New-house owners call back builders

Three-quarters find something that needs fixing, and Aucklanders among the most dissastified, survey shows

Photo / Paul Estcourt
Photo / Paul Estcourt

Almost three-quarters of owners of new homes had to call their builder back to fix something, a new survey says.

The Building Research Association of New Zealand (Branz) research also found one in six disputed their bill and Aucklanders and Cantabrians were most dissatisfied.

Branz quizzed 647 owners of new homes throughout New Zealand who took over their dwellings between April 2012 and March 2013.

"It is apparent that the industry is not meeting the expectation of new house owners once handover is completed," the report found.

While 91 per cent said they were "fairly satisfied" with the overall quality of their home, 73 per cent of new buildings required a call back to fix defects.

In Auckland, that increased to 88 per cent and to 84 per cent in Canterbury.

Of those who required fixes, 27 per cent were unhappy with how repairs were made.

"This is likely to be because builders were running multiple jobs at one time and were struggling to find sufficient well-qualified subcontractors," the findings said.

One in six respondents also reported disputing final costs with builders and 20 per cent were unhappy with time taken to complete the project.

Branz senior economist David Norman said a rapid response from builders could mitigate any consumer backlash.

"The last series of interactions with the builder after large amounts of money have changed hands may leave a bad taste in the mouth of the buyer.

"This is strongly linked to whether or not the buyer will recommend their builder."

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive Warwick Quinn agreed and said response time was important for the industry.

"As markets get busier and builders' workloads increase, there's a risk that their response to customers may become slower.

"But, as the survey highlights, fast customer response is a priority for builders not only in their own business, but driving high-level professionalism across the industry."

Online rating forums such as nocowboys.co.nz could help remedy issues between dissatisfied clients and builders. General manager Jason Carboni said the site, which did not allow anonymous ratings, was getting more traffic.

"I don't know if builders are worse than two years ago but I can tell you that people are coming to us more and more because they have somewhere to go. Consumers should feel that they have a place to go and if they have an opinion they should be able to voice it."

Complaints were often resolved after businesses saw them and the result was often a positive review, he said.

Branz also found that satisfaction had decreased by an average of 8 per cent across all categories.

People who had built a home previously were likely to be more satisfied than first-time home builders.

New-home building survey

• 15 per cent disputed their bill

• 27 per cent were dissatisfied with repairs done after moving in

• 91 per cent 'fairly satisfied' with overall quality of new home

• 20 per cent were unhappy with the completion time of the project

- NZ Herald

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