Customers

Build quality

We aim to lead the industry in quality standards. We invest in training and process improvements to ensure consistently high standards and we reduce quality issues through inspections throughout the build process.

Employees

Our quality processes cover both the homes we build and the products and materials used to build them.

We aim to lead the industry in quality standards. We invest in training and process improvements to ensure consistently high standards and we reduce quality issues through inspections throughout the build process.

Getting things right first time reduces costs and is important from an environmental perspective as fewer mistakes mean less waste, fewer deliveries to site and homes that perform to the energy-efficiency standards we expect.

How are we rated?

The independent NHBC CQR score measures build quality at key build stages. In 2022, our average score was 4.81 (2021: 4.67) compared to an industry benchmark group average of 4.6 (2021: 4.43). We met our target to achieve at least a 4.1 rating in each regional business and 93% of build stages scored at least four. We rank first nationally against housebuilders that have more than 100 build stages (which excludes self build and very small housebuilders).

Our approach was recognised by the NHBC Pride in the Job scheme which celebrates the role of site managers in building high quality new homes. The results are based on independent site inspections. We received 62 Pride in the Job Quality Awards, 15 Seal of Excellence Awards and 3 Regional Awards.

Roles and responsibilities

Build quality on site is overseen by our UK Head of Production, who works closely with our Group Customer Director. We have recruited Quality Managers across the majority of our regional businesses. They work closely with Production Directors, Customer Directors, site teams, contractors and suppliers to review performance and address quality issues. Our Group Management Team (GMT) of executive leaders overviews progress on our quality standards and quality KPIs. This includes a monthly review of progress at sites with quality improvement plans.

Our technical, safety and procurement teams review the quality of products used to build our homes.

Incentivising performance

Quality and customer service are incentivised from the top of the organisation, and linked to a significant portion of our Executive Incentive Scheme. We track progress and calculate bonus payouts using a combination of internal and independent external measures which include: HBF 8-week customer survey results; the number of NHBC claims; CQR scores conducted independently by the NHBC, and the average reportable items per inspection found during NHBC inspections at key stages of the build. We also integrate customer service and quality into the corporate bonus scheme for all employees.

Quality at every stage

Product quality and safety

When we specify a new product for use in our homes it must first go through a rigorous review process involving our safety, technical, sales, supply chain and production teams.

We assess whether it meets our technical performance requirements (such as performance, durability and longevity, warranty, efficiency and ease of installation), whether it is safe to install, maintain and use, and whether it can be procured in sufficient quantities. Our Functional Interface Group, chaired by our R&D Manager, oversees research and trials of new products. 

The products we use in our homes are manufactured and tested in line with relevant British and European Standards. In addition, most products have also undergone a third party independent assessment in line with the NHBC Standards – Material Requirements. 

Contractors working on our sites, principal contractors and design contractors must obtain third party H&S accreditation to demonstrate they have an adequate HSE management system, training process and risk assessment.

Employee and subcontractor training

Our quality training includes our Production Academy and training on our finishing standards for our Customer Relationship Managers. We also run regular online masterclasses. During 2023 we are training our production teams on the new requirement to create a photographic record at key stages of the build. We will be further developing our training and skills programmes to support the introduction of the Future Homes Standard.

Trade subcontractors are trained on the correct installation of key products to ensure a quality build and also attend training sessions run by our quality, site and safety teams, and by the NHBC.

Construction

Upskilling through our Production Academy

We want to lead our sector on build quality and to create a learning culture in our teams. Our Academy of Production Excellence is helping us to build the skills of our workforce and enabling our Assistant Site Managers, Site Managers and Production Managers to gain formal job-related qualifications.

Participants complete an NVQ at the relevant level, from construction site supervision to construction senior management and technical courses developed by the NHBC and adapted to reflect our business. These cover the NHBC warranty, effective snagging, defects prevention, site environmental management, leadership skills, commercial awareness and project management. We’ve also integrated development programmes to support progress to more senior roles and enhance our succession pipeline.

The Academy supports our production teams to deliver the high-quality homes our customers expect. Other business benefits include improved employee engagement and retention by providing clear career and development pathways for production employees. Since the introduction of the Production Academy and other changes to our quality assurance processes we have significantly improved our CQR score, which is determined via independent NHBC inspections at key build stages.

There were 472 employees enrolled on the Academy of Production Excellence in 2022.