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Column 2nd May 2018

Bovis Homes is a case study in how not to build a brand

A few weeks ago I used Persimmon as an example in an article about house prices and this week I want to look at the build quality of new homes.

This has been triggered by recent articles in the National Press about the number of Bovis customers who have complained about the quality of their homes.

Homeowners say they have reported leaks, poor drainage, bug infestations, unfinished gardens and badly-constructed walls.

Bovis has also been accused of failing to adequately to repair defects.

An anonymous whistleblower told the newspaper staff that there is a 'deliberate' strategy in place to put off dealing with customer complaints so they eventually give up.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) sends out a survey to owners who had bought homes from all major developers and in the year from September 2016 they sent out 93,444 questionnaires of which 57,972 were returned, a response rate of 62%.

They ask a number of questions including:

  • would you recommend your builder to a friend? Only 50% said yes.
  • how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the condition of your new home on the day you moved in? 10% were fairly or very dissatisfied.
  • Have you reported any problems with your new home to your builder since you moved in? 99% said yes.
  • Approximately how many problems have you reported to your builder? 25% had more than 16 problems.

The results of the survey result in an HBF star rating and of the developers working in our area covered by the survey:

St Modwen and Bellway received 5*, Taylor Wimpey and Bloor received 4*, Persimmon received 3* and Bovis received 2* (the lowest of any firm listed).

Bovis was responsible for building 190 homes on the “Letcombe Fields” development, is currently building 89 homes on “Faringdon Fields” (near the A420) and will be building 150 homes on King Alfred’s East Site (or Icknield School for those of an older generation).

Bovis completed on 3,645 homes during the year, of which (extrapolating from the HBF figures) approximately 1,200 new home owners would not recommend their builder to a friend.

Bovis profits before tax were £114m. That’s about £31,000 per property which is about half the £60,000 that Persimmon receive.

As the house prices aren’t significantly different, this suggests that Bovis are spending money on other things and it doesn’t appear to be the quality of the homes that they build.

Perhaps it’s the cost of the complaints management team.


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