Homeowners slam Barratt, Beazer and Countryside but Redrow and Crest come top of the class.
Barratt Homes and Beazer Group were among the housebuilders that scored badly in the first-ever national survey of customer satisfaction. Barratt scored one star in each of the government-backed survey’s seven categories and Beazer scored one star in six categories.

The survey, carried by MORI for the Housing Forum, found that eight out of 10 owners of new homes complained of defects. It also found 30% were dissatisfied with the service they received from their housebuilder. However, 87% said they were satisfied with their home.

Redrow Homes was one of six companies to be awarded three stars in each category. The other top dogs were Crest Homes, Harwood Homes, JS Bloor, Jelson, Midland and General. Meanwhile, Beazer Group chief executive John Low admitted that there might have been customer service failings at the firm. He said: “In 1998 we launched a number of pioneering customer-focused initiatives that maybe, with hindsight, we introduced too soon, as we did not have the necessary resources in place to support them. “However we have been making great efforts to improve the situation and have relaunched our quality standards scheme.” Beazer owns Charles Church Homes, which also did badly.

Countryside Properties, Henry Boot Homes, Tay Homes and Maunders also failed to score more than one star in most categories and could not be judged on others because the data was not accurate enough.

Countryside chief executive Graham Cherry said he was disappointed at the firm’s result but claimed that it was more difficult to please customers on bespoke schemes. He said: “The results do not tie up with the positive feedback we have had from our own survey and one by the National House Building Council. We are not making excuses but this doesn’t take account of location and the environment we are building in.”

We are not making excuses but this doesn’t take account of location and the environment we are building in

Graham Cherry, Countryside Homes

Redrow Homes chief executive Paul Pedley said his firm’s triple star ratings were a credit to the staff. He said: “Customers are becoming more demanding and there is always the potential for these surveys to give answers you did not expect.”

The survey was based on responses from 10 283 customers of the 59 largest housebuilders. They were interviewed by MORI researchers in August and September last year.

Homeowners were asked to rate housebuilders on overall satisfaction with the quality of their home, construction and finish, and value for money.

Service from the housebuilder was rated on overall satisfaction, condition of the house on moving day and on after-sales service. The ratings were originally to have been set out in the form of league tables but housebuilders said this would leave firms exposed to stock market reaction, so star ratings were introduced. The survey was jointly funded by the Housing Forum and the DETR. The forum has promised to publish more results next year.

Survey in brief

  • 11 firms were below the industry average
  • Only six firms got three stars in all seven categories
  • 81% reported housing defects and snags
  • 52% would recommend their housebuilder
  • 87% of new home owners are satisfied