Industry Effort to Drive Forward HIP Standards Welcomed
Press release: 18 February 2009
The Home Information Pack (HIP) industry has taken another stride forward in its efforts to promote high quality consumer standards, the Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) said today. The PCCB is the independent body responsible for monitoring standards amongst firms that subscribe to the HIP and Search Codes of Practice.
The PCCB welcomed the news that the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP) is to open up its industry code of practice to a wider range of HIP providers. AHIPP announced on Friday 13 February that it is to create a new class of Code registration to cover those companies that provide a platform from which other companies can produce high quality HIPs. The PCCB believes that the move will widen consumer choice and secure standards in a rapidly changing market place.
Commenting Richard Footitt, PCCB Chair, said:
“It’s good to see the industry take the lead in responding to new developments in the market. This move will extend the coverage of the HIP Code at a time when companies are seeking imaginative and cost effective ways of providing HIPs that comply with the law. Consumers should take comfort from the assurance provided by the presence of the Code logo on a wider range of products and from the knowledge that subscribers are subject to exacting standards overseen by an independent body.”
The news comes as the PCCB reveals that it has invested additional resources in raising standards over recent months. The Board has raised the bar for new Code registrants by requiring them to submit sample HIPs and search reports ahead of formal registration. At the same time, PCCB has expanded its inspection programme in response to where it sees a clear risk to consumers and has provided clear guidance to firms on what to expect from inspections.
Richard Footit continues:
“The first phase of HIPs comes to an end early in April, and the industry needs to be ready to respond to the opportunities that the new statutory framework will bring. The PCCB will continue to emphasise the benefits of commissioning HIPs from Code subscribers. And we will increasing highlight those practices that expose the public to unacceptable risks when they come to buy and sell their home.
“Tough market conditions inevitably bring pressure on the industry to review costs and to search for different solutions. The way forward though is not to cut corners and to lower standards and expectations. Consumer confidence in the industry will come from delivering quality services and products at the right price and at the right time, at the beginning of the process and until contracts are signed. Those registered with the PCCB recognise this, and our inspection programme and our work with other sectors of the industry are both geared to support them to that end.”
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Notes to Editors
1. The Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) independently monitors compliance by registered subscribing companies with the HIP and Search Codes. The Codes provide protection for homebuyers, sellers, lenders and conveyancers relying on searches and HIPs as part of the home buying process, and include good practice standards, robust insurance requirements and the independent adjudication of complaints.
2. The HIP Code is sponsored by the Association of Home Information Pack Providers; www.hipassociation.co.uk. The Search Code is sponsored by the Council of Property Search Organisations; www.copso.org.uk.
3. PCCB inspectors have to date made over 900 recommendations to secure satisfactory compliance from registered firms.
4. For further information please contact Kate Nicholls, Head of Communications 07958 796 238 or visit www.propertycodes.org.uk