Don’t judge a book by its cover! What to look out for when buying a new build

At first glance newly built properties have all the advantages of modern construction: advanced building materials, better thermal insulation and reliable services including water, power and heating. The theory goes that the more expensive the development, the higher the quality of the finish and, more importantly, of the structure itself.

Unfortunately, the reality can be different. This particular new build in South West London masked very significant structural issues that could have been prevented without any additional cost to the build. Further investigation on behalf of the insurance company revealed that no waterproofing system had been installed, and this had led to very significant basement leaks to all five properties in the development.

When viewing and buying new builds try not to judge them on their looks alone. Always commission an independent surveyor to double check for building ‘short cuts’ particularly when the contractor has used a private building control company to certify their work. Test everything, such as doors and windows and above all don’t rely solely on their insurance backed guarantees as an indicator of good workmanship.

As often as not, those expensive finishes have come at the cost of something more fundamental.