Your new Avant home comes with the comfort and assurance provided by the NHBC 10 year Buildmark Warranty. In the first two years of this warranty Avant Homes are responsible for addressing any issues you may have that are covered under the terms of the warranty, after which time the NHBC will assume responsibility for the remaining term.
In the unlikely event of you experiencing issues with your new home, this guide provides you with additional information about some issues (not exhaustive) which can occur. It also advises on what constitutes an issue/defect, explains what can be done about it, and details where responsibility sits.
It also references the importance of logging damages at the First ‘In-Home’ Visit (FIHV), as Avant Homes will not be held responsible for damages that occur post occupation after this time.
In addition to this document, we have a comprehensive ‘Hints, Tips & Guides’ section that covers a host of additional areas and provides guides and videos to help you maintain and enjoy your new home. This can be found under the “Contact & Support” section of the Avant Homes website, or by clicking here.
Internal Door Adjustments
It is common for internal doors to need adjusting as your new home settles. This is not a defect and is a result of your home naturally drying out following the build process. The natural products used in the construction of your home mean that materials can expand and contract as they dry out and are exposed to the temperature changes resulting from you living in your new home.
This issue usually occurs within the first 12 months of your home being occupied, but if it happens at all within the first two years of your occupancy, please contact your Customer Service team and we will arrange for any adjustments to be made.
Decoration, Shrinkage (walls and woodwork) & Nail pops
The paintwork in your home should be uniform when viewed from a distance of 2m in natural daylight. It should also be free from conspicuous runs or drips, and there should be very few prominent brush marks.
The paintwork on your walls is not designed to be a final finish. Walls receive two coats of quality emulsion, but no more. This is to allow the walls to breath and dry out naturally. Creating a barrier that is too thick can result in future issues with mildew and mould forming if moisture is trapped under several layers of paint. This is why it is advisable not to decorate in the first 12 months of occupation to allow the natural drying out process to occur.
Cracking or shrinkage to walls, ceilings and internal woodwork joints is also expected as part of this natural drying out process. We will ensure that we attend to any excessive shrinkage (cracks over 2mm on walls/ceilings and 4mm on stair strings) but cosmetic repairs (filling/sanding/painting of minor cracking) should be undertaken by you the homeowner at the point you decorate your home (recommended after 12 months of occupation)
We will however ensure that there is no obvious shrinkage visible at your First ‘In-home’ Visit (FIHV) carried out by your site manager, and any that has occurred we will attend to. All future non- excessive instances are the homeowner’s responsibility as part of your normal maintenance program.
In relation to nail pops, these are also a natural consequence of the drying out process. For rooms with less than six, this would be considered normal shrinkage & settlement and therefore would not be covered by the warranty. More than 6 will be attended to.
IMPORTANT: Any damage to paintwork (chips/scrapes/marks etc) must be reported at your FIHV. However, we must advise that we reserve the right to refuse these works if it is evident that these are excessive or are as a result of any carelessness during the moving in period, or whilst in occupation.
Tiling and Grouting
Your wall tiling should have straight joints with a minimum of 1mm gaps. It is acceptable under the NHBC standards to have some surface level variations, but these should not exceed 3mm over a 2m straight edge with equal offsets.
The grout used is designed to be a durable product to give good performance throughout the two-year warranty period post occupation. Any issues with the performance of the grout in the first two years should be reported to your Customer Service Team. After that period, it is your responsibility to maintain the condition of the grout:
- Homeowners are required to maintain/replenish grout to ensure maximum performance and avoid water ingress.
- The warranty does not cover the effects of wear and tear, neglect or failure to carry out the appropriate maintenance & cleaning.
- Discolouration/mould on grout is not considered a defect and is the homeowner’s responsibility to rectify.
- Any actual damage or workmanship issues at handover must be reported to your site manager during the First In-Home Visit (FIHV).
Mastic (Sanitary ware)
The mastic that is applied around your sanitary ware (Baths/Showers/Sinks etc) should have a neat and tidy appearance. The mastic will need homeowner maintenance over the lifetime of the home, although we would expect the product to perform well over the first 2 years of occupation.
Any issues relating to the condition of the mastic must be reported to the site manager at the FIHV.
It is important that you clean the mastic using appropriate products, and maintain/repair any localised areas that fail after the first two years. Avant Homes will not be held responsible for any water damage that results from unreported or poorly maintained mastic failures.
The 2 year warranty does not cover the effects of wear & tear, neglect or failure to carry out the appropriate maintenance & cleaning.
IMPORTANT: When cleaning please check that the cleaning products used are appropriate for use on mastic so as not to damage it.
Flooring - Damages and Maintenance
Any damages to finished floors must be reported to the site manager at the FIHV. Avant will not accept responsibility for any damages in an occupied home if they have not been raised at this time.
If there is an issue with a carpet that requires replacement, NHBC guidelines advise that Avant Homes are not obliged to replace any other carpets if there is a variation in colour due to the replacement being from a different batch.
In relation to hard flooring such as Amtico/Moduleo, floors must be level in line with NHBC guidelines. Should you have any issues in this regard, your floor will be inspected in line with these guidelines, and any remedial work carried out in accordance with the findings.
In relation to ceramic floor tiling, this will be installed in line with NHBC tolerances. If you are in any way unhappy with the finish/levels, you should raise the issue with the Customer Service team. An inspection will be undertaken to check adherence to the NHBC tolerances, and remedial works undertaken if/where required.
There is no obligation to re-tile an entire floor due to localised repairs, and a re-tile to a natural break point is considered acceptable. NHBC guidelines advise that Avant Homes are not obliged to replace any other areas if there is a variation in colour due to the replacement being from a different batch.
Please also ensure that you clean your floor with appropriate manufacturer recommended products as neither Avant Homes nor the manufacturer will accept liability for issues that arise through usage of unsuitable cleaning agents.
Garage Floors & Garage Usage
Any garage walls constructed from a single leaf of masonry will not be impervious to driven rain, and consequently they can become damp. To that extent some level of water penetration can occur, and as such the garage is not considered suitable for storage of perishable items that could be damaged by damp conditions. Avant Homes will not accept any liability for damages caused by the garage being used in this way.
The effects of normal drying out of the concrete garage floor can result in minor cosmetic cracking. These cracks are not classified as a defect by the NHBC. Should you have any concerns please contact your Customer Service team who will be able to advise you should you believe your issues fall outside these parameters as described.
Windows & Glazing
In the event you experience any issues with the operation of your widows (opening/closing/locking etc) these should be reported to the Customer Service team.
Any damages to the frames or glass should be reported to the site manager at FIHV. In relation to the glass in your home, the NHBC give explicit instructions on how to assess any issues:
- Glass should be viewed in daylight from within the room and from at least 2m away from the panes (or 3m for toughened, laminated or coated glass).
- The following are acceptable if they are neither obtrusive or bunched: bubbles or blisters, hairlines or blobs, fine scratches not more than 25mm long or minute particles.
- The above does not apply within 6mm of the edge of the pane where minor scratching is acceptable.
With regards to adjustments, it is worth noting that windows and bi-fold doors can sometimes become difficult to close/lock following periods of hot weather due to heat expansion.
Whilst this can be quite common during periods of hot weather, is not a warranty item. If the issue has been caused by hot weather, you should dowse the doors in cold water to cool the frame which will alleviate the problem. Any issues not relating to hot weather should be reported to the Customer Service team.
Your bifold doors are fitted according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and specified NHBC tolerances in relation to levels etc. Any issues you have with the operation of your doors should be reported to either the site manager at FIHV, or the Customer Service team thereafter.
Any damages to the doors (scratches/marks/dents etc) must be reported at FIHV. Avant Homes will not accept liability for any damages raised after that visit or caused by misuse of the doors themselves.
Please refer to the ‘Windows & Glazing ‘section above in relation to any operational issue experienced during hot weather.
External Drainage & Internal Blockages
Issues with drainage systems are rare, but there is much you can do to avoid serious issues. It is imperative that all homeowners take care not to dispose of items such as nappies, sanitary towels and cleaning wipes via the toilets as this could affect the drainage of your own property and indeed neighbouring properties for which we will not be held responsible.
If a blockage is proven to be due to the above, Avant Homes will clear the initial blockage. Our Customer Services will then write to all residents on that drainage run advising them what has occurred, and that any future instance will not be attended by Avant Homes and will become the responsibility of residents affected to resolve between themselves.
In relation to internal drainage issues such as sinks, hair traps in showers etc, please refer to our ‘Hints, Tips & Guides” section on the Avant Homes website under the ‘Contact & Support’ banner, or by clicking here.
Only when confirming that you have attempted to clear these blockages yourself will we consider attending, as these issues fall under the remit of homeowner maintenance.
IMPORTANT: It is important that you regularly clean the shower trap to remove any hair particle build up and soap residue. You may also need to use an appropriate unblocking solution from time to time (e.g Mr Muscle etc)
Brickwork, Mortar & Render
In relation to the mortar alignment on your home, minor misalignments are acceptable if they do not detract from the overall appearance of the wall when viewed from a distance of 10m.
Bricks & other facing materials vary in size, and therefore some variation in the thickness of motor bed joints is common.
The mortar should be reasonably uniform in texture and colour, when viewed from a distance of 10m and considering the overall wall panel. Although the mortar on large areas of brickwork can see some colour variation, excessive colour banding should not occur.
Some minor shrinkage cracking may occur between bricks, block and mortar joints. Remedial work is only required if cracking relates to structural movement or where cracking is significant, and when investigated is deemed likely to affect performance of the brickwork itself. Any cracks which are more than 2mm will also be inspected and repaired if/where required.
In relation to any rendered areas of your home, some hairline cracking and crazing can occur in traditional and proprietary surfaces. This should not impair the performance of the render. Crazing in the render surface should not be more than 0.2mm. You may see some colour variation; this is often due to differences in suction of the background surface and orientation of the wall. This is not considered a defect by the NHBC.
If repairs are needed at any point to the rendered areas of your home, any patching or other repairs may be visible, but we will ensure they are not duly obtrusive. Cracks which are greater than 2mm in width would be considered a defect and require remedial work if they occur within first two years of occupation.
Depending on environmental conditions, you may experience some general algae growth on the render which is a natural occurrence. You should consult with a professional cleaning contractor who specialises in this type of work should you require this cleaning/removing.
We do not recommend that you use a home pressure washer to remove this as this can result in further scarring/damage to the render.
Please ensure you raise any damage to brickwork or render with your site manager at FIHV.
Windowsills & Lintels
Conspicuous surface abrasions and chips caused during installation should not be evident, and if they occur, they should be reported to your site manager at FIHV.
These issues can be remedied in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations which may include filling, polishing out, re-spraying or painting as appropriate.
Cast stone is manufactured with natural products and colour variations can occur. Efflorescence, fungicidal growth and colour variation may occur due to orientation (sun bleaching etc), shading & pollution.
Hairline cracking from thermal movement is not covered by the NHBC warranty. If the crack is greater than 2mm, this would be considered excessive and Avant Homes will investigate with a view to rectify if there are no external signs of any impact damage.
Roof tiles – Slipped or Broken tiles
Slipped roof tiles are not covered under the NHBC warranty unless they have slipped due to inadequate fixing.
If a roof tile has slipped during severe weather conditions, this is also not covered as the warranty does not legislate or protect against loss or damage resulting from storms/adverse weather conditions.
If there is more than one tile affected, or the issue occurs within the first 6 months of occupation (excluding immediately following adverse weather), we will investigate to rule out a fitting issue.
If there is more than one tile broken, or the issue occurs within the first 6 months of occupation we will also investigate, though unless the roof is struck by something externally its unlikely that any breakages would naturally occur. Any damages to tiles visible at the point of occupation or immediately after must be reported at FIHV.
Guttering & Down Pipes
Issues relating to this area are limited but tend to relate to issues such as leaking gutters, gutters out of level or blockages.
It is your responsibility as a homeowner to ensure that the guttering (including downpipes) is free from debris such as leaves etc to guard against blockages.
In relation to the performance of the gutters, should an issue occur Avant would check the spacing of the gutter brackets/supports which should be between 600mm and 800mm dependant on any design specific factors that require additional support at shorter intervals.
If the gutter has collapsed due to the weight of snow, this is considered to be a result of severe weather and is not covered by the warranty. We would however inspect to check that there are no issues with the installation.
Any damages to these areas must be reported to your site manager during the FIHV.
Gardens & Paving
We know that your garden is an important part of your home, and so do the NHBC. To that end they set out some very clear guidelines in terms how potential garden issues should be assessed:
- In order to provide for adequate access and use immediately around the home, areas within 3m from the habitable parts of the home shall not be waterlogged.
- Waterlogging of garden areas within 3m of the habitable parts of the home should be prevented by drainage or other suitable means (including ground preparation)
- After severe/prolonged rainfall, the customer should wait for a period of one hour to see if the water drains away prior to reporting an issue.
- Areas more than 3m from the property are not covered by the NHBC
Garden areas should be stable under foot.
In soft landscaping such as lawned areas, some minor settlement of the ground may occur as the ground settles.
We will carry out a visual inspection to ascertain whether the settlement in question is excessive, and if it is deemed to be excessive, we will carry out appropriate remedial works.
Landscaping & Turf
By landscaping we mean dead/diseased turf/planting, leatherjacket infestation etc.
All landscaping & planting will become the homeowner’s responsibility upon legal completion. Any issues with this area should be raised immediately on handover of the property at your FIHV meeting.
This is critically important if you take occupation of your property in the summer months that you water your turf and any planting. Newly laid turf requires extensive watering for the first 6-8 weeks after laying, and especially during periods devoid of significant rain fall.
Avant Homes will not accept liability for dead/damaged turf due to general neglect by the homeowner. This includes any discolouring of the turf caused by urine damage from pets, or damage caused by heavy traffic caused by pets (Typically dogs)
Garden complaints will be investigated to enable an informed decision to be made. These investigations may involve digging a trial hole to ensure that the NHBC Technical Standards have been met in relation to ground preparation and soil depths.
Any damages to paving must be reported to Avant Homes during the FIHV. The warranty provides cover should any slabs be uneven or loose. Minor settlement however is not covered by the NHBC warranty as this is not considered a defect. It is common to see diagonally cut paving when a corner is being turned, again this is not a defect.
Drives (Including shared drives)
It is not uncommon to see some standing water or “Ponding” after rainfall on drives (or shared drives). This is assessed by waiting one hour after rainfall has stopped by which time areas of temporary standing water should not be deeper than 5mm or exceed 1m2.
If a repair is deemed necessary to a particular section of a driveway, the NHBC states that the builder is not obliged to re-lay the whole surface. The NHBC confirm that a patch repair is acceptable. You should consider the cosmetic impact of a patch repair compared to the issue of standing water before you agree to any works being undertaken. You will be asked for written consent to any patch repair by our Customer Service representatives.
Homeowners should also take care when manoeuvring their vehicles on and off of the driveway to prevent scuffing and marking caused by power steering. This issue can be minimised by ensuring that steering input is limited when the vehicle is stationary or moving very slowly. Cosmetic changes caused by this are not defects and will not be subject to any remedial works
It is also acceptable for repairs to block paved areas to be localised/patched without the requirement for the full area to be replaced. Stains to these areas created by homeowner vehicles will not be remediated.
Should you have an issue with any electrical appliance (white goods such as Oven/Fridge/Freezer/Dishwasher/Dryer/Microwave etc) it is the homeowners responsibility to contact the manufacturer directly to arrange a repair or replacement as required. Details of the appliance manufacturer is provided to you as part of your handover documentation pack.
It is also the homeowner’s responsibility to register the appliances with the manufacturer as soon as you move in to ensure that your warranty is registered and validated.
The warranty on appliances exists directly between you and the manufacturer. Should there be any cosmetic damages to the appliances (scratches/dents etc) you must report these to your site manager at FIHV, as we cannot accept reported damages of this nature after this time.
Garden Fencing & Gates
Garden fencing and gates are not covered by the NHBC warranty. Avant Homes however will attend to any issues relating to fencing/gates where there has been an installation failure.
Storm damage is not covered by the warranty, and the homeowner is required to maintain their fence lines and garden gates as part of normal homeowner maintenance.
Any significant gaps below the fence due to natural settlement of the sub soil is not a defect and can happen over time. However, issues such as this should not be evident at the point you take occupation, and should you identify anything of concern please ensure you raise this with your site manager during your FIHV.
Kitchen worktop maintenance
Kitchen worktops are designed to be used in an environment where cooking and preparation will take place and therefore are designed to withstand normal levels of moisture absorption. Worktop joints and cuts for inset sinks should have an appropriate waterproof joint/seal applied.
However, damage caused by misuse from excessive water on worktops is not be covered by the NHBC warranty. You must also ensure that worktop is cleaned using products which have been recommended by the manufacturer.
We advise that you ensure any spillages are cleared away quickly and that no source of excess water or heat is placed on joints (i.e. kettle, toaster etc.)
Any damages to the worktops (chips/dents/scratches etc) must be reported to your site manager at FIHV, and will not be accepted if reported after this visit.
IMPORTANT: Natural worktops can be susceptible to staining/discolouration. It is recommended that any spillage of a highly coloured liquid (Red wine, tea coffee etc) should be cleaned immediately using an appropriate worktop specific cleaning agent. Avant Homes will not agree to replacing any worktops damaged as a result of this issue.
Kitchen unit doors/draws alignment
Any damages must be reported to your site manager at FIHV. There should be no adjustments needed at the point you move into your new home, but should you notice any alignment issues which you are not happy with please raise them at your FIHV.
Following any initial FIHV adjustments, any future requirement for door adjustments will be the responsibility of the homeowner. Our ‘Hints, Tips & Guides’ section on our website (under the Kitchen & Appliances section) provides full illustrative guidance on how to easily do this.
Kitchen unit delamination or Damage
Kitchen units are designed to be used in an environment where cooking will take place & therefore are designed not perish due to normal levels of moisture absorption.
However, damage/delamination caused by misuse from excessive water exposure would not be covered by the NHBC warranty. You must also ensure that any spillages are mopped up/dried immediately. You must also ensure that the units are cleaned using appropriate cleaning products.
Any damages to the units (chips/dents/scratches etc) must be reported to your site manager at FIHV and will not be accepted if reported after this visit.
Stainless Steel Sink Units & Taps
These are heavy use items and over time through normal use will mark and scratch. However, they should be free from any significant deep scratches or dents at the point you move into your new home. Should there be any issues like this please report them to your site manager at your FIHV, as damages will not be accepted if reported after this visit.
Please also ensure that you so not use abrasive cleaning agents and/or wire wool to clean these items as this will cause damage. Avant Homes will not be responsible for instances of damage cause by the homeowner of this nature.
Vanity unit maintenance
Bathroom vanity units are designed to be used in an environment where moisture exists & therefore are designed not to perish when exposed to normal levels of moisture absorption.
Damage or delamination caused by misuse from excessive water exposure are not be covered by the NHBC warranty. You must also ensure that any spillages are mopped up/dried immediately. You must also ensure that the units cleaned using products which have been recommended by the manufacturer.
Care must be taken when removing or operating the draw system to avoid accidental damage.
Any damages to the units (chips/dents/scratches etc) must be reported to your site manager at FIHV and will not be accepted after this visit.
Your boiler comes with a 2 year warranty provided by the manufacturer. It is the homeowners responsibility to register and validate your boiler warranty as soon as you take occupation. The manufacturer will hold the homeowners records on their systems, as such any faults need to be registered directly with the manufacturer.
Please note that the manufacturer warranty becomes invalid if the homeowner fails to undertake the annual service requirement.
Failure to do this will invalidate your warranty and may result in the manufacturer refusing to carry out any repairs under the provision of the warranty.
This may result in the homeowner incurring repair/maintenance costs.
Should you have any issues or concerns not covered in this guide, please contact your Regional Customer Service team who will be happy to advise and assist.