 9th April 2020

In light of the uncertainty faced around COVID-19, NHBC wants to keep you informed of the action being taken to ensure we can provide you with the support that you need. Our cross-disciplinary taskforce is continually reviewing the COVID-19 situation and has prepared these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) which will be continually updated as events change. Contact details for colleagues who can support you with further information can be found here.

Use the buttons below to see the right FAQs for you:

General

For Builders and Developers For housing associations

For homeowners For conveyancers For suppliers

General FAQs

Is NHBC deploying Furlough?

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We have confirmed to our team that we are deploying the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and some staff will be furloughed effective from Tuesday 14 April. This includes almost our whole Building Inspectorate, but not our Inspection Managers, Regional Directors or the majority of our Technical teams. These steps are necessary to help protect the long-term interests of NHBC, and are for the benefit of customers, homeowners, employees and other stakeholders. The Government scheme is there to support companies through this challenging period; it would have been irresponsible not to access it.

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Have you closed your offices?

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Following Government guidance, we have closed all of our offices including London, Milton Keynes, Belfast and Edinburgh. Rest assured we are well equipped for homeworking and we do not anticipate any disruption to the service we provide.

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Will you still be receiving and sending post?

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We are working through how our mailing services will operate in light of the latest Government guidelines and the closure of our offices. We've stopped posting letters to those homeowners with a claim who have an email address that we can send correspondence to. If you have provided us with an email address, we will send correspondence to that email. If we do not already have an email address for you, we will contact you by phone to obtain details. If you do not have an email address, we will send letters out to you by post.

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What precautions is NHBC taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus?

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We are monitoring Public Health England guidelines about prevention and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and ensuring our team members are kept fully informed about the latest guidance and rules. The wellbeing and safety of our team members, customers and business partners remains of the utmost priority.

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What is NHBC doing to support its team members?

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NHBC is regularly communicating with our team members and supporting them through this challenging time. We are particularly mindful of the needs of vulnerable team members and those who are carers and parents. Our Employee Assistance Helpline and Mental Health First Aiders are available to team members as required.

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What can we do to help?

Call 0344 633 1000 and ask for 'Customer Services' or send us an email.

FAQs for Builders and Developers

What is the latest on NHBC’s Operating Position?

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We remain operational and able to support any residual on-site demand. Although virtually the whole of NHBC is working from home, we continue to maintain service levels across Technical Operations, Customer Services and Claims (with some adjustment to working practices – e.g. desktop and technology assisted claims assessments where we are able to do that).

We are ready to support customers when they remobilise, with local and technical engagement between our teams being central to effective forward planning and to what is likely to be some form of staged approach to re-opening.

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How do I access support with remobilisation?

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Our teams are ready to work actively with you on remobilisation plans, supporting you with your forward planning. We would ask for as much early engagement as possible – locally and through respective technical teams - to ensure NHBC resource is in place when you require it.

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Will I still be able to get cover notes?

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Yes, please contact Customer Services on 0344 633 1000 or by email at cssupport@nhbc.co.uk.

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How do I get in contact with my Engineer, Project Manager or Surveyor if they are now working from home?

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Our team members who work from home have full access to all of their office systems including email and phones. You can therefore contact them via your usual method.

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Will NHBC be able to provide CML certificates as normal?

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Yes, please contact Customer Services on 0344 633 1000 or by email at cssupport@nhbc.co.uk.

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Will NHBC be able to provide Building Control final certificates as normal?

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Yes, please contact Customer Services on 0344 633 1000 or by email at cssupport@nhbc.co.uk.

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Will NHBC be able to provide EPC certificates as normal?

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Yes, please contact Technical Support by email at Energyrating@nhbc.co.uk.

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What is happening with Claims inspections and remedial work?

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Our Claims teams and Investigators are still actively working but there are be a number of changes to how they operate. NHBC will replace physical visits with desktop investigations including requests for photographs, video or FaceTime in order to assess claims. Where physical visits are required at some stage, we will schedule these in once further information from Government about the extent of a continued lockdown is forthcoming.

Builders and Homeowners will continue to be updated on our findings but reports will be issued only via email.

Remedial work in progress by our contractors will, subject to agreement by the homeowner, be completed insofar as is possible by the end of this week. Thereafter works will stop until Government guidance tells us that it is acceptable to do re-commence. Work in progress will be left as secure and watertight as possible.

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What’s the latest on NHBC Customer Services, Technical Operations and Claims?

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A number of our teams continue to operate as close as possible to business-as-usual including: Customer Services for registrations and Road & Sewer Bonds; Technical Operations for technical submissions; and Claims on resolution cases and warranty claims, with limitations around home visits.

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What is happening with site visits?

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Where builders have chosen to keep sites open, NHBC will continue to carry out Key Stage Inspections, until we have Government guidance that requires us to operate differently. Any NHBC visit to site must adhere to strict hygiene and social distancing protocols. If our staff feel that the protocols cannot be maintained, we have instructed them to leave immediately. The health and wellbeing of our staff, customers and business partners remains our top priority and we are keeping this advice under constant review should circumstances change.

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What’s the latest on NHBC Technical and On-Site Support?

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NHBC will continue to provide support to your technical teams with our technical staff having the ability to work remotely. On-site inspections will continue where we are satisfied that we can work to Public Health England guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. This will continue to be the case unless Government advice dictates otherwise.

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Who can support me with forward planning?

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Our Regional Directors will be contacting Regional teams/Construction Directors to understand your local issues and priorities, and to talk about forward planning. This will build on conversations that are already happening. The more we can share information and do some meaningful contingency planning, the better prepared we will be to respond appropriately as the coronavirus situation develops.

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Will you continue to operate the National New Homes Surveys (CSS)?

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We continue to operate both the 8 week and 9 month surveys, and even though our Milton Keynes office has closed, we are currently still dispatching and receiving surveys and reminders by post. There may be a delay in processing the postal elements of the surveys, but they are still running. We will advise if the position changes.

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Should I still submit information via the NHBC Portal if my usual contact is working from home?

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Yes, submitting information via the NHBC Portal ensures it goes directly to the person responsible for the project. It also enables colleagues to access the information should your usual contact fall ill or be unable to work for whatever reason.

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Can I still register sites with NHBC?

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Yes, our business continuity plans are in place and we are maintaining normal service levels.

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Can NHBC arrange an extension for people in the first 2 years of their new home warranty to avoid contractors coming into homes now and take the pressure off homeowners wanting to get things done before the end of the deadline?

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While homeowners must notify their builder of a claim within the first two years of cover (the builder liability period), the works do not need to have been carried out within this time. If remedial works are delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, policy holders who have made claims within the builder liability period will not be penalised.

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How can I get the training I need during this period?

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NHBC is considering alternative solutions to provide virtual training during times when social distancing measures are in force including our new .series of free daily webinars.

The webinars, lasting from 30 mins up to 2 hours, will provide information on a wide range of topics such as NHBC Standards, Building Regulations, on-site good practice and health and safety.

To book your place, visit www.nhbc.co.uk/webinars.

For specific training requests, please contact training@nhbc.co.uk.

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What is happening about NVQs?

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Our team is still working to assess and support our NVQ candidates during this lockdown period. The team is working from home but using our remote working processes to keep up with assessment submissions and new candidate inductions.

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What is happening with Building for tomorrow?

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We have taken the decision to cancel our Building for tomorrow programme. If any members of your team have booked a place at one of our upcoming events, they will receive more detailed information directly. Full refunds will be given to all of those who require them. Please contact events@nhbc.co.uk should you have any queries.

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What is happening with the Health & Safety Awards?

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Regrettably, the 2020 Health & Safety Awards which were due on 3 July are being cancelled. We acknowledge that this will cause disappointment to the entrants who have worked hard to earn much-deserved recognition for their commitment to high standards but hope they can appreciate why it is necessary.

We have considered ways in which we might be able to continue with this year’s Awards but unfortunately this has not proved possible. Establishing Health & Safety award winners would have required c.80 verification visits nationwide; these are in-depth and interactive and are simply not tenable under the present restrictions.

Our Health & Safety Services team will be contacting each entrant to advise them of this news and set out next steps, including how to obtain a full refund. The Health & Safety Awards 2021 are expected to proceed as planned, with detailed arrangements to be shared later this year.

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What is happening with Pride in the Job?

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We will be continuing with the first stage of this year’s Pride in the Job competition - the announcement of the Quality Awards. We felt it important to recognise the hard work put in by site managers across the country. COVID-19 restrictions mean that there will be alterations to the final stages of the judging, however it will remain a thorough and robust process, focused on ensuring fair outcomes. Fuller details will be shared with our customers via email.

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FAQs for Housing Associations

How do I get in contact with my Engineer, Project Manager or Surveyor if they are now working from home?

See answer

Our team members who work from home have full access to all of their office systems including email and phones. You can therefore contact them via your usual method.

See answer

How do I access support with re-mobilisation?

See answer

Our teams are ready to work actively with you on remobilisation plans, supporting you with your forward planning. We would ask for as much early engagement as possible – locally and through respective technical teams - to ensure NHBC resource is in place when you require it.

See answer

What’s the latest on NHBC Customer Services, Technical Operations and Claims?

See answer

A number of our teams continue to operate as close as possible to business-as-usual including: Customer Services for registrations and Road & Sewer Bonds; Technical Operations for technical submissions; and Claims on resolution cases and warranty claims, with limitations around home visits.

See answer

Will NHBC be able to provide CML certificates as normal?

See answer

Yes, please contact Customer Services on 0344 633 1000 or by email at cssupport@nhbc.co.uk.

See answer

Will NHBC be able to provide Building Control final certificates as normal?

See answer

Yes, please contact Customer Services on 0344 633 1000 or by email at cssupport@nhbc.co.uk.

See answer

Should I still submit information via the NHBC Portal if my usual contact is working from home?

See answer

Yes, submitting information via the NHBC Portal ensures it goes directly to the person responsible for the project. It also enables colleagues to access the information should your usual contact fall ill or be unable to work for whatever reason.

See answer

How can I get the training I need during this period?

See answer

NHBC is considering alternative solutions to provide virtual training during times when social distancing measures are in force including our new series of free daily webinars.

The webinars, lasting from 30 mins up to 2 hours, will provide information on a wide range of topics such as NHBC Standards, Building Regulations, on-site good practice and health and safety.

To book your place, visit www.nhbc.co.uk/webinars.

For specific training requests, please contact training@nhbc.co.uk.

See answer

What is happening with Claims inspections and remedial work?

See answer

Our Claims teams and Investigators are still actively working but there are be a number of changes to how they operate. NHBC will replace physical visits with desktop investigations including requests for photographs, video or FaceTime in order to assess claims. Where physical visits are required at some stage, we will schedule these in once further information from Government about the extent of a continued lockdown is forthcoming.

Builders, Developers and Homeowners will continue to be updated on our findings but reports will be issued only via email.

Remedial work in progress by our contractors will, subject to agreement by the homeowner, be completed insofar as is possible by the end of this week. Thereafter works will stop until Government guidance tells us that it is acceptable to do re-commence. Work in progress will be left as secure and watertight as possible.

See answer

Can NHBC arrange an extension for people in the first 2 years of their new home warranty to avoid contractors coming into homes now and take the pressure off homeowners wanting to get things done before the end of the deadline?

See answer

While homeowners must notify their builder of a claim within the first two years of cover (the builder liability period), the works do not need to have been carried out within this time. If remedial works are delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, policy holders who have made claims within the builder liability period will not be penalised.

See answer

FAQs for Homeowners

What is happening with Claims inspections and remedial work?

See answer

Our Claims teams and Investigators are still actively working but there are be a number of changes to how they operate. NHBC will replace physical visits with desktop investigations including requests for photographs, video or FaceTime in order to assess claims. Where physical visits are required at some stage, we will schedule these in once further information from Government about the extent of a continued lockdown is forthcoming.

Builders, Developers and Homeowners will continue to be updated on our findings but reports will be issued only via email.

Remedial work in progress by our contractors will, subject to agreement by the homeowner, be completed insofar as is possible by the end of this week. Thereafter works will stop until Government guidance tells us that it is acceptable to do re-commence. Work in progress will be left as secure and watertight as possible.

See answer

Can NHBC arrange an extension for people in the first 2 years of their new home warranty to avoid contractors coming into homes now and take the pressure off homeowners wanting to get things done before the end of the deadline?

See answer

While homeowners must notify their builder of a claim within the first two years of cover (the builder liability period), the works do not need to have been carried out within this time. If remedial works are delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, policy holders who have made claims within the builder liability period will not be penalised.

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Are you still posting letters?

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We've stopped posting letters to those claimants who have an email address we can send them to. If you have provided us with an email address, we will send correspondence to that. If we do not already have an email address for you, we will contact you to obtain details over the phone.

If you do not have an email address, we will send letters out to you by post.

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Will you be able to help under your Resolution service?

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We will consider the nature of the problems you have with your home and whether you have notified them to the builder during the first two years of the Buildmark policy. We will then advise whether we will be able to offer you our Resolution Service.

If we can offer our Resolution service but if the items are non-urgent, you should continue to pursue them with the builder directly. In the current situation, any assessment we would need to make would have to be delayed until a future date, by which time the builder may have resolved or agreed to resolve them for you.

If we can offer our Resolution service and the items are urgent, we will try to contact the original builder to get them to attend and deal with matters promptly.

Please note that there may be occasions where we will not offer our Resolution service and you will need to pursue the builder direct or consider using another form of dispute resolution service.

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What happens if I need urgent help – for example if I have a plumbing leak or a problem with my electrics?

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NHBC does not provide an emergency repair service.

If your property is less than two years old, you will need to contact the builder of your home.

If your home is more than two years old, please read your Buildmark policy booklet to see whether the problem is covered under Section 3. If you think it is, please contact us so we can advise you further.

Some issues, like plumbing leaks and electrical problems, are not covered by the Buildmark policy but may be covered by another insurance policy you may have.

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What happens if you have issued instructions to one of your remedial works contractors to carry out work on my home?

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If our remedial works contractors cannot do the work and you consider it to be urgent, please email us so that we can consider any possible alternative options.

However, if the work is non-urgent, the work will have to be postponed. We will contact you again when our contractors are able to do the work.

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I am living in alternative accommodation, what will happen if the repairs to my property will not be done by the time this expires?

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We are reviewing all cases where homeowners are currently living in alternative accommodation and will be contacting them to explain what we will do.

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I have an outstanding claim under Section 4 of the policy, how will matters progress?

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Our Claims team will provide regular updates to the key point of contact on the claim or via the microsite, if there is one.

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What happens if the builder doesn't do the work NHBC has asked them to do?

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Our usual procedures will apply - please click here for further details.

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How can I make a complaint about how NHBC has/is handling a case?

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You can complete the form on the NHBC website, email ConsumerAffairs@nhbc.co.uk or call 01908 746121.

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FAQs for Conveyancers

Can I still get copies of certificates?

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Yes you can. We're operating on a business-as-usual basis so please get in touch with us via the usual channels. For copies of certificates, that's on 0800 035 6422 or email us at cssupport@nhbc.co.uk.

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Where do I direct my finalling queries?

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We're operating on a business-as-usual basis so please get in touch with us via the usual channels. For copies of certificates, that's on 0800 035 6422 or email us at HomeRegistrationSeniorSupport@nhbc.co.uk.

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FAQs for Suppliers

Do I need any extra checks before accessing an NHBC building to carry out maintenance work?

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All maintenance work must be booked via the NHBC Facilities Management Team, this can be done via email. Permission to enter site may be allowed once written approval has been provided by the Facilities Management Team. Note that until further notice, only business critical or legislative maintenance will be carried out at our NHBC sites.

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Is there any guidance for suppliers who are delivering to NHBC premises?

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In line with major couriers NHBC has adopted the policy of not signing for items delivered to its sites. It is expected that all suppliers delivering to NHBC sites, also adopt this policy.

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