Housebuilders will be required to sign up to a code of conduct for dealing with customer complaints, after a probe by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The competition watchdog's study, due to be published on September 25, is the result of a year-long investigating into the causes of continuing low customer satisfaction levels and the industry's failure to match housing demand with supply.

The National House Building Council began work on a code of conduct last November, hoping the move would prevent the OFT from imposing an external regulator on the industry. Building claims the OFT will now endorse the NHBC's code, which will be policed by an independent company and financed by the industry.

The industry will probably emerge unscathed by the rest of the report's findings, said Building. A preliminary OFT investigation released in June seemed to clear the industry of hoarding land to drive up prices.

One housing industry source told Building: 'The hope is that the code can be introduced in early 2010. There is now a year to get the contractual details in place.'