Purchasers' solicitor guidelines

This section explains what you should do before you exchange contracts with the purchasers’ solicitor

Purchasers solicitor faqs

What you should do before exchange of contracts

  • Check that the contract provides for the home to have Buildmark cover and details the name of the person or company that will be providing that cover.

  • Check that the person or company offering the Buildmark cover in the contract is a NHBC registered builder/developer. You can check the Buildmark cover information via NHBC Conveyancing Portal.The vendor must provide you with a Policy Number and Activation Code so that you can locate the plot and complete your checks.

  • Check whether the vendor of the property is the same as the builder/developer offering the Buildmark cover. If not, check with us that the vendor has our authority to sell the homes on an 'unregistered vendor' basis. Please note in the case of an 'unregistered vendor' the deposit and any other payments received under the contract will not be protected by NHBC if the vendor becomes insolvent after exchange of contracts and before completion.

  • Check that the builder/developer named on the Buildmark offer is on the NHBC register. If they have left our register after the home has been registered for cover but before exchange of contracts, then they may no longer be entitled to offer Buildmark cover.

  • Explain to your client the terms of the Buildmark policy and its limitations. After exchange of contracts and prior to completion/date of entry your client will have the benefit of deposit protection under Buildmark policy only.

Conveyancing portal

Complete your checks and provide your client’s details

Go to conveyancing portal

Talk to us

If you have any questions on the warranty or the process please see Purchasers' solicitor FAQs

Or call us on 0344 633 1000 and ask for 'Customer Services'.

Check the NHBC register

Make sure that the builder/developer offering Buildmark is still on our register

Check NHBC Register

What you should do between exchange and completion

  • Advise your client that they should not complete the purchase and/or move in to the new home before an NHBC cover note has been issued. The cover note will not be issued unless we are satisfied that the standard of construction substantially complies with NHBC requirements. If mortgage funds are required, these will generally not be released until a cover note has been issued.

  • Go online and log in to the NHBC Conveyancing Portal and confirm date of exchange of contracts and client details to activate the deposit protection provided by Buildmark.

For more about when the cover note is issued see Purchasers' solicitor FAQs

What you should do after completion

  • Go online and log in to the NHBC Conveyancing Portal to confirm date of legal completion and accept the Buildmark policy.

  • Download the insurance certificate and all associated documents to send to your client, the lender (if applicable) and keep a copy for your files.

If you have any queries regarding the above, please contact Customer Services on 0344 633 1000.

Purchasers' solicitor FAQs

When is the Buildmark cover note issued?

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Most mortgage lenders will not release funds for the purchase of a new home until a warranty provider has issued a cover note.

After making their final inspection and provided that they are satisfied with the standard of construction of the home, our inspector will issue a cover note and hand it to the builder. The builder should pass the cover note on to their conveyancer to pass on to you as soon as possible, in order to avoid any delay in the release of funds in time for completion of sale.

When is the insurance certificate issued?

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Following the issue of a cover note and online acceptance via the NHBC Conveyancing Portal, we will issue a Buildmark insurance certificate. Conveyancers should therefore ensure that they go online and log in to the NHBC Conveyancing Portal where they can confirm legal completion has taken place and accept the Buildmark cover online. Where our subsidiary NHBC Building Control Services Ltd has acted as the Approved Inspector, the Buildmark insurance certificate will include a statement that 'This home is subject to NHBC's Building Control'. This is confirmation that the Building Control Final Certificate has been issued to the Local Authority.

Once acceptance has been completed online, the Buildmark insurance certificate will be made available to download from the NHBC Conveyancing Portal. You should:

a) send the original to your client for safekeeping

b) send a copy to the lender (if applicable)

c) retain a copy for your own records

What if I am acting for a shared equity scheme?

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Buildmark documents for equity sharing arrangements are the same as for standard private development sales as described above.

The Buildmark offer documents are provided by the NHBC registered builder who will not necessarily be the same party as the equity sharer/lessor (e.g. a Housing Association).

What if I am acting for the purchase of a home on a mixed residential / commercial development?

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Buildmark cover is often provided for residential dwellings forming part of a mixed development. Typically these dwellings are apartments within a building that includes an element of commercial use, such as retail outlets.

Where we provide Buildmark cover for residential dwellings in mixed use developments, we may also provide Buildmark Connect cover for the non-residential parts of the development. When first instructed in connection with a purchase of a home on a mixed use development, it is recommended that you contact NHBC to ascertain whether Buildmark Connect cover has been arranged.

Where Buildmark Connect or similar cover is not in place, careful consideration should be given to the issue of who is responsible for attending to defects in non-residential parts of the development and how responsibility for attending to defects in common parts is shared by residential and non-residential occupiers.

What if my client discovers or suspects there is a defect with their home?

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If your client discovers or suspects that there is a defect with their home during the period of Buildmark cover, they should refer to the Buildmark policy booklet to assess whether the defect is covered. If in doubt they may wish to contact our Claims team to discuss the matter.

If appropriate, notice of a claim should be given promptly to the builder or to our Claims department, according to the requirements of the Buildmark policy. If notice is given to the builder, it is advisable that it is given in writing and that a copy of the letter and/or other evidence of notification is retained by your client.

In the case of a building with shared 'common parts', the period of cover under Section 2 of your client's Buildmark policy for 'common parts' may be different to the period of cover for their individual apartment. The information in the Buildmark policy dealing with common parts should be referred to for details of how the period of cover is calculated in these cases.

It is important that problems are reported promptly. Failure to do so may prejudice your client's rights to claim.

Where we consider it necessary, we will arrange to carry out relevant technical investigations.

We recommend that clients and their legal advisors consider whether it is appropriate to incur professional fees (including legal fees) in connection with a claim under Buildmark. We will not reimburse such fees unless there are exceptional circumstances. Written agreement should therefore be obtained from Claims in advance of incurring any such fees.

Our contact details are set out in the Buildmark documents. Your client may contact us in writing at Claims Department, NHBC House, Davy Avenue, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, MK5 8FP or by telephone on 0344 633 1000 and ask for 'Claims' or via our online Make a new claim.

How are my clients rights affected under Buildmark?

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Your client's rights under the Buildmark policy are in addition to any other legal rights that they may be entitled to. For instance rights to claim against the builder for breach of contract.

NHBC cannot assist with disputes arising out of the sale of the home, building contract or missive. Disputes over completion/date of entry dates, boundaries and the supply of extras or sums owing, for example, do not fall within the scope of the Buildmark policy.