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Absolutely shocking!

27 January 2023

By Will Neale

"Absolutely shocking" says @newhomequalitycontrol to his 597,000 TikTok followers, as he discovers yet another fake weep vent at an unnamed new-build housing development. The serial TikTokker has received nearly 9.7M likes across his hundreds of videos.   

From fake weep vents to toilets that do not flush and walls that are 'out of plumb', he has captivated an audience by exposing 'poor workmanship' that in his view, should never have passed a site manager's inspection. The man behind the account, Orlando Murphy has now set up his own building inspection company and carries out approximately 250 inspections per month.  

While post-completion issues are common and, to a large extent inevitable, accounts like Orlando's have managed to make a rather niche topic mainstream, even occasionally landing in national newspapers. Feature on the page too often and you risk developing a reputation for poor workmanship and reliability amongst the generation that will likely look to buy such new-build homes.     

TikTokkers have also started to move beyond simply spotting building issues to asking more challenging questions that exist within the sector. Tackling topics such as estate regeneration and gentrification, TikTok has provided a highly visual and interactive method for young people to engage in a debate in which they typically do not participate.  

One example is TikTokker @JorisExplains. Joris has 291K followers and has created videos on several high-profile central London regeneration schemes as well as luxury developments, especially in Battersea and Wandsworth. While Joris tends to take a dim view of developers, especially those in the luxury space, his videos have engaged a new generation in issues which the sector has been battling for decades, perhaps increasing the likelihood they would engage in related issues in their area.  

TikTok remains the fastest-growing social media platform at present.  Beyond criticism, developers have also been presented with a new channel to enhance their reach. Avanton’s Coda in Battersea broke new ground in marketing after focussing significant energy on the platform during their marketing efforts. The videos received over 130k views and as a result, the development has almost sold out.  

Emerging social media platforms present both opportunities and risks to developers. With the role of TikTok and other platforms expanding rapidly (and going nowhere fast), developers are now being held to account by a younger generation.  

How far this will impact the opinions of their customers and the performance of sales remains to be seen.