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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Developer to build fewer homes after 'poor quality' issues

A house builder has set aside £7m to spend on repairs to its own new properties after a series of complaints from buyers - and this issue is contributing to the firm’s larger problems, which will see it deliberately scale back construction.

Bovis Homes has apologised to over 1,400 buyers who set up a Facebook page to campaign for compensation and for work to be remedied after a string of complaints.

Some allegations from the angry owners focus on the alleged pressure they were put under to complete their purchases by Christmas, in order to show up in Bovis figures.

When the buyers moved in they found the properties with numerous serious defects, some of which have been accepted by the company.

Last month Bovis chief executive David Ritchie left the company after eight years; his departure coincided with a profits warning from the firm. Bovis also rebuffed speculation that it might be open to a takeover by Berkeley Homes. 

Yesterday that profits warning turned out to be accurate as Bovis reported pre-tax profit fell three per cent last year to £154.7m; Bovis built some 4,000 homes in 2016 but says it is intentionally reducing that figure by 10 to 15 per cent in 2017 in a bid to regain quality control and consumer confidence. 

It says it will then return to what it calls "normal industry production".

Acting chief executive Earl Sibley says his firm has clear priorities for the next 12 months and is “fully committed to improving our levels of customer service and delivering high quality homes this year and in the future.”

He continues: “The fundamentals of the business remain strong with a robust financial position and high quality land bank. With our focus on higher levels of customer service, improved build efficiency and a refreshed culture, we are confident we will generate enhanced shareholder returns over the medium term.”

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