Padraig Venney, Regional Director at NHBC reviews BFT Ireland 2023 and considers some of the key issues and important insights it offers for the house-building industry in Ireland.
A VIEW FROM BFT IRELAND 2023 WITH PADRAIG VENNEY, REGIONAL DIRECTOR AT NHBC
Building for Tomorrow (BFT) has now been a staple of the construction events calendar for over 30 years, with events across the UK and a tailored agenda for BFT Ireland to reflect this country’s unique outlook.
As you would expect from NHBC and their mission to raise standards and protect homeowners, the main message from all the BFT events in 2023 was to always aim for ‘right first time’ and encourage housebuilders to continue to consider things through a customer care lens. With this customer-centred approach in mind it was valuable to hear from speakers from the New Homes Ombudsman (NHO) and New Homes Quality Board (NHQB), as well as NHBC’s own experts in claims and homeowner satisfaction.
And, of course, there was also insight into issues specific to Northern Ireland, including Northern Ireland Water’s view on constrained network issues.
Padraig Venney, Regional Director at NHBC
NORTHERN IRELAND WATER
An insightful presentation was shared by Gary Curran, Head of Metering & Billing at Northern Ireland Water. He considered the network issues faced by Northern Ireland and what this organisation is endeavouring to do to mitigate the impact.
This includes several initiatives such as a programme of improvements on the sewerage system on the Dublin Road, part of a £1.5 million investment to strengthen the existing sewers in Newry, and a £7.8 million programme of work at Meadow Lane, Portadown to upgrade the wastewater infrastructure and reduce the risk of flooding.
NEW HOMES OMBUDSMAN
A notable change in the house-building industry for 2023 is the arrival of the New Homes Ombudsman and New Homes Quality Board. The New Homes Ombudsman herself Alison MacDougall spoke passionately about her customer service and care focus, and shared her extensive experience in investigation, adjudication and resolution.
She also clarified that the role of the NHO was to help the industry and consumers, as well as resolving complaints.
NEW HOMES QUALITY BOARD
Leon Livermore explained how the NHQB has a mission of working to the New Home Quality Code and delivering better outcomes without overburdening developers.
Again, it was a pleasure to hear from a speaker with such a wealth of insight and experience, and the drive to make homes right and help every developer of every new home treat people well for the benefit of both homeowners and businesses.
CLAIMS AND SATISFYING HOMEOWNERS
The event also offered an opportunity to learn more from NHBC on one of this organisation’s areas of expertise: claims and homeowner satisfaction.
The speakers, including NHBC’s Kim Carter Head of Claims Consumer Strategy and Paul Cribbens Head of Technical Claims, clearly understood that protecting the homeowner’s interests at a time of such rapid change is challenging but essential.
They shared the latest information on growing consumer expectations across all areas of statutory and regulatory standards and codes, as well as the ‘focus on fairness’ within the Building Safety Act 2022.
BFT events in Ireland are a great way to find out more about the latest topics and issues facing the industry as well as an excellent opportunity to network.