Once the self assessment process has been completed, the National Codes Administrator (NCA) appoints a verifier on behalf of the Consortium to conduct the verification visit which covers three areas:

  • the condition of the building
  • the management of the building
  • customer satisfaction

For new members the process concentrates in some detail on the first two aspects, but consideration may still be given to customer satisfaction issues where tenants raise any matters of concern.

For existing members (particularly where the physical arrangements of a building have been previously approved), the last two aspects are considered as priority areas for the visit. For older development, however, some consideration may still need to be given to the physical condition.

Where customer satisfaction survey results are available and areas of underperformance or dissatisfaction can be identified, the verifier will ask the provider how they are addressing those areas.

When verifiers meet students they have available to them a framework of specific questions, but how they actually consult tenants is at their discretion. Verifiers are required though to give details of how they consulted tenants when they complete a section on tenant feedback in the verification report.

A detailed guide to what happens before, during and after a verification visit is available to download.

Providing contact details

Providers are required to give the NCA notification of a nominated contact who will oversee verification visits to their developments. They are also required to give details of a local contact at developments due for a verification visit.

Timescale for verification visit

A verification visit is undertaken within 30 days of a satisfactory SAQ having been received. The provider is given not less than 10 working days’ notice of the verification visit. Wherever possible, however, visits will be undertaken outside the months of July and August and/or when a development is unoccupied. This is because of the importance the verification process attaches to the views of existing tenants and to inspecting ‘working buildings’.

If a verification visit does not take place within 30 days of a satisfactory SAQ having been received, and this is as a result of the provider failing to permit the visit to take place or to facilitate the necessary access, the application is rejected and the matter reported to the Tribunal.

Role of verifier after the initial visit

The verifier undertakes the initial verification visit and tracks and oversees any follow-up action that is identified as part of the process. They also maintain a close bilateral relationship with the provider until their involvement in the verification process is formally concluded.

Fees payable for verification visits

The membership fee paid includes the initial verification visit and a re-inspection for any Action Plan points. Subsequent visits incur additional fees as follows: £500 (excluding VAT) for each day (or part of day), plus expenses.

Where developments accredited under these codes are subject to a change of management platform from one member to another, then that development will be subject to a verification visit and a fee of £400 (ex VAT) per development will be charged.

All newly built developments belonging to existing members (as well as those deemed to be a late running development) will be visited within 10 weeks of occupation and a fee of £400 (ex VAT) will be charged per building.

Verifiers will inform the NCA of the time they spend on each verification and the NCA will maintain a central log for these purposes.

The NCA notifies the provider of time spent by verifiers in undertaking subsequent visits and raises invoices accordingly.

If these fees remain unpaid 30 days after the invoice is dated, the NCA issues a 14-day reminder. If the invoice remains unpaid after the additional time allowance, the NCA refers the matter to the Tribunal with a recommended course of action, normally that membership is immediately suspended. Suppliers who do not pay their bills on time are, by definition, failing to meet the standards set within the Codes.

Four Audit Panel meetings are held each year to receive and consider reports from verifiers on their actions. All verification reports and updates on those reports are made available to Audit Panel members. The Audit Panel has a membership that is totally independent from the verifications they oversee.