A service for registered builders
Your guide to the NHBC inspection service
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 move our collective focus from quality control (defects correction) to quality assurance (defects prevention) with the overall aim to reduce the significant costs to the industry of remedial works.
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 effectively identify and manage the technical risks of your sites.
We have developed and trialled a number of modules which will be rolled out over the next 18 months. Your NHBC inspection and/or technical services contact will keep you up to date with our progress on this.
The first such module is Technology Assisted Inspection, which, along with the other modules in the programme, is described below.
We are evolving our technical risk management strategy, working with our registered builders and developers to move our collective focus from quality control (defects correction) to quality assurance (defects prevention), with the overall aim to continue the improvement of construction quality across the house-building industry.
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.
NEW Technology Assisted Inspection app
This new app allows site managers to upload photographs for a digital review 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.
For more information
If you’d like to know more about the app, its use and how we think it will benefit you, please:
- Watch this video for an overview
- Read the FAQs
- Contact your local Building Inspector or Inspection Manager or Email TAI
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.
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.
If you have any queries about our inspection system, please contact your inspector or call our Operations Support department