A guide on snagging inspection in the UK

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A snagging inspection is where a builder or contractor repairs the defects in a new build property. The process can get quite complex in some cases so it is necessary to find the right information in order for things to work out correctly

What does a “snag” mean?

A snag refers to a defect or problem that is in a property that occurs after the construction of the property is finished. If the problem happens before the construction is complete then it is simply something a developer has to fix.

However, defects that crop up after the property has been constructed and the homebuyer has moved in are then called a snag as it is something the contractor should have rectified beforehand.

A snagging inspection being carried out

Is snagging something you have to pay for?

If you have the correct warranty and there is a snagging period that is being covered by the developer which is what all new builds should be entitled to, then you shouldn’t have to pay for snagging.

However, there is a chance that the person that the snagging period in which snagging inspections are free is outdated. This could be because the warranty period is over but there could be other reasons too.

How to clarify whether payment is required for snagging services?

The first thing you should do when attempting to answer this question is look through the property documents that come with the purchase of a property.

Here, you will be able to look for a document that has the information for the warranty of a property and the details of the relationship between the developer and you, the buyer of the new build.

As a result, you should be able to then find if the property is under warranty which would mean the contractor will rectify any snags in a property, free of charge.

These snags can be as minor as a small part of the carpet in a property coming up or it can be more severe, structural damage that is at the fault of the contractor.

In general, if there is property damage that has happened due to the carelessness of the homeowner or the warranty has expired, then the owner of the house will have to pay to repair snags themself.

The cost of this can vary but most of the time costs aren’t that much money and they become part of the process of buying a new build which you can read more about here.

What is the process of conducting a snagging survey?

A snagging survey is the same as a snagging inspection, the survey simply checks the quality of the construction of a new build property against industry standards.

In order to conduct this, a snagging inspector should look over a property in detail which means looking at the inside and outside of a property and all the spaces that are part of the premises such as the garage and garden too.

This can be done before you move into a new build property but after the contracts have been exchanged (as most contractors will not allow this if you don’t own the home).

Alternatively, a homeowner can get a snagging survey done within the first two years of moving into a new build in order to have the costs covered by the new build’s warranty.

From here, you can report issues to a house builder so that they can repair any defects.

It is important to note that while a snagging survey can be done yourself, it is not only more effective to get it done professionally as they may be able to spot things you cannot but a survey carried out by a professional is also more credible.

This means a contractor that gets sent the survey is more likely to take things seriously and come into your property to conduct repairs, especially if they have been ignoring you or being unresponsive.

construction site

What are the benefits of a snagging survey?

Some experts in the field of new build properties will tell you that having a snagging survey or snagging inspection is more important now more than ever when it comes to buying a house.

This is because new builds are often constructed in a rush and contractors often cut corners that could result in parts of a property degrading and becoming older or faulty a lot earlier than expected.

As a result, the benefits of conducting a snagging inspection include:

  • Taking advantage of the cost free repair period
  • Maintaining the value of your home over time
  • Improving the quality of your living space
  • Reducing the chance of having safety issues in a property over time
  • Indirectly help other property owners by scrutinising building practice

If you’re not sure about getting an inspection done, think about the above list. While an inspection could be quite invasive to your home and tedious to ask for all of the repairs dealt with, there are a lot of positive benefits.

The main one being that if you were to sell your property later down the line, you can tell the new owners that there has been a thorough inspection carried out and repair works conducted.

This is appealing in the eyes of a potential owner of a property as it shows the property will remain intact for years to come and there are no major issues that will crop up soon after purchase.

If defects are common, why don’t new build properties get checked? 

The reality is, a lot of defects in new build properties could be found before a property is sold but contractors often cut corners and leave the responsibility of finalising the finish of a property over to the last person to work on the property.

For instance, there may be multiple teams working on one property to complete construction. The electrician will do their job, then someone else may do the plumbing and someone else put in the carpets.

As a result, no one looks at all of the features of a property together and looks to see if there are any problems with how they integrate until the sale of a property is complete.

So, there are certainly things that contractors and developers can do in order to reduce the number of defects.

But if they know the homeowner will perhaps not bring these issues forward and they can hand the responsibility of a snagging inspection over to a buyer, then there is less need to make sure everything is perfect.

In this sense, having a snagging inspection period that developers know not all homebuyers take advantage of incentivises them to cut corners as they know some cost of repair will never be dealt with.

Having said this, there is some margin for error that has to be given to contractors. A home is a large piece of construction and there are many parts to a property that come together.

Finding defects is almost inevitable as a homeowner moves in and they interact with every area of a home and it is common, not just in the UK where construction is often rushed, for there to be defects.

electrical defects in a property

Is a snagging list necessary for a new build?

Snagging lists are formed as part of a snagging inspection and aren’t necessary if you aren’t planning on bringing these issues up with a contractor. 

However, if you are going to take advantage of the new build warranty of a property, then a list is the best way to communicate.

When a contractor visits a property to conduct repairs they will need a clear list of the things they need to work and if this list is written by a qualified snagging inspector, this becomes a lot more straightforward.

What should a snagging inspector look out for?

A snagging inspector will inspect the exterior of a property and the interior of a property and will generally look out for:

  • Doors and windows that are not properly fitted
  • Walls, ceilings or floors that are cracked or uneven
  • Inadequate insulation in the property
  • Plumbing issues such as faulty fixtures or leaks
  • Electrical problems such as missing outlets or faulty wiring
  • Heating and cooling systems that are inefficient or defective
  • Paintwork or decorating issues that are poorly finished
  • Roof tiles or guttering that are damaged or uneven
  • Structural defects such as cracks in walls, subsidence, or uneven foundations
  • Incomplete or poorly finished construction work in the property.

When is the best time to make a snagging list?

A snagging list should be done within two years of the property owner moving into the new build. This is because this is during the period when all defects found are repaired cost free under warranty.

If the construction costs cannot be covered by the construction company, then the National House Building Council (NHBC) , seen here, will step in and cover costs for the homeowner. 

If a homeowner misses this period, there is also a ten year period that covers larger defects such as a servere structural limitation in a home.

For example, Something like a carpet coming undone will be covered as part of the two year initial period where the contractor will come and do repairs and something like a wall collapsing will be covered within the ten year period.

The reason for this is that a contractor isn’t seen to be liable for ambler repairs as these defects are classed as general wear and tear of a property.

Is it possible for a contractor to refuse to fix defects?

Unfortunately, despite the regulations set out by building authorities and any contracts a home buyer may have with a developer, sometimes the two cannot come to an agreement and there is a refusal to conduct repairs.

In cases like this, the first thing a buyer should do is refer the contractor or the developer to whoever has provided the warranty for the property.

This is also the right thing to do if the company that would have conducted repairs has gone bankrupt or doesn’t have the funds to be able to rectify the issues found in a snagging inspection.

In some other cases, it could be that the builder doesn’t agree the issue is their responsibility, for example, if it is a small issue that could happen as a result of general use of a property.

A builder doing a snagging inspection

What is the best way to find a professional snagging survey?

Finding someone with the right qualifications to be able to conduct a survey is a problem for many homebuyers. There are options to conduct this type of survey yourself and there are also companies that do the job for you.

Companies that offer snagging surveys

Below are some trustworthy companies that offer snagging services that you can check out for yourself.

New Home Quality Control

This company are experts in finding the defects in British new build properties and their phone number to arrange an inspection can be found in their website navigation bar.

Hawkeye Snagging

Hawkeye snagging are a group of companies that have grouped together to form a trusted company that operate out of East Anglia

PlanRadar

PlanRadar allow a homeowner to be able to conduct an inspection himself by filling out a snagging list template with their help.

Thomson Reuters

If a thorough check is what you’re after, Thomosn Reuters will give you a comprehensive snagging list in line with the law around building regulations.

GTA Inspectors

GTA inspectors are another company offering a trustworthy service. They also have the steps they follow during an inepction written on their website.

How can you find a snagging service yourself?

A snagging service can also be found through word of mouth or by asking for a recommendation from a friend. A common way of doing this is by visiting the people who live on a new build development.

For instance, if there is a group of houses that all were constructed at similar times as new build developments usually work, then asking neighbours could be a great idea.

Some contractors may also give their own recommendations for inspectors if you ask them but you have to be careful they don’t give the names of inspectors who purposefully don’t find all of the snags in a property, reducing the builders workload.

To conclude

All in all, a snagging inspection is something that those invested in property should certainly take on if they have recently purchased a new build.

It can save a lot of time and money as opposed to repairing the defects left behind by construction companies yourself and the great thing is that all owners of new builds have a warranty which means inspection repairs are carried out for free.

Nonetheless, there are other nuances of the topic and scenarios where things aren’t so simple. So we hope you’ve gotten a good idea of how they work through our article.

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donnell-bailey

Donnell Bailey

Property expert

Donnell is a property expert focusing on the property market, he looks at a combination of legislation, information from property managers, letting agents and market trends to produce information to help landlords.

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