Grant Shapps calls for more ‘mates mortgages’ to help struggling first time buyers

Housing Minister Grant Shapps will today call on lenders to offer ‘mates mortgages’ so younger first time buyers can club together and take their first step on the property ladder.

With new research published today showing 86 per cent of people want to buy a home, Mr Shapps wants lenders to make it easier for friends who would like to buy a house and can afford the repayments, but are locked out the market by the requirement for a large individual deposit.

For groups of friends without access to the Bank of Mum and Dad, mates mortgages could become a mainstream alternative to years of saving, as well as providing a welcome boost to the housing market.

The Minister wants more lenders to offer straightforward mortgage products such as Britannia’s ‘Share to Buy’, so increasing the number of these schemes that facilitate joint ownership will be the top item for discussion when he meets key housing and mortgage industry figures for a second First Time Buyers Summit.

He will also urge lenders to replicate a new ‘First Time Buyers Pledge’ by Lloyd’s. Under the pledge more advice and assistance will be available to prospective homeowners, including a personal action plan for unsuccessful applicants setting out how they could be successful in the future, and a promise that failed applications will not affect the credit rating of first time buyers.

The summit been arranged by Mr Shapps to review progress since he made a rallying call to the housing industry earlier this year to step their efforts and help more prospective first time buyers fulfil their dream of buying their own home.

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HSBC Bank plc confirms acceptance of the Build-Zone 10 Year Warranty for lending purposes.

The HSBC Risk Management Committee is adding Build-Zone to their list of accepted warranties for new build properties. The leading high street bank has today confirmed their acceptance of the Build-Zone 10 Year Warranty for lending purposes.

The competitive range of structural warranties on offer from  Structural Warranty product provider Build-Zone provide cover for all areas of house building, social housing and commercial development as well as completed and self-build developments.

The Build-Zone Structural Warranty products provide cover against defects in the design, workmanship or materials of building projects.   The wide range of warranty products on offer from Build-Zone will suit most types of development and includes a New Home Warranty which has achieved Designated Warranty Provider status (DWS) in respect of the Warranty link Rule (WLR) by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG).  This enables builders and developers to consider the Build-Zone Housing Warranty as an alternative mainstream warranty provider.

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Industry Conference – The reality of mortgage lending in the new housebuilding landscape

The conference, billed as the first conference of its kind to help lenders understand the reality of mortgage lending in the new housebuilding landscape was organised by BuildStore Financial Services, the self build, renovation and conversion mortgage specialists and was held at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon on March 15th.



A packed audience of heads of lending, valuers, risk managers, surveyors and mortgage policy managers and those involved in setting mortgage strategy attended the free conference to debate the issues surrounding lending policy, and how it matches up with the practical realities of housebuilding regulation.

Modern Methods of Construction – More industry decision makers are recognising the significant benefits of modern methods of construction (MMC): better products and processes, and improved business efficiency, quality, customer satisfaction, and environmental performance.

Eco building – The introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes in 2007 marked a step-change in sustainable home building. Eco building techniques, natural building fabrics and renewable energy technology will now be required to meet the Code standards.

Self Build –  A lack of suitable and affordable homes is driving the interest in the self build and self procurement sector, and with the Government’s Localism Bill, building your own home is set to become more accessible and more appealing.

The Conference:

Paul Broadhead from the Building Societies Association (BSA) the trade association representing mutual lenders and deposit takers in the UK including all 48 UK building societies started the conference by stating that he was keen to unblock the barriers to finance.

Tim Doherty, from the National Self Build & Renovation Centre took delegates through an excellent presentation on Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) & Eco Building.

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) & Eco Building

MMC are increasingly favoured as a means of improving quality, reducing time spent on site, and overcoming skills shortages. The eco agenda has also made an impact on construction, with sustainable materials and techniques becoming more popular.  The presentations demonstrated the most common MMC and eco building techniques and the current mortgage lending policies which led in to Simon Middleton from Build Zone presenting a structural warranty providers view on these new methods of house building.

MMC and Ecobuild – A Structural Warranty Providers Perspective

The Build-Zone 10 Year Structural Warranty is DCLG designated warranty scheme provider with provision available for housing, social housing, commercial development, completed and self-build properties.

Build-Zone offer a flexible and competitive approach to warranty provision in all sectors of the construction and building industry, including those working on MMC and Ecobuild projects.

Simon explained how MMC and Ecobuilding projects are able to get Structural Warranty Provision, an insurance policy which covers:

  • defects in design, workmanship and materials causing major damage
  • defective weatherproofing
  • drainage
  • health & safety of occupants
  • contaminated land
  • loss of deposit

MMC and Ecobuild projects can easily obtain cover, largely due to their dedicated technical service company ‘SurveyorLink’ the Build-Zone partner approved inspector scheme – which audits the project at various stages.  Simon explained the technical audit process used and highlighted the risk transfer and claim trends for MMC and ecobuild projects, he surprised the audience by telling them that they had seen no MMC or Eco Build related claim notifications.

Simon concluded:

“Traditional building methods continue to produce workmanship claims on a low frequency basis.

MMC and Eco Building are definitely here for the long term and should be subject to exactly the same risk management and long term understanding as we place on traditional methods of construction”.

To speak to one of Build-Zone’s Structural Warranty experts, call 0845 230 9873 or visit www.build-zone.com

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Self build structural warranty provider welcomes Government’s self-build sector boost

Structural warranty provider Build-Zone today welcomed the Government’s recent policy announcement to cut red tape and boost demand in the UK self-build sector.

Structural Warranty Insurance

Housing Minister Grant Shapps called on the country’s aspiring self-builders to make a housebuilding revolution their New Year’s resolution.  Self-builders are already Britain’s largest housebuilder, and account for one-fifth of Britain’s new homes each year, but for far too long the aspirations of ordinary people to build their own home have been thwarted by barriers and red tape.  Barriers that stand in people’s way will be torn down – including a complex and bureaucratic planning system, regulatory burdens, and lack of access to land and finance.

A new Community Right to Build will offer communities the chance to give the green light to new developments without the need for specific planning applications.  This could be local people working alone to build their own homes, or entire communities coming together to build the homes the area needs.

The self-build sector is already important to growth and housing supply – with self-builders completing as many as 10,000 building projects each year – so making it easier for more people to build their own home will provide a welcome boost to the housing market.

Mr Shapps has asked the National Self Build Association (NASBA) to work with his officials to develop an action plan to boost the number of self-builders across the country – and address the common barriers aspiring self-builders face, including:

  • availability of land – including making public sector land available for house building
  • availability of finance – working with lenders to ensure self-building communities can get the finance they need
  • availability of expert support – how self-builders can support communities looking to build the homes they need, and how those new to self-building can be supported.

Build-Zone are a major provider of 10 year structural warranty, technical audits, and building control services, to the self build marketplace.

Build-Zone Director Simon Middleton said:

“This is really is a positive step forward for anyone who has dreamed of building their own home but have had their hopes dashed through a complex planning system and lack of land in their community.  Build-Zone has been providing Structural Warranties to this [Self-build] market sector since 2003 and we already have the products in place to provide essential cover on community projects as well.

Our sister operation Self Build Zone is the market leader in the provision of Self-build insurance and is also in the perfect position to provide communities looking to build homes with specific site cover as well. Insuring the project properly is of fundamental importance when there are many people’s financial interests at stake”.

Self-Build Zone products include:

Site Insurance
Buildings Insurance
Structural Warranty
Building Control Services
Renovation Insurance
Code for Sustainable Homes
SAP Energy Ratings
Air Pressure Testing
Sound Testing

Self Build Zone Director, Simon Middleton will be guest speaking at the Lending Policy Meets Housebuilding Reality Conference where  he will deliver a warranty providers view of Modern Methods of Construction and Eco Building.

The website can be found at www.buildzone.com

Or subscribe to the structural warranty blog: www.structural-warranty-blog.co.uk

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Insurance & Structural Warranty – getting the right cover in place

Embarking on a building, conversion or renovation project is an exciting if not somewhat daunting experience at the best of times and there is clearly a considerable amount of planning and preparation to be put in place prior to getting started. Insurance is probably going to be the least exciting of the items on that schedule of tasks but giving it due consideration in plenty of time can literally save thousands of pounds both now and in the future should you need to make a claim.

Simon Middleton – December 2010

Designated Warranty Link Scheme

So what insurance should you be looking to purchase and when? The short answer is it depends on your individual project, but here is a quick overview of some of the areas you need to consider.

Insuring a New Build:

Unless you are using a main contractor for the whole build and there is a written contract in place between the parties stipulating that the contractor is responsible for the entire project until completed and handed over to you, then you will definitely need to consider Site Insurance and a 10 Year Structural Warranty.

Site Insurance, which is available from Self-Build Zone provides cover from the moment you exchange on a plot to the point it’s completed. The following provides a bench mark of what can be covered with Self-Build Zone and why you need it – but it’s worth remembering that not every insurer provides the same cover and your individual needs may be different, so if you want some expert advice call 0845 230 9874 or visit the website www.selfbuildzone.com.

The Claims service is what you are buying so remember to ask your supplier who is likely be sent to your site following a claim. Is the claims service specific to self-build? Some insurers use general ‘in house’ loss adjusters who may not have much experience in self-build.

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