Construction minister Nick Raynsford was due to launch the first-ever survey of homeowners’ views of housebuilders yesterday.
The national survey, which will cover 11 000 owners of new-build homes, will provide data for the government-sponsored Housing Forum’s performance tables of the top 60 UK housebuilders. A spokesperson for the Housing Forum said it would focus on customer service, design and the quality of finishes in new homes.
However, it is still unclear whether the results will be published in league tables or form part of a star-rating system along the lines of the Michelin guide.
How we present the results is contentious, but it has to be competitive
Spokesperson, Housing Forum
Last year, Raynsford told housebuilders that he wanted to see league tables similar to those produced by the government for schools and hospitals. However, it is understood that the working party set up to look at the issue, under the chairmanship of Westbury chief executive Martin Donohue, believes a star-rating system would be a better option.
A spokesperson for the Housing Forum said: “How we present the results is contentious, but it has to be competitive. Housebuilders know that, and they will be published in a competitive form. But the exact format will be decided once the survey results have been gathered.” An insider said the forum was experimenting with options for presenting the results through focus groups. He said: “It’s a case of seeing which the focus groups respond best to. If they like tables, we’ll go with that. If they prefer a star-rated system, it could be that. One option being looked at is listing builders alphabetically and rating them in different sections. We’ll see.”
A spokesperson for the DETR said: “We’ll have to wait and see whether it’s tables or something else. The point of the exercise is to come up with the best way to improve the efficiency of the industry.” Top pollster MORI is to conduct the survey, starting its telephone-based research in the next three weeks. It will gather opinions on housebuilders with an output of more than 300 homes a year. These account for 90% of the new-build market. The survey results are due to be published for the Housing Forum conference on 19 October.