Monthly Archives: February 2022

 

28 
Feb

‘ABC+’ Are Giving Away FREE Tickets To The Home Building & Renovating Show

We are delighted to share the free ticket code with all of our customers and newsreaders.

The Home Building & Renovating show is taking place over 4 days from 24th-27th March at the NEC, Birmingham and has everything you need from product suppliers to professional services, all under one roof!

The show is going to be bigger and better than ever before with property experts on hand to give help and advice for all of your building project needs.

Tips for the show

  • If you have any project drawings, remember to take these with you as it will be far easier to discuss your project in detail with suppliers and professionals if they can see your plans.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. The show covers a vast area and you’ll be spending most of your time on your feet.
  • There will be food and drink halls available but it’s always a good idea to have a bottle of water handy, it’s thirsty work talking to people all day.
  • Plan your day, look at the Exhibitors List and the show map on the website to see who you would like to meet up with in advance.
  • Take a sturdy bag or rucksack with you as you’ll be able to take away lots of information and goodies with you from the show.

On Friday, 25th March at 3.30pm, be sure to attend the Master Class Theatre where ABC+ Warranty will be explaining why Structural Warranties are so important when building your dream home.

Click here for your free tickets

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Published Date: 28th February 2022
Category: Uncategorized


 

25 
Feb

How a new build warranty could protect you from dodgy developers

new build warranty dodgy developers

Many people prefer to buy a newly built home rather than an older pre-used building for lots of reasons. These include the fact that pre-owned homes older than 10 years are unlikely to have a structural warranty, whereas a new build should come with one.

Even if the builder doesn’t make the most of modern technologies and exceed building standards, having the new build warranty included in the property purchase means you’ll be covered against latent structural defects if an issue develops in your new home.

While most new build homes have a structural warranty that promises peace of mind, this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, the media has been flooded with new build horror stories in recent years – we’re sure you’ve seen a fair few exposés on unscrupulous developers.

So, why is it necessary to have a new build warranty in place before you buy and move in? What happens if you don’t have one? If you have a structural warranty and discover a defect, what should you do to resolve it? We answer all these questions and more in this blog.

What are the common problems with new build homes?

Britain’s new build scandal has been widely reported on. According to statistics gathered by This is Money, a shocking 94% of new build homeowners discover at least one defect after completion, while 42% report finding more than ten. The average new build property now comes with around 157 ‘snags’ in varying levels of severity.

Even the biggest developers in the UK have been caught cutting corners, as builders are pressured to complete projects quickly, resulting in rushed and shoddy workmanship compromising the quality and integrity of the structures.

Here are examples of common structural defects found in new build homes across the UK:

  • Improperly fitted windows and doors (allowing heat to escape, making it difficult to open, close, or lock them properly, etc)
  • Unconnected or poorly fitted vents (e.g. ducts to tile vents in the roof, window trickle vents)
  • Missing, incomplete, or incorrectly installed loft insulation
  • Inconsistent sealant allowing water ingress (leading to condensation, damp, and mould)
  • Unsecured or blocked gutters (causing rainwater to build up on the roof)
  • Crumbling mortar or gaps between bricks (non-uniform brickwork pointing)
  • Bowing, cracking, or sloping walls or floors
  • Incomplete or faulty electrical wiring or plumbing (e.g. unsecured sockets, leaking pipes)
  • Screws or nails popping out of walls, floorboards, or stairs
  • Excessively creaking or squeaking floorboards, doors, or windows
  • Bad plastering and/or messy and peeling paintwork
  • Poor drainage in garden or driveway (causing muddy/boggy ground)
  • Loose fittings (e.g. hinges, handles, taps, radiators, appliances)
  • Unstable exterior boundary walls, fences, or gates

As you can see, there are a lot of potential issues that might not be apparent at first glance. Even if you notice something small initially, like hairline cracks in the plaster, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem that could get significantly worse over time.

After all, if something as simple and easy as fitting a door hasn’t been done properly, what else might they have bungled or missed completely? Without a chartered surveyor monitoring the build and the ongoing protection of a structural warranty, you could be left to foot the bill for fixing an extensive list of problems like these by yourself.

Does a new build warranty cover you before completion?

Yes – as long as there’s a new build warranty in place that specifically covers the buyer in the event of builder insolvency. When this is included in the contract, you should be able to at least recover your deposit if the builder goes out of business without completing your new home.

Depending on the specific terms your policy offers, this stage of a structural warranty should cover ‘reasonable costs’ – including recovering any payments to the builder and the necessary work to complete the remainder of the build to its original specifications.

To make a successful warranty claim if your builder/developer becomes insolvent, you must have had grounds to believe they were able to fulfil the contract. If you had prior knowledge of pending insolvency or doubts at the time of signing the contract, it could invalidate this part of the warranty.

As a back-up for your new build warranty, you should also check that your builder or developer is signed up to the Consumer Code for New Homes or the Consumer Code for Home Builders. This ensures minimum standards of quality, customer service, and after-sales support. It also allows you to access a low-cost independent dispute resolution service to handle complaints impartially.

Will a structural warranty survey help with snagging?

One of the biggest security nets offered by obtaining a structural warranty at the start is having expert surveyors on your side to identify snags. Even with the best properties and construction teams, you can expect a ‘snagging list’ of some kind.

When the property is finished, you should be invited to look around and point out any issues you want the builder to fix before you move in – but you may not know what you should be looking for. In the case of latent defects, they might not be noticeable until much later.

When your structural warranty provider carries out key stage inspections, they’ll be knowledgeable enough about industry standards to spot even the smallest variations. This means they can notify the builder of things they need to rectify before they go any further.

By contrast, if you wait until after completion, it can cost more and take longer to correct errors.  You may also have to pay out of pocket for a post-completion survey to get an official report on the various ‘snags’ present in your supposedly finished property.

When you have a new build structural warranty from the beginning of construction, which the builder or developer should have set up and passed on to you as the buyer, the warranty provider should carry out structural surveys as part of the service.

It’s best to entrust this process to the professionals, who know exactly what to look for inside and out, from walls and roofs to fixtures and fittings. The earlier you do this, the lower the risks should be of serious latent defects developing down the line.

How does a new build warranty work after completion?

While most new build warranties will also cover the buyer against the builder becoming insolvent during the build, the main part of the 10-year structural warranty kicks in from the date of issue on the property’s completion certificate.

As you may know, the first 2 years are the defects insurance period, wherein the builder is obliged to come and fix any problems with their work if you contact them about outstanding repairs. This may not include cosmetic or decorative issues like tiling or carpeting.

From the end of the second year onwards, the final 8 years are the structural insurance period. During this time, the builder is only responsible for rectifying major structural defects, and the warranty provider usually pays for the repairs when you make a successful claim.

Examples of what a successful structural warranty claim might pay out for include problems with:

  • Foundations
  • Roofs and ceilings
  • Chimneys and flues
  • External rendering
  • Windows and doors
  • Load-bearing walls and floors
  • Staircases and decking
  • Below-ground drainage
  • Plumbing and electrical wiring

On the other hand, these are examples of ‘minor’ issues that your warranty isn’t likely to pay for:

  • Natural wear and tear over time
  • Unrelated weather damage
  • Maintenance failures that you’re responsible for
  • Floor coverings and fixings (e.g. tiles and grout, ill-fitted carpets)
  • Cracking or flaking that doesn’t affect structural integrity
  • Condensation, damp, or flooding that doesn’t affect structural integrity
  • Staining, fading, or other discolouration of finishes
  • Solar panels or sound insulation

Additionally, there will be a minimum and maximum claim value. The provider will calculate the appropriate expenses for necessary repairs, and usually won’t pay more or less than the exact cost of the required remedial work. Of course, you may have to pay an excess per claim.

This is why it’s important to check the builder’s warranty before they pass it on to you, and request to change providers if their policy doesn’t include the cover that you expect. Always check the terms and conditions and the policy schedule before agreeing to the contract.

What can you do if there is a problem with your new build home?

If you don’t have a structural warranty, and you find a defect in your home, you have two expensive choices. First, you can save time and sort out repairs yourself with your own money. Second, you can take the builder/developer to court and try to prove they’re at fault for the defects.

Neither of these are attractive options for new homebuyers who have just set up a mortgage. If you did the smart thing and ensured you had a new build warranty, then you can check your paperwork and follow the steps directed in the policy.

If you notice a structural issue within the first 2 years after completion – not 2 years from your move-in date, unless it was the same day as the completion certificate was issued – then you should contact the builder or developer responsible for your property directly.

When you contact them, be sure to keep a record of all communications and agreements. These will provide supporting evidence if the builder refuses to do the work, leaving you to take your complaint to a dispute resolution scheme or your warranty provider.

From the start of the third year, the builder’s responsibilities are reduced, and it can be harder to get them to respond to your complaints in a timely manner, if at all. If the problem has a significant repair cost attached, it’s best to bypass the builder and make a claim with the policy provider.

Unfortunately, once your structural warranty expires at the 10-year mark, you won’t be able to claim on latent defects that appear more than a decade later. You’ll have to rely on your own building insurance policy, which may not offer the same extent of financial protection.

Where can you get a new build structural warranty?

Since a structural warranty isn’t technically a legal requirement, not all builders or developers even bother to get one. You should always check before agreeing to a sale.

If you’re a buyer in need of a new build structural warranty, or you’re building your own home and require a self-build structural warranty, we can help to make sure you aren’t being short-changed by a dodgy deal.

The ABC+ Structural Warranty available from Architects Certificate can be tailored to a range of property types. You can find out more about this kind of policy in our new build warranty guide, or get in touch to discuss our structural warranties with our team.

Call us on 0161 928 8804, send us an email at info@architectscertificate.co.uk, or fill out our online application form for a quick quote today.

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Published Date: 25th February 2022
Category: ABC+ warranty, building warranty, structural warranty


 

18 
Feb

Why would you need a self-build structural warranty?

why you need a self build structural warranty

It may be easier to simply buy a new-build property, but many people dream of designing their own home. Self-build projects take a lot of time, effort, and money, but the reward of a totally customised residence is often worth it.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that such a big investment has the right financial protections in place from the start – including building site insurance and a structural warranty.

If you’re not sure whether a self-build structural warranty is necessary, or you don’t understand the difference between this policy and self-build site insurance, then this article is for you.

Read on to learn more about why both policies are essential for any successful and long-lasting self-build home.

What is a self-build structural warranty?

Just as a standard structural warranty protects a building development during construction, and for a further ten years after completion of the project, the same applies for a self-build warranty.

The only difference is that rather than a developer or builder taking out the policy and passing it on to the eventual buyer, you would take out the warranty yourself as the builder of your own home.

Whether you participate in the design and construction or hire contractors to handle everything on your behalf, you’d still take the position and responsibility that a developer would.

When you take out a self-build structural warranty, the provider will carry out regular inspections throughout the building process, ensuring that any structural problems are caught and fixed as early as possible.

After your self-build home is completed and signed off, the ten year structural warranty will kick in from the date on the completion certificate. You’ll then have the assurance that you won’t be out of pocket if any latent structural defects show up over the next several years.

The contractors are directly responsible for the first two years, then the warranty provider will handle claims for the remainder.

A thorough structural warranty should cover defects due to poor design or workmanship and faulty materials or components.

This isn’t the same as home insurance, which you’ll need to arrange when you move in to protect your self-build from theft and accidental damage – which the warranty doesn’t cover.

Why would I need a self-build warranty?

So, why is it so important to get a self-build warranty before starting to build your own home? Here are five reasons to secure a structural warranty as early as possible in the self-build process:

1) Quality control – even if you have experience as a project manager, it always helps to get another pair of expert eyes and an impartial opinion on the proceedings.

2) Holding contractors liable – you can’t just rely on the contractor’s insurance, as it’s designed to protect them and not you, whereas your own warranty protects your investment.

3) Peace of mind – the last thing you want is an expensive and time-consuming legal battle if a fault occurs, but the warranty allows you to claim repair costs without litigation.

4) Raising finance – if you’re taking out a loan to fund your project, the bank is likely to require adequate insurance before offering you a mortgage.

5) Selling your home – in the event you end up selling your self-build within ten years, a buyer will also want a warranty for their own mortgage and peace of mind.

One of the biggest issues is funding the project. Unless you already have the money to pay for your self-build upfront, you’ll probably need a stage payment loan – which you’ll find hard to get without a structural warranty.

Even if you do pay for everything yourself, you’ll want a structural warranty in case latent defects develop, so you’re not left to foot the bill for repairs or replacements as well.

To clarify, a structural warranty is also not the same as buildings insurance, which is a type of home insurance alongside contents insurance. You’ll only need those once the building is complete and you’ve moved in, as these policies have different coverage that doesn’t include structural defects.

Do I need self-build site insurance as well?

Whether you do the work yourself or appoint a contractor or builder to do it for you, you must have the right site insurance for the project. Of course, any third parties need their own insurance policies, but you can’t rely on those to protect you financially.

You should secure site insurance as soon as you purchase a plot of land for the self-build, ahead of getting your structural warranty before construction actually begins.

As the owner and overseer of the site and project, you’ll need employers’ liability insurance to cover accidents and injuries for any workers you employ. This is the only type of site insurance that’s actually compulsory by law.

However, it’s a good idea to have policies that cover these things, too:

  • Public liability – in case a member of the public experiences an accident/injury on your site
  • Contract works – if you have to repair or replace property or tools due to damage or theft

Depending on the extent of your contract works insurance, you might need specific cover for the tools being used and stored on your self-build site. This could be owned plant or hired-in plant, plus any other materials insurance.

You’ll need self-build insurance for your building site from the start of construction to completion – though you may be able to extend the cover if the project overruns.

Just as most lenders require the reassurance of a structural warranty for any new build property, they’ll also require you to have the proper self-build site insurance throughout construction. Banks won’t just accept your contractor’s warranty – you’ll need your own cover to secure a mortgage.

How can I get a self-build warranty?

While you’ll be more focused on setting up self-build site insurance at the start, you should apply for a self-build structural warranty a few weeks before construction is due to begin. This is because your warranty provider needs to carry out regular inspections throughout the duration of the build.

The site insurance will cover your structure, equipment, workers, and public liability until the self-build is complete, for the period agreed upon with the provider. The structural warranty will then cover your new home against latent structural defects for the next ten years from completion.

Here at Architects Certificate, we’re proud to offer a widely accepted ten year structural warranty for a variety of property types. Our ABC+ Warranty can also apply to self-build homes, so don’t hesitate to get in touch for a quote if you’re searching for a self-build structural warranty provider.

If you’d like to discuss your project specifications with our team and find out more about the self-build cover we offer, please call us on 0161 928 8804 or email info@architectscertificate.co.uk.

We’ll be happy to guide you through the process of applying for a self-build structural warranty.

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Published Date: 18th February 2022
Category: ABC+ warranty, Contractors all risk insurance, Home warranty, self building first time buyers, structural warranty


 

04 
Feb

We are the main sponsor of the Grand Designs Live virtual show 2022

grand designs live online 2022

Architects Certificate ABC+ Warranty is proud to announce that we are the main sponsor of the upcoming Grand Designs Live Online show. On the 26th and 27th February, virtual visitors can benefit from a weekend of networking, browsing products, and gaining valuable advice from industry experts. Click the button below to secure a FREE place at this prestigious virtual event!

What is Grand Designs Live?

Almost everyone has heard of Grand Designs Magazine, if not the Grand Designs TV show. Based on these well-established bastions of building and home design ideas, Grand Designs Live exhibitions are eagerly anticipated events. With exhibitions by award-winning and accredited experts in a range of disciplines, consumers and commercial developers can discover the latest trends and seek guidance from the best of the best. Due to COVID-19, Grand Designs Live became a virtual event in 2021.

Just because you’re an online attendee doesn’t mean the exhibition is any less exciting, though. You’ll still have the opportunity to ask questions, sit in on discussion panels, and download brochures for products that catch your eye – all from the comfort of your own home or office! Grand Designs expect up to 2,500 attendees for the show’s second year, so you’ll be in good company.

The two-day programme involves plenty of professional exhibitors and covers a wide selection of subjects, which includes:

⦿ Extensions & Renovations

⦿ Interiors & Interior Design

⦿ Gardens & Outdoor Living

⦿ EV Motoring & Charging

⦿ Kitchens & Bathrooms

⦿ Finance & Warranty

⦿ Windows & Glazing

⦿ Sustainability

⦿ Self-Builds

How is ABC+ Warranty helping self-builders and renovators?

As experts in providing property surveys and structural warranties, we’re happy to help any self-builder or developer who needs our services. We’ve been providing peace of mind since 1989, so we’re well-placed to advise people on everything from latent defects insurance to Professional Consultants’ Certificates. As the only 10 Year Structural Warranty provider in the UK registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), you can trust us to deliver a reliable and thorough service.

We provide flexible Structural Warranty solutions in compliance with UK Finance guidelines, helping you to protect your investment in your property against latent structural defects. If damage or faults develop down the line as a result of poor workmanship or materials, you won’t have to worry about paying for repairs or corrective construction work when you have an ABC+ 10 Year Structural Warranty with us. For more information on how we can help, browse our website or contact us directly.

What to expect from the Grand Designs Live: Ask the Experts Weekend

This online event will take place on the advanced Swapcard digital platform, which facilitates real-time video streaming and video or text messaging, amongst many other features. To learn more about the event, visit the Grand Designs Live website or the Grand Designs Magazine website and sign up today. You can also get a sneak peek by taking the virtual tours below.

View the ABC+ Warranty Virtual Tour here:

ABC + Warranty at Grand Designs Live

ABC + Warranty at Grand Designs Live by Grand Designs Live & Insight UK

View the Grand Designs Live Virtual Tour here:

Below is footage of the welcome film from the Grand Designs Live Final with Kevin McCloud:

Welcome to Grand Designs Live Final from Insight UK on Vimeo.

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Published Date: 4th February 2022
Category: architects certificate news, structural warranty


 

03 
Feb

A comprehensive guide to new build warranties

new build structural warranties

Buying a property is an exciting process, especially if it’s going to be your family’s ‘forever’ home. However, to prevent your dream from becoming a financial nightmare down the line, your home will need a structural warranty. Even new builds aren’t exempt from the risks of structural defects.

If you’re planning to buy a new build home, and researching the warranties it should have, then you’ve come to the right place. This blog explains everything you’ll need to know about new build properties and structural warranties, so you can protect your investment for the next 10 years.

What is a new build house?

A ‘new build’ is a new building which has been constructed within the previous two years and has never been lived in. Some new build properties may have been rented or owned once before, but the term usually refers to a brand new house or flat that a developer is selling for the first time.

New builds are extremely popular among first-time homebuyers, because they can get an equity loan from the government through the Help to Buy Scheme. New build homes often come with fittings and fixtures like carpets and white goods, but these depend on the particular developer.

There is also the benefit of newer constructions following the latest standards and regulations, meaning that new builds tend to be more energy efficient. The sales process is often faster, too – unless you’re buying off-plan, in which case construction work might not even have started yet.

Every new build purchase should include a new build structural warranty. This should protect you financially if you find any structural defects within the first 10 years after completion. However, if you carry out any major refurbishments during this period, you may need to get a new warranty.

What is a new build warranty?

This type of new home warranty is a 10-year structural warranty taken out by the developer or builder. The policy is designed to protect the buyer of the new build against the cost of repairing structural defects from faults in the design, materials, workmanship, installation, or construction.

A new build home is likely to have fewer problems than an older building, but this doesn’t mean that latent structural issues are impossible. When buying a new build, you should always review the structural warranty before completing the sale. While it’s not a legal requirement, it gives buyers peace of mind, and most mortgage lenders will also expect there to be a valid warranty in place.

What does a new build warranty cover?

When you buy a property off-plan, the builder or developer should already have a structural warranty in place. Once you exchange contracts, this warranty should protect your deposit – so you can get still that money back if the company goes insolvent before completing the construction.

After the building is complete, the 10-year warranty is split into different insurance periods. The first 2 years are the defects insurance period, during which the builder or developer will be responsible for fixing structural defects. For example, they’d be obligated to fix faulty pipes or window seals.

From the third year onwards, the warranty only holds the developer or builder responsible for major structural problems. This is the structural insurance period, which covers issues with foundations, roofs, chimneys, ceilings, and floors. Smaller defects relating to fixtures and fittings will now be the homeowner’s responsibility to fix. Make sure you’re aware of the date that this period takes effect.

Different providers and warranties may include different conditions, so it’s important to read the policy information thoroughly before finalising a sale. You should be completely clear on what the policy does and doesn’t cover, and discuss anything extra you think it should include with the seller.

What doesn’t a new build warranty cover?

Usually, a new build warranty will not cover damage due to weather or natural wear and tear over time. This type of policy also won’t pay out for damage resulting from lack of adequate maintenance on the homeowner’s part. For issues like condensation and damp, the warranty will only cover them if they result from the builder or developer failing to comply with the conditions of the warranty.

Be sure to check the small print carefully to understand everything that’s included and excluded. Don’t be afraid to question something that doesn’t seem right. It’s always a good idea to have a ‘snagging list’ provision in there to ensure they’ll take care of any smaller defects after completion before you move in. A snag could be anything that looks poorly fitted, unfinished, or damaged.

Do new build warranties affect mortgage applications?

Yes, structural warranties can affect mortgage applications. The majority of lenders will require a structural warranty for a new build home to protect the funds they’re investing into the property.

The qualifying definition of a new build might vary slightly from one lender to another, so check this with the mortgage provider before applying. The mortgage process is generally the same regardless of whether the property is a new build or previously owned, but the loan amount might be lower.

This is because banks tend to tier the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) for new builds to protect themselves against the property’s gradual devaluation. If you buy off-plan, the mortgage valuation will depend on the building specifications, and the mortgage offer may expire during construction – so don’t apply too early in the process, or request an extension if the offer won’t last longer than 6 months.

What happens if you discover a structural defect?

If you notice signs of a structural defect within two years of completion, you should contact the builder or developer. Keep a record of the times, dates, and topics of your communications until they rectify the problem. If they refuse to uphold their obligations for any reason, contact the warranty provider.

Once the defects insurance period expires after two years from the date on the completion certificate, you can no longer contact the developer or builder about a structural problem. During the structural insurance period from years 3 to 10, you’ll have to get in touch with the warranty provider directly.

If you need to make a claim on your new build warranty, check the defects specified in the policy document and the excess you’ll have to pay first. The warranty provider can also tell you whether the policy covers your particular structural issue or not if you contact them to request more details.

What happens to the warranty if you move house?

A structural warranty stays with the property. This means that if you end up moving out and selling the property during those 10 years after its completion, then the warranty will transfer to whoever purchases it from you. The insurance period still applies from completion of the build, so it won’t refresh for the new buyer. If you don’t sell until more than 10 years later, the warranty will expire.

However, if you carry out any renovations during that time, the original warranty may no longer be valid. Refurbishments that affect the structure, such as loft conversions, extensions, or knocking through walls, will require upgrading to a new structural warranty if you still want that cover. Any company guarantees for this type of work won’t transfer, so an updated structural warranty is best.

How is a new build warranty different from home insurance?

A new build structural warranty isn’t the same as home insurance, and the two policy types don’t cover the same things. This is why it’s essential to have both, ensuring your property has the highest level of protection possible. The structural warranty only covers the integrity of the main structure, and defects that the original contractors are responsible for (e.g. architects, builders, developers).

Home insurance is a separate type of insurance that can cover property damage due to fire, floods, or accidents, which the structural warranty doesn’t. Specifically, building insurance protects the property itself, while contents insurance protects your possessions in the event of damage or theft. Neither type of home insurance will cover issues relating to defective construction or materials.

Some banks or building societies will also expect you to have home insurance before accepting a mortgage application. You’ll only need building insurance, as the bank is investing in the building and not your belongings. It’s fine to wait to get contents insurance until you actually move in.

Looking for a new build warranty?

Here at Architects Certificate, we offer our ABC+ Structural Warranty for a range of property types. Whether you need a new build warranty as a seller, a build-to-rent warranty as a developer, or a self-build warranty for your own design, we can help. We can even assist with a complete house warranty if you need to secure a structural warranty after the construction is already complete.

Simply contact us by calling 0161 928 8804 or emailing info@architectscertificate.co.uk to discuss your structural warranty requirements. Alternatively, fill out our quotation request form to receive a quick quote for your building project. You can find out more about our policies by browsing our dedicated policy pages, including the list of approved lenders who accept our structural warranties.

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Published Date: 3rd February 2022
Category: Home warranty, New Home Warranty Insurance, structural warranty


 

 

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