Purchasers' solicitor frequently asked questions
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- When is the Buildmark cover note issued?
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?
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?
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?
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 about legal assignment of Buildmark cover to a subsequent purchaser?
It is not necessary for second and subsequent owners to take an assignment of the benefit of Buildmark cover. However we should be notified of the new owners details through the change of ownership form so that we can amend our records accordingly.
- What if my client discovers or suspects there is a defect with their home?
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?
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.
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