Barratt, Rialto, David McLean and North Country are the poorest performers in buyer satisfaction survey
The Housing Forum has named and shamed housebuilders Barratt, Rialto Homes, David McLean Homes and North Country Homes as the poorest performers in a survey of buyer satisfaction in the UK.

The four companies came bottom of the forum's National Customer Satisfaction Survey 2003, published this week at its conference in London.

The four all scored one star out of three for all six survey criteria, which covered buyers' perceptions of quality of their home and the level of customer service given by the housebuilder.

Six firms scored a maximum of three out of three for all six categories. These were: Bloor Homes, Crest Nicholson, George Wimpey, McCarthy & Stone, Jelson and Croudace.

The survey was based on interviews with 10,000 buyers of new homes by pollster MORI, covering nearly 40 top housebuilders.

We are seeing a more educated consumer. This is raising the bar for UK housebuilders

Hugh Try, chairman, Housing Forum

The survey was first carried out in 2000 to inform buyers and encourage housebuilders to improve their customer service levels in the face of mounting consumer criticism.

But across the three surveys produced so far, the forum has found that customer satisfaction levels have fallen slightly, with more than one in three buyers unhappy with their housebuilder.

Hugh Try, chairman of the Housing Forum, said that the overall satisfaction rates with the quality, construction and finish of new homes were still extremely high.

But he added: "I do believe, however, that we are seeing a more educated consumer. This is raising the bar for the UK's housebuilders, who now must strive to meet increasingly high expectations in the new-build sector."

Generally, smaller housebuilders earned higher scores than the industry majors in the survey. Buyers rated quality of construction and finish as among the most important factors when buying a new home, followed by use of internal space and value for money.