The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) aims to support facilitated self-regulation, with the clear objective to reduce consumer detriment whilst raising business standards. It ensures businesses within the scheme not only uphold the law but strive to achieve the highest standards within the self-regulated sectors. The CCAS vision now sits firmly within the CTSI Charter in that it supports consumers and encourages businesses to be honest and transparent.
One important sector embracing self-regulation through widespread sign-up to codes approved by the CCAS is that of new home building. With the cost and complexity of home purchases this is historically an area with the potential for significant consumer detriment and it is therefore essential that consumers have access to information and the reassurance of independent oversight and adherence to standards.
Whilst Government has considered the introduction of legislation within this sector, there are currently no mandatory requirements for builders and/or developers to sign up to any code of practice or self-regulatory organisation. While it may be a requirement of the builder’s home warranty body’s rules of registration, the self-regulation offered by CCAS therefore continues to fulfil a very important role in protecting consumers and legitimate businesses.
CCAS currently approves five Code Sponsor schemes whose members work within the new homes sector and who ensure there are robust and meaningful protections, going over and above simple compliance with legislation, for new home buyers. All of the five schemes adhere to the strict compliance requirements of CCAS and there is no one mandatory scheme within this sector. The current approved schemes are:
- Advantage Home Construction Insurance (AHCI)
- Sennocke – Build Zone Insurance
- Consumer Code for Home Builders (CCHB)
- Consumer Code for New Homes (CCNH)
- International Construction Warranties (ICW)
It has come to our notice that public statements have been made suggesting that there is a statutory based scheme that all new home developers are required to join. This is not the case and developers remain at liberty to join any of the existing approved schemes. Any future false statements will be treated very seriously and investigated.
The recently developed New Home Quality Board (NHQB), offering membership directly to developers, while remaining voluntary, is currently in the process of aligning to the CCAS requirements, with the aim to join the current list of approved code schemes. Other sponsors of codes within the sector also applying for CCAS approval include: ARK, Architects Certificate Aedis, Compariqo and iKnowa.
The new homes sector is complex; however, the scope of the CCAS scheme guarantees that all approved codes and their members promote and maintain the robust principles aligning to CCAS, the highest standards of self-regulatory schemes in the UK. The scheme endorses sector collaboration and with CCAS at the heart of a booming new homes self-regulated sector we believe that the scheme can be instrumental in maintaining consumer protection in this sector.