Last week, the New Homes Quality Board announced new members that have been appointed ahead of the new ombudsman service launch this summer. This includes Leon Livermore who will take the role of Chief Executive, Rob Brighouse as the Chair and three other board members. This announcement follows claims that the organisation lacked independence as it was previously chaired by Tory MP, Natalie Elphicke, who came under the spotlight for having the role as a second job.

The NHQB is the independent body which has been set up by the government to oversee a new framework to ensure better quality in the housebuilding industry.

However, this industry body has now been criticized for the lack of Architects which have been appointed onto the team and the lack of design experts. The Former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Ben Derbyshire, was critical of the team and said the lack of representatives with a design background is ‘inexplicable’.

Derbyshire went on to say “Design in British housing, especially mass housing is generally very poor. Good Architects are notably absent from housebuilding and that is never going to change as long as the profession is not represented on the NHQB”.

The new government-backed body has also faced claims that it lacks representation from ‘ordinary’ homeowners and the BAME community as after the pandemic there has been a proven correlation between poor housing standards, overcrowding and death from Covid-19 among ethnic minorities.

Cym D’Souza, a Chief Executive of Arawak Walton Housing Association, an organisation specializing in the needs of Black and minority ethnic communities, said “How does this Board have any lived experience of what it is like for the ‘ordinary’ person to go up against large developers when they are unhappy with their homes and ultimately how the framework supports the building of new quality homes in this respect

The creation of the New Homes Ombudsman has stated the objective is improving homebuyers’ experience for new build buyers who have “issues with their new home or developer” but what’s missing from the board is the actual perspective of buyers of newly owned properties. Someone is required who understands the consumer and the issues that buyers face when buying or owning a new-build property.

A spokespersons for the NHQB said the new board appointments have been made utilizing a public recruitment process, and include a mix of representatives from consumer bodies, housebuilders, warranty provider, lenders and independents. The Board is fully committed to diversity and inclusion.