Frequently Asked Questions

What is Property Snagging?

Snagging is the process of checking a new build property for defects, poor workmanship and more serious issues that would fail building regulations. Almost anything in a new property can be snagged during a snagging survey. A snagging inspector will look for anything broken or damaged during the construction process, review how well fixtures and fittings have been installed, and check the quality of building and decorating finish. An example of the types of issues a snagging inspector might find could include scratches on a windowpane or worktop, ‘grinning’ due to poor paintwork, faulty extractor fans, mislaid turf, a staircase outside of tolerance or poor caulking. A full list would be near never ending as anything in a property could be snagged. A typical new home in the UK will return over 100 snags as most developments are built on mass and to tight timelines.

What is a Snagging Survey?

A snagging survey is the methodical process of inspecting a property for snags. This would normally be completed by a snagging inspector on behalf of the property owners. Once completed a snagging report is then shared with the home owners and site manager. The building developer would then need to address the issues found in the report. Done properly it should take between 3-4 hours to inspect the average UK home. However, this would depend on the quality of finish in the property and the care taken during construction.

When Should Snagging be Done?

Snagging should be done once a building developer has finished construction and decoration. Snagging can happen before or after completion. Ideally, a snagging inspection would happen before completion. This will give the building developer plenty of time to fix the snags before the property is moved into. Additionally, having a snagging report given to property developers before moving in means that there will be no disagreement about damage being caused by a developer or caused by an occupant. That said, new home owners have up to two years to complete snagging. However, most property developers will insist on snagging happening as soon as possible to avoid the additional cost of sending contactors back to a property rather than use builders and decorators they have on site while continuing the development.

What are the Most Common Snags?

Every property is different and each development will have different standards of finish, even between developments. However, this is a list of some frequently found snags:

  • Untidy finishes on plasterwork, particularly around areas such as piping, media plates, light switches and plug sockets
  • Poor finishing on grouting between tiles
  • Surface cracking and joints showing through on ceilings and walls
  • Damage to window and door frames – especially the underside of French Door as they are often dragged on the ground during fitting
  • Treads not even on staircases
  • Damage to skirting woodwork
  • Units, and particularly wall units, with paint splashes
  • Insufficient insulation on water pipes and tanks
  • Mortar splashing on brickwork
  • Uneven and poor turf laying – often caused by poor groundwork

How Long Should it Take for Snags to be Fixed?

For major defects such as those causing a danger to inhabitants or construction not meeting NHBC standards then immediately and urgently. Any issues of this kind should be resolved before moving in. For snags that are less serious this would depend on the nature of the snag. Some issues such as damage to floor tiles or scratches to windowpanes could involve a lead time while the developer orders a replacement, the wait could be weeks. On the other hand issues with cosmetic finishes could be addressed the next day. This of course all depends on how helpful the developers are. Some property developers employ staff outside of their construction teams to fix snags.

Can I add new snags to my snagging list?

Generally speaking the answer is no but this would depend on your property developer. This is why it is important to make sure you get a detailed and through snagging survey completed first time. A snagging list that is never ending is a head ache and expensive for a developer. They also want to avoid owners adding snags that is damage they have caused. Often building developers will have a policy that you can only submit one snagging list and you can’t add to that list once it is submitted. However, major faults will be covered by new build warranties (link) for up to ten years.

Can snagging be done after completion?

Snagging can still be done after completion. In fact UK guidelines stipulate that new build home owners have up to two years from completion to snag their property (LINK). However, it is best to have your snagging survey done before completion. This is to avoid any unnecessary conflict between home owner and property developer. Once a property has been moved into it can be tricky to establish what damage or defects occurred during construction or during the day to day use of a lived in property.

What should I include on my snagging checklist?

Here are some ideas of what to include in your snagging checklist. However, knowing what to look for and what it should look like are two very different things. You will be able to give a site manager a more detailed snagging survey if you use a professional snagging company. Never the less, here are a few things you could start to include in your snagging checklist:

  • For windows - has all paintwork been finished off, including undersides of sills?
  • Is the framework on windows and doors free from damage?
  • Is glazing throughout the property free from scratches, paint splashes and cracks?
  • Are all sanitary fittings undamaged and clean?
  • Are all kitchen units and worktops free from damage?
  • Are the doors of cupboards hung correctly?
  • Is any floor tiling complete, especially around cupboards, fittings and doorways?
  • Is any sheet flooring flat and free from curling edges and bubbling?
  • Is the skirting woodwork and paintwork undamaged and free from defects?
  • Does the gradient and access of the drive/path allow for clear access?
  • Has a top coat been applied to all external painted surfaces; and is the finish to a satisfactory standard?

Should I use a professional snagging inspector?

A professional snagging inspector comes with many benefits and will ensure that the snagging list you submit is comprehensive. Snagging is a complicated task that requires specialist knowledge across many trades. A professional snagger will have industry experience that most new build home buyers don’t have. This means that they will know what to look for and spot issues that would be missed by the untrained eye. If you are asking yourself is a snagging survey worth it? Then you only need to consider the potential costs a home owner will have to pay (as these people have found out – LINK) to fix problems that a professional snagging company will find.

What is a snag list?

A snag list is a list of all the defects, faults or poor workmanship found in a new build property. A snag list is normally created by a snagging company on behalf of an owner. A snagging company will conduct a snagging survey on a new build property and publish a report for both the owner and the property developer. This is then used to make sure that the property is finished to a high standard, as a site manager will address the issues found in a snagging inspection by going back into a property and fixing the snags.

Who pays for snagging?

A property developer should pay for the costs of fixing all snags in a new build property. Due to the speed and volume new build properties are built at, over 100 snags are often found by a snagging company. If these snags are missed and not included in a snagging report it is often the case that the cost of fixing these snags then falls the home owner. This is because most developers will only allow homeowners to submit one list, with no changes once the list has been submitted. However, for major faults your home will be covered under new build warranties.

How long is the new build snagging period?

The new build snagging period is two years. A developer must fix any snags reported during this period. However, ideally a snagging survey will be done before move in day. This is to ensure that any defects found are not attributed to damage caused by the property being lived in rather than poor workmanship. Furthermore, most developers have strict rules about how and when snags are submitted and fixed. Most developers will only allow one list with no changes after it is submitted so it is best to use a snagging company.

Is a snagging survey worth it?

The average new build property in the UK will have over 100 snags. But the average new build property buyer won’t know what to look for when following a snagging check list. This is where professional snagging companies come in. As these new home owners found out, it can become a very stressful and expensive experience if new build defects are not spotted early. Considering how much a new home costs, paying a specialist to make sure you get value for your money is worth every penny.

When should I book my inspection?

Ideally, you should have your property inspected prior to moving in, once all tradesmen have finished their work. However, most developers will not grant access to professional snaggers pre completion. Conseqently, our advise would be to book as soon after completion as possible. Don't forget you can have an inspection carried out at any time within in the first two years of your warranty. You can submit your first snagging list at any time during this period.

Can the developer deny access to the property?

If you have not completed then legally the property still belongs to the developer. That said you have a legal interest in the property. Due to this your solicitor will be able to arrange access to the property if the developer is proving to be difficult.

How many defects (snags) do you usually find?

This will depend on the size of the property and the quality of construction and decoration. Even with the same developer, the standard of finish on different sites can be significantly different. For a typical four bed house, we find around 150 snags. However, we have in the past found as few as 50 and as many as 400+.