A collaborative approach to defects prevention
Inspection is part of our technical risk management approach
Our inspection service has evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of the industry, homeowner expectations, and regulatory compliance. By registering your plots with NHBC you will benefit from the use of our key stage inspection service and our enhanced technical risk management processes.
Construction quality management, a collaborative approach to defects prevention
We are evolving our technical risk management strategy, working with our registered builders and developers to maintain our focus on quality control (defects detection) whilst enhancing our quality assurance (defects prevention) with the overall aim of reducing the significant costs to the industry of remedial works and, of course, improving overall quality for home owners. We have a wealth of historic and current construction quality data and this, combined with increased use of technology, is key to the evolution of our approach. We aim to work more collaboratively with you, on a bespoke site by site basis, from pre-construction to post-completion, to help you effectively identify and manage the technical risks on your sites.
During 2020, we developed and piloted a number of new ways of working. We have now started to roll these out and embed them in stages. Stage 1 is Technology Assisted Inspection (TAI), using an app to make inspection and reinspection more efficient.
Stage 2 is Joint Virtual Meetings which will take place at key stages in a project and will deliver a ‘virtual team’ to work collaboratively together, improve communication at important points in the project lifecycle and ultimately help us to help you build things right first time.
This new app has been developed to allow site managers to upload photographs for online inspection or re-inspection by the NHBC team. By capturing these images of ‘live’ construction, we can work with you more efficiently, allowing you to quickly continue work on site following our digital review and feedback, as well as creating a useful audit trail. In our pilot throughout 2020, 91% of site managers rated the app as easy to use.
This is our first stage in our new technical risk management strategy. Look out for more updates as we release further stages in our drive to prevent construction defects.
Many thanks to Vistry Group for their support in allowing us to film this video on their site
Joint Virtual Meetings are held between your site manager, relevant members of your technical team and in-house NHBC technical specialists. Your NHBC project lead or Building Inspector will set up the meetings and invite the relevant people who, from NHBC, could include engineers, surveyors, technical building consultants, geo-environmental engineers and members of our Standards or Underwriting teams.
The meetings will take place at key stages in the project and will deliver a ‘virtual team’ to work collaboratively together. You’ll have greater access to our in-house technical experts and the opportunity to discuss design and construction issues at an earlier stage than currently. We’re confident that this increased collaboration will help you build right first time; identify any areas where we can provide additional support; speed up project assessments and acceptance as well as the clearance of conditions.
There are three types of meetings - Consultation, Prestart and Inflight.
Prestart – roll out for new sites from 1 November 2021
For some projects, the usual prestart meetings between your site manager and appointed NHBC Building Inspector will continue in their current format. For more complex projects, we will also offer a Joint Virtual Meeting with a range of our in-house technical specialists. This meeting is an opportunity to discuss key design/site issues and discuss any project specific inspection requirements.
Inflight – roll out for new sites from 1 November 2021
These take place once the project has commenced and the timing and required attendees will be project specific. For example, we might hold a meeting before a complex area of construction is started; where there have been design or site issues; or perhaps for support with clearing conditions.
Consultation – roll out from 1 January 2022
These could be offered for complex sites that have planning approval but which are not yet registered with us. They will be used to discuss how the requirements of the NHBC Standards might impact the design, potential conditions and information requirements.
If you’d like to know more about our continuous technical support and how we think it will benefit you, please see our FAQs or make contact with your local inspector.
Technical Assisted Inspections Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question? Check out our frequently asked questions below. If you cannot find the answer you require, please contact our TAI team who will be happy to assist you.Read the FAQs
Joint Virtual Meetings Frequently Asked Questions
Need to know more? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer you require, please contact our team who will be happy to help.Read the FAQs
Interested in our continuous technical support
If you are interested in learning more about our continuous technical support, contact your local Building Inspector or Inspection Manager. Alternatively you can fill in our enquiry form to contact us.Submit enquiry
Project design reviews
Project design reviews by our surveyors are now offered on all projects, whether we undertake the Building Control or not, so that we can provide you with a more detailed assessment of key risks for your project at an early stage and reduce the likelihood of issues being picked up late in construction.
The inspection service we offer
Our inspectors will make an initial assessment of your site based on criteria that includes:
- Ground conditions
- Site exposure
- The complexity of the design specification
- Professional input
- The past performance of your company and site manager.
They then judge the level of risk the site is likely to pose - in other words, the likelihood of there being any problems as the building work progresses. Those sites with a higher level of risk will receive extra inspections in addition to the key stage inspection regime that all sites benefit from. The inspector’s assessment may be adjusted during construction, depending on the standards of work being produced.
Our core inspection service is focused on specified key stages for each plot, so that our inspectors are on site at the times when their independent quality control function can be most effective. Your site manager is responsible for notifying the inspector in advance (normally 24 hours) when the following stages are ready for inspection:
- Foundations excavated
- Drains - if you are using our NHBC Building Control service.
- First fix (pre-plaster)
Our inspectors will photograph all fire safety related reportable items. Currently, all health and safety reportable items (including fire safety issues) are re-inspected. At this re-inspection, the resolution of the fire safety related reportable items will also be photographed, so that we have a pictorial record of the initial issue and the remediated solution.
Your site manager will be given a site record book providing a clear breakdown of the inspector's findings and a record of the stages which have passed key stage inspection. This will enable you to maintain a good level of communication with your inspector, in turn helping you to achieve your targets and meet your customers' expectations.
When on site for normal key stage inspections, our inspectors will take the opportunity to look at other plots on site that are in progress and at intermediate stages i.e. between normal key stages. Any items observed during these intermediate inspections will be recorded as intermediate observations and will not generate reportable items as inspections at key stages do.
Our inspectors will look at the initial completed plot(s) with the site manager and discuss the observed finishes of the home. Once the inspection has been carried out, the inspector will generate a report including photographs of any areas observed where improvements are considered necessary to meet NHBC Standards. This report will be emailed to the site manager for future reference to support consistent compliance of future homes at the pre-handover stage.
All apartment plots have a pre-plaster inspection as a notifiable key stage.
Our inspectors carry out regular frequency inspections on apartment blocks during construction, the focus of which will be on the façade as well as the common areas which are already part of the key stage inspection process.