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NHBC or Architects certificate - are these the same?
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# 1
merlinthehappypig
Old 25-10-2007, 4:11 PM
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Default NHBC or Architects certificate - are these the same?

We are considering an offer on a new build, but not one from a major housebuilder. This is an individual new build from a local builder. It doesn't have a NHBC certificate, but does have an architects certificate which the estate agents are saying is 'better'.

Taking everything any estate agent says with a pinch of salt, does anyone know the difference between the two and, more importantly, does an architects certificate give us any form of guarantee like the NHBC one does?

The builder is a small local one who has developed a 2 acre plot with this house. The quality looks better than most new builds (better than my Barratt one from 24 years ago anyway!), but what do I know? Obviously he won't have the resources of someone like Barratt if any problems develop.

I've never bought a brand new house, but I am assuming that I wouldn't normally need to bother with a full survey if there was a NHBC certificate.

Thanks
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# 2
Debt_Free_Chick
Old 25-10-2007, 4:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriseast View Post
Taking everything any estate agent says with a pinch of salt, does anyone know the difference between the two and, more importantly, does an architects certificate give us any form of guarantee like the NHBC one does?
It should be at least as good as an NHBC one, yes - but I understand that the NHBC includes a warranty, which an Architect's certificate doesn't. In particular, if the developer goes out of business, then the NHBC warranty takes on some (all?) of their contractual obligations, but there is no-one to undertake this if the Architect goes bust.

That said, the guarantee is usually from the Architect, personally, or from a specific firm - so you get that firm's personal attention to any issues, rather than having to deal with the rather "impersonal" NHBC - which is a "front" organisation for the individual developer.

However, you should do more research. This is really one for professional advice, unless you are confident with comparing the contractual terms of the Architect's Certificate with those included in the NHBC guarantee/warranty.
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# 3
merlinthehappypig
Old 25-10-2007, 4:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debt_Free_Chick View Post
It should be at least as good as an NHBC one, yes - but I understand that the NHBC includes a warranty, which an Architect's certificate doesn't. In particular, if the developer goes out of business, then the NHBC warranty takes on some (all?) of their contractual obligations, but there is no-one to undertake this if the Architect goes bust.

That said, the guarantee is usually from the Architect, personally, or from a specific firm - so you get that firm's personal attention to any issues, rather than having to deal with the rather "impersonal" NHBC - which is a "front" organisation for the individual developer.

However, you should do more research. This is really one for professional advice, unless you are confident with comparing the contractual terms of the Architect's Certificate with those included in the NHBC guarantee/warranty.
Thanks for that.

My feeling was that the quality and service from the architect would probably exceed that of a larger housebuilder. I will take further advice, of course, if we decide to go ahead. It was the warranty I was concerned about and didn't think it would be as comprehensive as the NHBC one, despite what the EA said.
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# 4
Debt_Free_Chick
Old 25-10-2007, 4:53 PM
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Be careful with warranties as they are worded in careful legal language.

Terms such as "best endeavours" are frequent, meaning that "whilst we'll do our best to resolve the issue, we cannot promise that we'll do so and our warranty gives us no obligation to do so"!!

A warranty has a very specific legal meaning and is entirely dependent on its wording

Good Luck - post back if you have further issues

Last edited by Debt_Free_Chick; 25-10-2007 at 5:08 PM.
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# 5
Richard Webster
Old 26-10-2007, 9:41 AM
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I have never understood that an architect's certificate gives the same kind of cover that an NHBC certificate would. The architect warrants that the house has been properly constructed in accordance with the regulations and the plans and specifications etc. If it turns out that something is wrong then you may be able to sue the architect for making a negligent misstatement, but you would have to prove his negligence in that respect.

As I understand it an NHBC or Zurich Municipal certificate is wider because, given that the item in question is covered, you only have show the existence of the defect, not negligence on the part of the professional concerned.

The reason for the requirement for either Architect's Certificate or NHBC/Zurich is to give the confidence factor. If something goes wrong it can still be something of a hassle to get it all sorted. Obviously builders lose their registration with NHBC if there are continuing foul ups that are not put right so it is probably true that major national builders will remedy things to avoid adverse publicity whereas Fred the local builder won't care so much about his reputation.
RICHARD WEBSTER

As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful assuming any properties concerned are in England/Wales but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.
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# 6
merlinthehappypig
Old 26-10-2007, 10:25 AM
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Thanks Richard. That's broadly what I thought - both show that things have been done in accordance with the regulations, but the architects certificate, in itself, doesn't offer any from of warranty.
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# 7
Jonbvn
Old 26-10-2007, 10:48 AM
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http://www.newbuildinspections.com/a...rtificate.html

This is not a warranty and should not be mistaken for one. It is simply a statement from the architect that the property has been built in accordance with standard and accepted building principles. You should ask your solicitor to check the architect's professional indemnity insurance to ensure you can claim if a structural defect does arise.

There is no protection in case the builder goes out of buisness during the build period and snagging defects are not covered during the first two years of ownership.
In case you hadn't already worked it out - the entire global financial system is predicated on the assumption that you're an idiot
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# 8
Sammy85
Old 26-10-2007, 1:17 PM
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Housing estate near us (200 houses) all have architects cert. This is because its a contaminated brown field site and NHBC wont cover the houses on it.

Architects survey supposidly more thorough than NHBC, checking at more than just a couple of stages of building, but im not an expert on this.

Also some mortgage companies wont give you a mortage on one of these properties. 3 of the MAJOR banks in our town wont lend on them.

Beware, there is a reason he hasnt paid for NHBC.

Hope that helps,
Sammy
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Proud mummy to a beautiful baby girl born 22/12/11
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# 9
denstone
Old 28-03-2010, 10:20 AM
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Default architects certificate - v - NHBC

An architect's certificate is only a warranty in the sense that the issuing professional undertakes (by means of a signed CML certificate) that the subject property is built in accordance with the approved plans, complies with building regulations and is to a good standard. This undertaking is primarily for the use of banks and building societies as a security for a loan. The lender is provided with an assurance of the standard of construction, which is backed by the issuing architect's professional indemnity insurance. THIS IS NOT A LATENT DEFECTS POLICY. The NHBC provide an insurance backed guarantee and should intervene to provide a remedy to a problem, although some are excluded in their 'small print'. In all cases the builder is liable for the first two years following practical completion.

The larger guarantee providers, such as the NHBC, are not always the best choice for the smaller house builder, developer or self-builder since:
1. They will not step in if you have already commenced on site.
2. They act on behalf of their scheme member i.e. the contractor
3. They will require a bond payment from unregistered builders
4. All fees have to be paid up front whether the guarantee is issued or not
5. Often their inspectors are not chartered professionals

The whole point of any inspected scheme is to primarily ensure that the dwelling is built to such a standard that problems are eliminated. In this respect a chartered architect or surveyor will provide a more diligent service than an employee of a large company because they are personally liable in cases of negligence.

Remember that a chartered professional has undertaken at least seven years of study, examination and supervision by senior architects before given licence to practice. Their repuation and their future in the industry depends totally upon the quality of their service ('duty of care').

It is much more important to have a property free from defects in the first place.

T.W.Bartlett MRICS MCIOB
architectscertificate.co.uk
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# 10
Milliewilly
Old 28-03-2010, 1:01 PM
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Firstly some lenders won't consider anything other than NHBC or Zurich.

Zurich pulled out of new build insurance last year.

If you need a mortgage check with your lender to see if they will accept and architects certificate - remember if you sell on in less than 10 years your buyers will have the same issues.
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# 11
timmyt
Old 28-03-2010, 8:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milliewilly View Post
Firstly some lenders won't consider anything other than NHBC or Zurich.

Zurich pulled out of new build insurance last year.

If you need a mortgage check with your lender to see if they will accept and architects certificate - remember if you sell on in less than 10 years your buyers will have the same issues.

most cml lenders accept architects cetificate

see:

http://www.cml.org.uk/cml/handbook/england
My posts are just my opinions and are not offered as legal advice - though I consider them darn fine opinions none the less.

My bad spelling...well I rush type these opinions on my own time, so sorry, but they are free.
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# 12
marcg
Old 28-03-2010, 10:06 PM
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An architect's certificate shows only that the build has been completed to the architect's best ability to inspect the works.

Translation - I don't spend 24/7 on site. Nor am I expected to. I go, usually once a week, and walk around. I don't lift sheets of plasterboard nor do I get down and rub loose bits of mastic. As such my certificate shows that the major things appear to be in order. And I have a lot of legal words that limit my statement to that effect. So you can only sue me for something glaringly obvious being wrong.

And that's if you can sue me at all. In domestic (householder rather than business) works, my warranty is to the client (the developer) only. You as the onward purchaser have no claim against me since you don't pay me. In some circumstances the developer will ask for collateral warranties (where I agree to extend any legal duty of care to other people) but typically this is to "reasonable" business people, not pernickety homebuyers. I wouldn't be able to afford my insurance premiums if I opened myself up to (in a lot of cases) silly claims over trivial matters. The lawyers fees would be astronomical.

The NHBC is set up to deal with this lower level of defects - typically the WC starts to back up because of bad installation or whatever. So the NHBC insures you against that sort of thing.

An architect's certificate is only of value to

1. The actual person who employs the architect.
2. The bank that person has borrowed the money from.
3. A business buying out that person.

For the normal householder the NHBC is the one you want.
I'm an ARB-registered RIBA-chartered architect. However, no advice given over the internet can be truly relied upon since the person giving the advice hasn't actually got enough information to give it with confidence. Go and pay someone!
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# 13
marcg
Old 28-03-2010, 10:50 PM
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Thinking further about the OP.

No NHBC means you would need to sue the developer in the event of something being wrong. He might, in turn, sue the architect but this would be up to him. Your claim would be against him alone. In practice, you are no better off than buying a Victorian house from AN Other. What guarantees is the developer offering that the house isn't about to fall down/the carpets aren't made of paper? If all that is on offer is the architect's certificate then you have nothing.

Imagine that the sealant around the shower tray has been badly done and that water is getting behind the tiles, through the floor and into the recessed spotlights in the kitchen below. The whole ceiling and a lot of the wiring will need replacing. Even if the architect's certificate has been extended to you, how is this the architect's fault? You don't expect the architect to check every nail has been fully hammered in, every joint properly mastic'd? No, you sue the builder/developer. If they have disappeared, then you have nothing.

And usually, you are buying from a limited company, not an individual. And developers often set up companies for each project - so they sell, pay themselves the profit as dividends and leave the hollow company to be sued for the mistakes.

So, in conclusion - either buy "as seen", same as any Victorian house, or get an NHBC/Zurich warranty.
I'm an ARB-registered RIBA-chartered architect. However, no advice given over the internet can be truly relied upon since the person giving the advice hasn't actually got enough information to give it with confidence. Go and pay someone!
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# 14
Milliewilly
Old 29-03-2010, 1:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmyt View Post
most cml lenders accept architects cetificate

see:

http://www.cml.org.uk/cml/handbook/england

If by architects certificate you mean the architect buys an indemnity policy? Its my understanding the lender wants an indemnity for 10 years which an architects certificate doesn't provide?

A quick read of the link shows the biggies Halifax, Nationwide make no mention of accepting an architects certificate in their terms. I know from personal experience the Woolwich won't.
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# 15
denstone
Old 05-04-2010, 12:08 PM
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Default architects certificate

I'd like to correct some of the comments of the previous contributors.

An architect's certificate (now known as professional consultants certificate) is issued in a standardised format prescribed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This new form transfers the architect's liability to all future purchasers of the property during a six year period; the CML form is pre-approved and is accepted by the vast majority of lenders. This enables the builder and/or property owner to sell the property on or to raise finance.

For a self-builder, small developer or anyone contemplating the construction of a dwelling for the first time it is probably the best route to take and in some circumstances the only route to take.

As providers of 'architects certificate' our chartered surveyors take pride in making sure that the finished dwelling is free of serious defects. Our surveyors conduct a full structural survey upon completion and provide a snagging report for the builder. The certificate is not issued until the property complies in all respects. Incidentally, we would perform a similar service for the Victorian house example above i.e. a full structural survey for peace of mind.

As a property owner you should remember that you have responsibilities to properly repair and maintain the dwelling thus avoiding the shower-tray example quoted above. If you had a car with a guarantee it wouldn't be covered if you'd never bothered to change the oil and the engine seized!

It is far better to have a new dwelling free of serious defect than to try to rectify using an insurance policy at some future date...

However, we can provide at additional cost a top-up policy to cover a latent defect.

Architectscertificate.co.uk

Last edited by denstone; 05-04-2010 at 8:32 PM. Reason: spelling
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Milliewilly
Old 05-04-2010, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denstone View Post
I'd like to correct the some comments of the previous contributors.

An architect's certificate (now known as professional consultants certificate) is issued in a standardised format prescribed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. This new form transfers the architect's liability to all future purchasers of the property during a six year period; the CML form is pre-approved and is accepted by the vast majority of lenders. This enable the builder and/or property owner to sell the property on or to raise finance.

For a self-builder, small developer or anyone contemplating the construction of a dwelling for the first time it is probably the best route to take and in some circumstances the only route to take.

As providers of 'architects certificate' our chartered surveyors take pride in making sure that the finished dwelling is free of serious defects. Our surveyors conduct a full structural survey upon completion and provide a snagging report for the builder. The certificate is not issued until the property complies in all respects. Incidentally, we would perform a similar service for the Victorian house example above i.e. a full structural survey for peace of mind.

As a property owner you should remember that you have responsibilities to properly repair and maintain the dwelling thus avoiding the shower-tray example quoted above. If you had a car with a guarantee it wouldn't be covered if you'd never bothered to change the oil and the engine seized!

It is far better to have a new dwelling free of serious defect than to try to rectify using an insurance policy at some future date...

However, we can provide at additional cost a top-up policy to cover a latent defect.

Architectscertificate.co.uk
There's no mention of Architect's certificate and / or professional consultants certificate on the current CML website lenders details.

I don't see how this really differs from a standard Structural survey as they would carry indemnity agains missing any serious defects and you can sue them upto 7 years after the date of survey.

In my experience Lenders are anxious about how the building has been constructed which can only be determined by inspections whilst the build is ongoing. They were also adamant about the '10 year' rule - so how do you overcome this at only 6 years?
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# 17
denstone
Old 05-04-2010, 8:27 PM
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Millie, try to google 'cml certificate' for the main explanatory page.

If you can't find it this is the content:

Lenders will generally only lend on a newly built (or newly converted) property where the property is covered by a warranty scheme (for example, NHBC warranty) or the CML Professional Consultant Certificate.
Lenders' full new build requirements are set out in the Lenders' Handbook (in section 6.6). The Lenders' Handbook provides comprehensive instructions for conveyancers acting on behalf of lenders in residential conveyancing transactions.
The CML Professional Consultant Certificate can only be signed by a consultant with one or more of the qualifications listed in section 6.6.4 of the Lenders' Handbook (for example, fellow or associate of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). By signing the certificate the consultant confirms that he has monitored the construction of the property and that he will remain liable to the owner and any lenders for six years.


Six years is now the industry minimum standard... properties older than 6 years are properties of long-standing not requiring any such warranty.



We monitor the new-build or conversion from the time we are instructed, commencing with an in-depth analysis of all available technical criteria inc. working drawings, soils examintion, structural calcs, planning permission etc. then through the complete build program... a full structural survey is carried out at practical completion. Any suspect work has to be opened up for inspection and we also examine the local authority building inspection records before issuing any insurance certificate.


It differs from the usual structural survey in as much that the signatory to the CML PCC undertakes to carry over his liability to subsequent lenders in a six year period.

A ten year NHBC guarantee (being a full latent defects policy) is obviously better for total peace of mind, but is not necessary to achieve a sale or re-finance deal etc.

Last edited by denstone; 05-04-2010 at 8:30 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
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# 18
christt
Old 01-09-2010, 10:28 PM
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Hi, I have been reading all of the above and trying to build a new house for myself with a view to be able to sell if I have to in the coming months or years, but I am still not sure if should go with either NHBC, LABC, or Architect Certificate. Beside I am not sure what the price difference is between them?

Thanks
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# 19
sarah69696pink
Old 01-09-2010, 10:36 PM
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Maybe not what you want to hear....and of course every development will be different. But I had a really bad expereince 4 years ago when I bought a new build with an architects certificate. All this is to say is that the building is structurally sound really....so any little problems (e.g. my bathroom was not fitted properly, my kitchen had issues, I had numberous leaks due to bad plumbing, my window leaks and my neighbours had rats because the builders did not seal a hole) and as there was no warranty nothing was covered!
But as I said this is just my experience and I'm sure there are people who've had bad expereinces with NHBC too.
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# 20
denstone
Old 21-09-2010, 5:31 PM
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If you are building the property yourself or perhaps overseeing the build then you will be personally responsible for any defects especially within the first two years no matter which scheme you go for.

An 'Architects Certificate' is purely a financial instrument to enable the builder/developer to sell the property on, raise a mortgage or even rent the property and re-finance with a buy-to-let deal.

If you wish to sell the property and pass on to the buyer the benefit of a warranty then you should use the NHBC, Premier or one of the other latent defects schemes. 'An Architects Certificate' WILL NOT provide any defects cover. However, by using a reputable provider of professional consultants certificate you will have the peace of mind that a professional has checked the build program (including the technical info) and also you will have the paperwork to fulfil the needs of your financial lender.

Using our scheme you should save around 50% and will not have to pay out any membership fees or security bonds.

Denstone Chartered Surveyors.
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