Foundation Depth Calculator App
As the UK’s leading independent standard-setting body, warranty and insurance provider for new homes, NHBC works with the house-building industry to raise the standards of new homes and to provide consumer protection for homebuyers.
After conducting an analysis of claims under the NHBC Buildmark warranty, we found that the cost of foundation-related claims to the industry sat at £9 million per year. In the same analysis, it was shown that 72% of foundation-related claims were attributed to issues with foundations constructed near trees, the majority due to incorrect depths. Having identified a clear space in which we could assist our builder customers in mitigating future claims, the Foundation Depth Calculator app was conceived as an innovative way of offering the best results.
The core objective of the Foundation Depth Calculator was to reduce the likelihood of foundation-related claims resulting from the presence of nearby trees and root systems. We aimed to reach 5% of our registered builders within the first six months, eventually extending to 10% after twelve months. Previous consultations and research with builders, developers, architects and surveyors had shown that our customers had an appetite for the benefits new and exciting technologies could offer. As much of our target audience spends their time on the move, we wanted the app to be stable and accessible, with minimal technical issues and downtime being a top priority. The ultimate aim was to give users of the Foundation Depth Calculator a simple and effective way of improving their processes and mitigating longer-term risks.
In partnership with local software developers Virtual Viewings, based locally to our head office in Milton Keynes, we took the Foundation Depth Calculator from creative concept to reality in just five months. Throughout the design of the app, our in-house technical experts, many of whom were drawn directly from our Standards team, worked alongside Virtual Viewings’ developers to ensure the app produced the exact measurement data before being cleared for final release. All subsequent upgrades, bug fixes and conversions of the app have been carried out by Virtual Viewings with on-going guidance from our Standards team.
In September 2013, the Foundation Depth Calculator app was ready to launch to our target customer base on the iOS platform – Windows and Android versions soon followed. A variety of avenues were employed during the marketing campaign such as direct mail and email, online advertising, social media announcements, and articles across the industry press.
In the eleven months following the release of the app, we achieved 265% of our target downloads. The iOS and Windows version of the app proved most successful, though the Android version, launched five months after its counterparts, already comprises 17% of the user base.
It’s too earlier to say what effect the app will have on future claims relating to foundations. As a 10-year warranty product, NHBC Buildmark claims are analysed on a 10-year cycle. However, the swift uptake of the Foundation Depth Calculator across the target audience indicates nothing but positive movement towards achieving our aim of reducing foundation-related claims in the long-term – we will just have to wait for the data to prove us right!
After a year of hard work and dedication, we were delighted to hear we had been shortlisted for the Construction Marketing Awards ‘Best Mobile Campaign’ category – being declared winner of the category was an even greater accolade for the individuals and partners involved in bringing the Foundation Depth Calculator app to life. We extend our many thanks for the event organisers, fellow nominees and winners, and wish them the best of luck in the New Year.