How Many Snags Should a New Build Have?

Learn about the snagging process, builder responsibilities, and optimal timelines for snag resolution to ensure your new home is defect-free and up to standard. Perfect for new homeowners navigating the complexities of purchasing a new build property.
Construction Drawing

Purchasing a new build home is an exciting journey, but it comes with its own set of challenges, one of which includes dealing with snags. Snags refer to those annoying little defects that can occur during the building process, ranging from small cosmetic issues to more substantial structural problems. This blog aims to explain the snagging process, guiding you through what to expect, how to handle it, and why it’s crucial for ensuring your new home is perfect.

In this detailed guide, we’ll answer some of the most pressing questions for new homeowners, including the nature of snagging, the timeframe within which builders are expected to fix snags, and the best timing for these inspections. Understanding these elements will help you manage the process effectively and ensure that your transition into your new home is as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

During a snagging inspection, the inspector will check various elements of the property, including:

  • Structural elements, including walls, ceilings, and floors.
  • Finishing touches, such as paintwork, tiling, and sealants.
  • External works, including brickwork and roofing.
  • Mechanical systems, such as heating, plumbing, and electrical installations.
  • Windows and doors for proper insulation and functionality.
Snagging Process

How Many Snags Should a New Build Have?

The first part of this answer is unlikely to provide much satisfaction, however the truth is that there is no specific rule or standard for this. Although there isn’t a specific number that can be attributed to the question “How many snags should a new build have?” other than zero in an ideal world, we can at least offer our own opinion based on the inspections we have undertaken to date.

Here are our thoughts on the matter:

  • <50 Minor Snags: A great property that has experienced robust quality procedures implemented throughout, and an effective management.
  • 50 – 150 Minor Snags: An average property by current standards, most homes we inspect fall within this range. When paired with a builder that is proactive in responding and dealing with the issues identified however, it could still end up being a great property once the defects have been rectified.
  • 150+ Minor Snags: As the snags increase onwards from this point, we would say that the quality process has failed or is non existent. With a proactive builder the property could still become great eventually. But given the level of defects at the surface level, the concern could be that some of the elements hidden may also be subject to such a careless build process, and present more severe issues down the line.
  • 1+ Major Snags: The issues in this category could vary significantly. Our opinion would be based on how obvious the issues would have been to detect during construction phase, how difficult and disruptive the issue will be to fix at the current stage and will the fix be acceptable to the homeowner. Some defects can be so significant (such as foundation failures) that ultimately the builder has no choice but to demolish the property and start the build again. This is extremely uncommon and only in extreme cases. Any major structural failings post completion would put the property in the failed quality process category in our opinion.

Builders are generally required to fix snags identified within the first two years after completion under the builder’s warranty. This period is known as the ‘defects liability period’, where builders are liable to correct faults linked to the construction or compliance with the original specifications.

Snag Resolution Timeline

The timeframe for addressing snags can differ based on various factors, including the nature of the defects and the builder’s current workload. A reasonable timeline can extend from a few days to several months subject to the issues that have been identified.

Various Factors That May Influence The Timeline

  • Communication: Immediate reporting of any snags to the builder is essential. Maintain clear and documented communication with the builder’s customer service or warranty team to expedite the process.
  • Effective Management: The efficiency of the builder in handling snag issues plays a critical role. Builders with dedicated customer service teams, efficient processes and site teams tend to address the snags quickly.
  • Severity of Snags: Major structural issues may require longer periods to resolve due to the need for extensive repairs, further inspections, or consultations with specialists. Conversely, cosmetic defects are generally quicker to fix.
  • Seasonal Factors: The season during which you report snags can affect the resolution timeline. Builders are often busier during the spring and summer months, potentially delaying response times.
New Build Site Manager

Should Snagging Be Done Before Or After Completion?

Snagging should be carried out by the developer and subcontractors management teams during the entire building process. However in the modern world of construction, with skills shortages, ever increasing need for turnover and profit growth of public companies, it seems common for it to be missed entirely, be inadequate or just simply ignored in effort to get the properties to market quicker.

So with a little context out of the way, back to the original question… when should snagging be done ideally? In our opinion, the best time to carry out new build snagging inspections is post completion, not before. The reason being is that when carrying out a pre-completion inspection, it is necessary to follow the NHQB’s (New Homes Quality Board) fixed guidelines. When comparing it to our own snagging checklist, we believe post completion inspections are more critical and rigorously aligned with the guidance set out by the warranty providers standards, and U.K building regulations. Overall this enables a more detailed report of the properties condition. In addition to this, and depending on when the developer provides access, the home may simply be unfinished, and it is impossible to fully assess what the final quality will be at that stage.

Compile a snagging list or reportAs a first line of action, create a snagging list of the entire property highlighting all the issues identified. Better yet employ a snagging inspector to carry out this process on your behalf who will compile the issues into a detailed report.
Ensure all communication is documentedEnsure you keep detailed records of all communications with your builder, including emails, texts, and notes from phone calls.
Request and agree upon timeframesFollowing submission of the snagging list or better yet a snagging report, request a timeline for resolution of the issues identified. It is important to stay realistic with the timeframes advised depending on the severity and complexity of the defects. If you are unsure of how long a particular snag should reasonably take to arrange and complete, speak to a snagging professional, experienced construction manager or tradesperson working in the new build housing sector.
Request regular updatesRequest regular updates from your builder. Establishing a schedule for updates can help manage expectations on both sides.
Best Practice

What If The Developer Stops Responding?

If the above method fails and the developer is refusing to acknowledge genuine issues, resolve previously agreed issues or is no longer responding to communication, it may be necessary to employ the tactics listed below.

Invoke warranty obligationsReview the documents issued at completion and also the warrant providers guidance online or over the phone, and remind the developer of their obligations. Ensure this is fully documented and dated, include a full timeline of events including communications received and sent, trades or site management visits and anything else relevant to the issues.
Leverage social mediaSome issues can be resolved simply by speaking to the right persons within a company. Seek out more senior personnel within the organisations on sites such as Linked-In and try to contact them directly with the issues. If that fails visit the developers pages on Facebook and X and explain the issues in posts they have submitted publicly. Bad PR is enough to often motivate even the most difficult developers into action, as often the snags are less costly to fix than the damage to reputation.
Legal actionThe only people that benefit from legal action generally is law professionals, so this should really be a last resort in severe circumstances. It may be prudent to first seek guidance from Citizens advice or The New Homes Ombudsman and then if you are still unsatisfied, a property law specialist.
Last Resort Tools


While there is no fixed number of snags expected in a new build, the reality is that almost all new homes will have some issues, whether minor or significant. The key to managing this effectively lies in a thorough snagging process, timely reporting, effective communication and ensuring that the builder adheres to their responsibilities within the defects liability period.

If you are planning to purchase a new build, consider investing in a professional snagging service to ensure that your new home meets your standards and is free from defects. Remember, addressing these issues early can prevent more significant problems down the line and helps ensure that your new home is safe, secure, and finished to a high standard.

For more information or to book a snagging inspection, contact Snagman, your expert in snagging services for new builds. Our team is here to assist you every step of the way.

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