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Boothman, C and Craig, N (2016) Five Star Status in the UK House Building Sector: A Realistic Indication of Customer Satisfaction or Pure Fantasy. In: Chan, P W and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 32nd Annual ARCOM Conference, 5-7 September 2016, Manchester UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 1255–1264.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: Customer Satisfaction, Quality, Defects, Housing.
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-0-1
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/99ffda42817c556896b34cb3501d514f.pdf
  • Abstract:

    The Barker Review of Housing published in March 2004 commanded that “the house building industry must demonstrate increased levels of customer satisfaction” and called for the Home Builders Federation (HBF) to develop a strategy to improve the level of customer satisfaction. In partnership with the National House Building Council (NHBC) the HBF introduced a national survey of house builders, which launched in 2005 as a self-completion survey to the purchasers of new build homes at both 8 weeks and 9 months after legal completion.  The results for two questions “quality of the home” and “recommendation to a friend” culminate in the award of a star rating between 1 and 5. Albeit HBF surveys completed over a nine-year period show steady improvement in relation to customer satisfaction.  Further research was conducted to examine how the data collected by the NHBC is used in practice to improve the service provided to the customers, the transition of any changes into practice and the overall management of the customer satisfaction process by the builder.  In order to explore how this data is utilized in practice, six semi structured in depth interviews have been carried out with developers and analysis of the exploratory data revealed a gap between the published statistics and current practice and further suggest the surveys were unlikely to reflect the true experiences and opinions of the customer.  The research concluded that the customer can be manipulated by the builders in some cases causing a bias in the market; on the whole the customer satisfaction surveys and star rating are simply seen as a marketing tool, used by the builders marketing department as a sign of quality and a way to promote the company.  Until the industry makes a paradigm shift to embrace customer satisfaction and customer care it is unlikely to advance.