How new home warranties work and what is covered

UK Home Improvement

How New Home Warranties Work and What is Covered

New build homes in the UK often come with a warranty, which is essentially an insurance policy that covers certain defects in the building work. These warranties are designed to give homeowners peace of mind and protection against structural problems. They typically last for 10 years, with the coverage varying in detail over that period.

What is a New Build Home Warranty?

A new build home warranty, often referred to as a structural warranty, is a type of guarantee provided by the builder or a warranty provider that covers the cost of fixing structural defects that may arise after the construction is completed.

This warranty usually covers major structural defects to the home, including issues with the foundation, roofs, and walls. The warranty is provided at no additional cost to the buyer and is typically included in the purchase price of the home. Commercial properties will also often provide warranties although this will be a slightly more complex contractual agreement which is arranged directly with the builder.

Major Providers of New Build Home Warranties in the UK

In the UK, the most recognized provider of new build warranties is the National House Building Council (NHBC), which covers around 80% of the new home construction market. NHBC’s warranty, known as Buildmark, provides coverage for up to 10 years. Other notable providers include LABC Warranty and Premier Guarantee, each offering similar protections but with variations in terms of coverage details and additional services.

How Does the Warranty Work?

The typical structure of a new build home warranty is divided into two phases:

  1. Initial Period: Usually covering the first two years post-completion, during which the builder is responsible for fixing any defects that are not general wear and tear or minor issues. This is often called the ‘Builder Warranty Period’.
  2. Structural Insurance Period: Extending from the end of the initial period up to 10 years, this covers structural defects and major problems with the home’s construction that may not have been apparent during the initial period.

Examples of What’s Covered

  1. Structural defects: Issues with load-bearing parts of the home.
  2. Weatherproofing: Problems with the roof or walls that lead to leaks.
  3. Drainage issues: Significant problems with the drainage system that were not due to abuse or lack of maintenance.

For example, if a homeowner discovers a significant roof leak or foundational crack within the first 10 years that is due to construction defects, the warranty should cover the repair costs.

Making a Claim

To make a claim, the homeowner typically needs to contact the warranty provider directly. It’s important for the homeowner to provide all necessary documentation and evidence of the defect. The provider will then assess the claim and, if approved, arrange for the repairs to be carried out either through their own contractors or by reimbursing the homeowner for the costs involved.

Limitations and Exclusions

It’s crucial for homeowners to understand that these warranties do not cover everything. For instance, issues that result from normal wear and tear, lack of maintenance, or weather damage are generally not covered. Additionally, any alterations or major changes made to the property by the homeowner that affect the structure might void the warranty.

Understanding the finer details of a new build home warranty can significantly impact a homeowner’s experience. Beyond the major structural components, some warranties also offer coverage for non-structural elements and fixtures, although this can vary widely between providers. For example, certain warranties may include protections against defects in plumbing and electrical systems for a specified period, providing additional peace of mind.

Furthermore, homeowners should be aware that some warranties might offer dispute resolution services, which can be invaluable if disagreements arise between the homeowner and the builder regarding the nature and responsibility for defects. This service can streamline the process of addressing issues without resorting to legal action, saving time and resources for both parties. Additionally, it’s beneficial for homeowners to maintain regular inspections and upkeep of their property to prevent voiding the warranty due to neglect. 


A new build home warranty is an essential consideration for anyone purchasing a new home in the UK. It offers a degree of financial protection against construction defects and structural issues. However, understanding the details of what is and isn’t covered, and the process for making claims, is crucial to ensure that you are adequately protected.

For more detailed information, prospective homebuyers should refer directly to warranty providers such as NHBC (NHBC website) and LABC Warranty (LABC Warranty website), or consult legal professionals specialising in property and construction law.


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