Monday, 20 August 2007

Name and Shame List

I have been following the story of the TRNC Home Buyers Pressure Group (HBPG) and their publication of a list of 41 'rogue' builders. The list is at Name and Shame and comprises most building companies in TRNC.

The list of complaints includes -
1. Not obtaining a Building Permit prior to construction.
Comment - Building Permits take a long time to be issued, and it is the usual practice for construction to commence while Building Permits are being processed.

2. Building properties without recognised access.
Comment - Difficult to imagine that a builder would develop a site without access from a public road or 'yol', but it may happen.

3. Not supplying electric / water / road
Comment - The supply of services tends to follow on from the construction, and the supply of electricity is a constant problem. All that a customer can expect is for the builder to make the appropriate applications to the relevant agencies, and then be patient.

4. Demanding additional money from purchasers to supply electric / water / road.
Comment- this should be stated in the contract.

5. Bullying purchaser into paying vendor's taxes.
Comment - again, this should be as per contract.

6. Refusing to transfer title
Comment - Before a title can be created and transferred to a purchaser, there are a series of processes which the builder must go through. From the perspective of the customer, he/she needs to be in receipt of Permission to Buy.

7. Building sub-standard, unsafe properties
Comment - Purchasers should exercise their right to have independent inspection of the building work at key stages of construction.

8. Not building as per agreed specification
Comment - divergence often occurs due to the updating of architectural plans, the availability of materials etc. Again, the purchaser should seek independent verification of work done.

9. Not fulfilling their Guarantee obligations
Comment - this is a legal matter. All purchasers will have used a TRNC solicitor and he/she will be the usual choice for sueing a builder for breach of warranty.

10. Leaving a site unfinished when purchasers have paid in full and then starting another development
Comment - most builders will have more than one site under construction. Purchaser contracts usually have a final payment when the property is complete, and this should encourage builders to finish each house.

The publication of this list has created a furore. The list contains many reputable companies in addition to several celebrated rogues. It is an insult to the reputable builders to include them in the same listing as the notorious rogues.

It is also difficult to discover how a builder got on the list. It appears that if a single purchaser made a complaint to the HBPGG, this was sufficient reason. On that basis, every builder in the world would be on a Name and Shame list.

The rumpus appears to have subsided, as the list has been withdrawn from the HBPG website.

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