Case Study: The Consumer Code for Home Builders

Case study: A strategic approach to communications delivery for the Consumer Code for Home Builders

The Consumer Code for Home Builders is a CTSI-approved code of practice designed to make the process of buying a new-build home fairer and more transparent for purchasers. It covers 95% of all new-build homes in the UK.

The challenge

The Consumer Code for Home Builders (the Code) sought our help to raise awareness of the Code, both to support compliance by home builders, agents and solicitors, and to ensure consumers were aware of the support available.

The industry and the various support available to consumers is complex and there are limits to the Code’s remit which can cause frustration for home buyers. There was a clear desire to improve understanding, but a nervousness, too, of raising expectations.

Our approach

Following initial research and feedback through social media, we quickly identified some major barriers to consumer confidence in the Code. These were outside the remit of communications but stood in the way of making real progress with awareness-raising.

With the support of the Code’s Chief Executive, we held a workshop with the Board, including representatives from trade bodies, warranty providers and Citizens’ Advice. We used a series of techniques to engage the participants in identifying the challenges and brainstorming solutions. This enabled us to develop a consensus which led to changes in the Code that have made it easier for consumers to raise complaints through the Code’s scheme.

We produced a suite of recommendations, communications strategy and implementation plan which were accepted by the Board.

Outcomes

One of the most critical barriers affecting consumer confidence in the Code has been addressed, and strong progress is being made in other areas.

The Communications Strategy and implementation plan is supporting the Code’s two leading activities – promoting best practice and Code compliance, and giving consumers access to independent redress when things go wrong.

We continue to be retained by the Code to implement the communications plan, which includes internal communications, social media engagement, media relations, and content creation.

“The work undertaken by Catherine and her team enabled the Code’s Board to identify barriers to achieving our aims and objectives and to set about a communication strategy to overcome these and help us deliver.

She took the time to understand the issues and reflect these back to the Board in an engaging style which in turn, gave them confidence in the approach recommended. We continue to work with Catherine and her team to further our communications in a complex and changing landscape” Carol Brady MBE, CEO Consumer Code for Home Builders

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