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New build

New build

Using pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes

12/04/2017

A pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes is a document that outline procedures to be taken in case of differences in building construction and engineering. The procedures facilitate dispute resolution by the parties involved without having to engage the court. The purpose of the protocol is to create an amicable environment for conflict resolution and to avoid costs related to legal proceedings. The court is only involved when relevant parties to a conflict do not come to an agreement or when one of the parties breach the terms of the protocol. Parties to a pre-action protocol are usually the owner of a building, a construction company, a civil engineer and an architect.

The person initiating procedures of the protocol is referred to as a claimant, and the one a claim is made against is a defendant. The protocol begins with an applicant sending a letter of claim to a defendant. The defendant must acknowledge receipt of the letter within 14 days of receiving it. This is done in writing. Failure to acknowledge the letter within 14 days gives a claimant the right to initiate court proceedings. A defendant may then raise any issues that he has with the claims that are put forward by the claimant. His objection must be raised within 28 days of receiving the letter of claim. A defendant can object the claims on the grounds that:

  • The court in question does not have jurisdiction over the matter
  • That the issue should be referred to an arbitrator
  • Alternatively, that he is the wrong defendant.

The objection must clearly identify parts of the letter of the claim that is being contested. The defendant must also be clear on the grounds he used to come up with the objections. A defendant who fails to send a letter of objection within the stipulated period may be allowed to object in future. However, the court can impose financial penalties on a defendant who fails to object on time. A defendant may also withdraw his objection if he finds it fit. In such case, the defendant and the claimant will still adhere to the procedures of the protocol. The protocol stipulates that a letter of claim be deemed to be received by a defendant on the day when the defendant withdraws his objections.

A defendant who does not see it fit to make an objection must send a letter of response within 28 days of receiving a letter of claim. The defendant and his claimant may agree to extend this period, but the extension must not exceed three months. The letter of response explains which items in the letter of claim a defendant agrees with and which ones he does not. A defendant may also mention any contributory negligence on the part of a claimant. He must include the grounds of accusation he used to conclude that the claimant was also negligent. The letter of response also mentions experts that have already been instructed by a defendant and the issues the experts will be addressing. The letter of response may also contain a counterclaim. 

Launch of the housing white paper

21/03/2017

Housing white paper is a recent government statement that outlines new policies for improving housing in the UK. The white paper has plans and purpose for ensuring that citizens of the UK find affordable housing. The housing crisis has been plaguing the UK for some time now. The government has taken all the blames for housing problems. This is despite the state establishing housing schemes to help people from all economic backgrounds to secure housing. The white paper is meant to address the current issues affecting housing including lack of accommodation, poor living conditions as well as the effects of building construction on the environment. Its target is residential rather than commercial housing.

The problem being addressed

Housing problem in London has necessitated more drastic actions towards ensuring that houses are built faster. A third of houses that were granted building permissions between 2010/11 and 2015/16 are yet to be built. The housing white paper requires builders to implement planning permissions quickly. Housebuilders must now start home construction within two years, rather than three years, of being granted building permits. Those housebuilders who delay planning permissions usually argue that building on site is not practical. They are now given a choice of building houses off-site and transferring the newly built homes to their relevant locations.

How the Housing White Paper helps

Of the courses in delay of building residential houses are the housebuilders who are so strict on their business plans that they cannot boost their productivity or risk their business models by recruiting some homeowners representative into their operations. The white paper has 3 billion Home Building Fund to encourage smaller builders, who are more receptive of homeowners, to participate more actively in home construction. The government has also created incentives that encourage custom build and self-build homes. These incentives are expected to increase housing market by a significant percentage.

One of the limitations of home construction is a lack of land on which to construct homes. A good number of lands in the UK belong to individuals and are therefore not available to first time home owners. Land cost money to buy and are necessary components of home construction. Those who do not have lands to build homes will be rendered homeless even if they have the money to construct self-build houses. The white paper has policies that increase access to land and promoting Right to Build from the National Custom and Self Build Association. Anyone wanting to build a home can now easily find a local authority register and access land for building homes.

Issues with the Housing White Paper

The issues of access to land are controversial since most of the land that is allocated by the white paper is that one which is considered a national heritage. These properties include woodlands and the Green Belt and are the pride of the country. These land could be used for home construction at the expense of losing their natural beauty. Even with the pressure of delivering more housing, the government has been slow to give out the woodlands for home construction. Various government agencies have come up to oppose government bid to use woodlands for home construction. There is hope that the state will meet the housing needs of its citizens and prevent encroachment into the forests.

How to go ahead with financing modular homes

02/02/2017

Modular homes are homes that are built offsite and are physically fitted together on site of your choice. Often called as prefabricated home, their popularity is on the rise because they are cheaper, faster and customised. While they may not be built from ground up with foundation, they can be constructed to withstand high weather impacts.

In financial terms, they have similar rates of home loans, insurance premiums and taxes as site-built homes. And conveyancing of these home are performed similar to regularly built properties. As modular homes can be highly customised as per your need, there is much consideration you have to make. Financing your modular home is one of the first step in the process. These steps will help financing modular homes.

Prequalification Estimate

The first step is to calculate how much money you are going to spend on your modular home. These estimates are required to get approval from the bank for the loans. They will assess your calculations and let you how much they can lend you with the interest rates for the amount.

Comparing rates

As you are financing your home, it is recommended to check a few banks to see what their interest rates are like. You will need to search for a bank with interest rate you are comfortable with. The small difference in the rates can amount to huge sums of savings in mortgage payments.

Apply for Loan

After you have chosen the land where your home is going to be built and a particular modular home plan. You will need to apply for the loan with the bank of your choice. Several verification checks are done to check the cover for the fees like credit check, proposed contract of the modular home of your choice, recent loan statements and other details.

Approval

If the application process goes smoothly, you will be sent a letter of commitment from the bank. You can now show the letter to the modular home manufacturer or the landowner to let you buy the property and home. The commitment letter will contain conditions and restrictions you need to comply with. You may need to provide blueprints, and costs estimate before the loan can be closed.

Scheduling Disbursement

As your mortgage loan is approved, you need to schedule the amount you have to pay during the construction of your home. These include clearing of the land, the building of the foundation, the arrival of the modules to the site, and finishing the construction. As every milestone completes successfully, you have to make sure the vendors are paid. If everything checks out, the bank issues a check which you can use to pay the contractor.

Closing the Mortgage Loan

You will now show the disbursement schedule and clear other concerns from the bank like building permits. This will conclude the bank to sign the final documents approving your mortgage loan. You will need to pay for the closing costs involving lawyer fees and title fees. You will need to pay Construction loan payments and then permanent mortgage loan payments after the construction completes.

Construction of your modular home

Finally, with all documents settled, the manufacturer can start building your modular home. For every milestone reached, you will need to pay out vendors as per the disbursement schedule. You will also have to start making payments to the bank for the amount which has been disbursed. So the fees will increase as it progresses. If the construction time is condensed to 2-3 months, you will minimise the construction loan payments to the bank.

Transfer of Construction Loan to a Permanent Mortgage

When the construction completes, the bank assesses the house. After satisfactory inspection, the loan is turned into a permanent mortgage. As per your mortgage agreement, you will have to continue paying the payment for the interest and principal. You will need to pay transfer fees during the process.

This is how financing modular homes is done in the United Kingdom. You will have your perfect home for your family in the shortest time possible without the long wait and mess you have to deal with on-site home builds.

The process of buying a new build property

04/01/2017

The process of buying a new build property is slightly different from conveyancing of a fully built property. Conveyance of a new build property starts before the property is fully built. This means that the duration of conveyance cannot be stated as a fact. Most sellers usually give the completion date to be ten days after completion of a structure. The duration of the finalisation of the structure remains variable. The similarity between conveyances for newly built properties and that of other properties include involvement of solicitors, adherence to laws regulating soliciting, and exchange of ownership documents at the completion of conveyance.

There are four basic steps in conveyancing new build properties. These include reservation, actual conveyance, and exchange of contracts and completion of the sale. These stages of conveyance do not rigidly progress from one to the other. Some of the steps follow each other while others overlap. For example, a buyer can hire a solicitor during the reservation stage. Reservation fees can also be paid during conveyance. The stages of exchange of contracts and completion of sale are relatively fixed and rarely overlap with others.

Sale of property under construction begins with reservation. Newly built properties are usually placed in the market for sellers to see. A seller identifies a suitable property and contacts its owner. This occurs when the property is still being constructed. He can find out about the owner by calling a listed number or finding out the address of the owner of the construction company.

The buyer and seller then discuss the possibility of exchanging the property. Once they agree on the price of the property, the buyer reserves that property for himself. This involves a completion of a reservation form that states the prices of the property at the date that the buyer and seller will exchange transaction contracts. The buyer must pay a reservation fee. This fee is paid to the new developer. It is usually about £500. Termination of reservation marks the time when the property is officially removed from the market. It identifies the prospective buyer as the sole candidate to purchase the property. Reservation can be annulled if the buyer and seller fail to exchange contracts at the stipulated date. The buyer loses the reservation fee and any deposit that he may have made on the property.

Conveyance process begins after reservation of the property. Both the buyer and seller hire solicitors to help them with the conveyance. The solicitors role include researching and filing of documents related to conveyancing. Any inquiries regarding the property are raised by the solicitors. The buyer may seek financial help from mortgage lenders at this stage.

Exchange of contracts occurs after the buyer and seller have agreed on the terms of sale. The buyer must pay a deposit on the property which is usually 10% of the price of the property. The buyer is now obliged to purchase the property. Both the buyer and the seller exchange a signed agreement detailing the terms of sale. Property transaction ends with the completion of conveyance when the buyer pays the seller full value of the property. This usually happens ten days after completion of construction.

Buying a house – conveyancing to get a new home

30/05/2016

A new house is everyone’s dream and they do not worry about anything else except the decision that you have to make while choosing to buy the house. Firstly, a house can be purchased via various ways. They can be bought over instalments, over mortgage or loan and also by down payment of cash. In fact, buying a house is easy and as you look ahead after you have saved quite the sum of money, it is now important for you to get a guideline on how should you buy your new home. What are the rules and regulations?

For the people living in the UK, they have to follow a certain law while acquiring a property. This law is known as the English property law and this law makes it mandatory for the property buying to be done by the process of conveyancing. Conveyancing is the process through which the ownership of a property is transferred from one party or owner to another. In fact, the process of conveyancing involves all types of property whether it is personal or residential or commercial. In fact, leasehold properties and rental properties is also need to be acquire by conveyancing.

Who can conveyance?

Conveyancing can be done by anyone who has the minimum knowledge of the way the process works. This involves knowing what the necessary documents are and what documents are required, which forms are to be filled first and which are to be filled later. The documents processing require a minimum fee ranging from upwards of fifteen hundred pounds to more than five thousand pounds depending on the type of property that you are purchasing.

Anyone who has passed the licensed conveyancer course becomes a licensed conveyancer and can professionally and legally handle the document processing with no restrictions. However, not everyone are good conveyancers. A good conveyancer is one who has many years of conveyancing experience and has handled many properties over time. In fact, a newly licensed conveyancer might not be the ideal choice but a conveyancer who has been doing it for a long time can be.

Lawyers who conveyance are known as conveyancing solicitors or just solicitors. They are more adept to the ways by which properties are bought or sold and can give professional as well as personal advice that can benefit. They mostly do commercial conveyancing but also do residential conveyancing. Compared to just conveyancers, their service charge is usually higher.

What and how to buy your house?

For residential conveyancing to commence, there are steps that needs to be completed before that. Firstly, you need to do adequate research. Researching is getting the necessary information about what the price includes. The apartment or the villa or the small home that you are planning to buy has a price on it. You need to check if the lighting, fitting of different materials inside the house come under this cost or not.

This is because some property agents offer prices that does not cover such costs but only cover the cost of the house and all. Thus, this is very important indeed. Next, if you are buying a newly built property, it is important to check if the developer has followed the Consumer Code for Home Builders or not.

This code is a guideline that builders and developers need to follow when building a new property. Therefore, if your real estate agent or the developer did not follow this code it is best not to buy property from them. On the other hand, the other things that must be checked includes what does the warranty cover actually cover for your home. In the future, there might be problems regarding your home or any of its fittings. Therefore, doing this research and finding if the cost covers this or not is a must that you should not miss.

In the UK, there are many conveyancing agents who do conveyancing for new and old properties that includes residential conveyancing, house conveyancing and also commercial conveyancing. It is indeed in your best interest to choose an experienced conveyancing solicitor that can help you buy your dream home with zero hassle.