While many first-time buyers prefer the reassurance of a brand-new building, lots of people want to live somewhere more unique than a ‘cookie-cutter’ development. For some, their dream home is a self-build from the ground up, but for others, it’s an existing structure renovated into a residence.
With land at a premium, it makes sense to look for existing properties to upgrade, which is why conversions are popular. Common examples include department stores turned into apartments, and disused churches and barns transformed into avant-garde businesses or private accommodation.
However, the issue with converting an older building is that it’s unlikely to have a current structural warranty, but it is likely to have some structural problems. They won’t necessarily be latent defects originating from poor construction, but the older a building is, the more wear and tear it will have endured over the years.
So, is it possible to get a new structural warranty for a barn conversion? This blog explores some of your barn conversion warranty options, answering common questions about why it’s better to have a structural warranty for your barn conversion project and how to set one up.
A converted barn is an agricultural structure that has been renovated for another use, whether that’s domestic or commercial. Originally used as storage for farming equipment and housing for livestock, barns are typically found in rural areas, making them ideal to convert into rustic homes or quirky businesses. Barn conversions have been known to become restaurants, offices, and more.
Developers and individuals are often on the lookout for modifiable buildings with a unique selling point, and an idyllic adapted barn fits the bill. While other structures such as cow sheds can also be converted into dwellings, a disused barn is more likely to have desirable architectural features, like:
Convertible barns are solid structures with plenty of space inside, usually in a prime countryside location. However, the aesthetics and the views won’t matter if the structure is unusable. You need to consider the materials used for the barn’s construction, such as timber or stone, and the age of the structure and degree of deterioration. The type of structure is also important, as it could be:
These are the most common barn types, but whichever construction method was used, and whether it’s a stone barn or a timber barn, converting it into a dwelling in line with building regulations is likely to take a lot of time, effort, and money. After all, an unused barn probably has no plumbing or electrical wiring, and little insulation, which are all basic requirements for a liveable modern home.
Yes, you can. It may not be as straightforward as getting a new build warranty, but it’s possible. The difficult part is finding a provider who doesn’t perceive a barn conversion to be a risky investment. Barn conversion insurance is a small market, with few lenders willing to take those financial risks.
As a large-scale project, with an older structure and lots of installations and restorations involved, there is a greater potential for structural defects to occur than if you were building a barn-style home from scratch. Therefore, if you do secure a warranty, it will require much more exhaustive and frequent assessments before and during the development, and probably paying higher premiums.
Ideally, the cover for your barn conversion project should follow a similar format to the standard structural warranty. This would include an initial defects insurance period of two years, then a structural insurance period of eight years. Those first two years hold the builders or contractors accountable for fixing construction issues, while the remainder covers major structural defects only.
During this secondary period of cover, you would have to claim for repair costs directly through the warranty provider, who would pay for a significant portion of the necessary works if your claim was successful. Since the kinds of structural defects that might occur in a barn conversion can be very different from a regular house, it’s crucial to set up a bespoke barn conversion warranty early on.
Since structural warranties aren’t legally required, even for converting old buildings, some people believe it’s a skippable expense. However, doing so could get you into hot water later on, especially if you aren’t self-funding the project. Most banks refuse to lend to self-builders without adequate insurance, because they risk losing their money if the structure develops defects that need repairing.
Even if you are putting up the money for the barn conversion completely by yourself, you should want to protect that investment even more. If anything goes wrong with the design or construction, but the defect isn’t evident until later, what will you do? Do you want to be left footing the repair bill yourself, too? Or paying to take third parties to court and provide evidence of their negligence?
Having a barn conversion structural warranty to fall back on is a much more convenient option. This not only gives you some peace of mind, but also makes the property more attractive to tenants or buyers if you plan to rent or sell the completed barn conversion. Overall, with a structural warranty to help cover the costs of latent structural defects, there’s simply less hassle and stress to deal with.
There are so many factors associated with converting a barn that it would make no financial sense to see it all wasted because of other people’s errors. Don’t make the mistake of skipping a structural warranty to try and save money, because it will cost a lot more in the long run to fix latent defects.
If you’re currently on the hunt for a barn conversion warranty, then you’re in luck. At Architects Certificate, we offer an adjustable ABC+ Warranty that can provide latent defects cover for a variety of building types. While insuring barn conversions can be tricky, we’re always up to the challenge.
For the best chance of securing coverage and an agreeable quote, start the application process as soon as possible – around 6 weeks before any work starts, at least. Preparing all the documents in advance will also help if you’ll be applying for a bank loan or mortgage. You’ll need to provide:
The more thorough your supporting evidence, the better your chances of getting a favourable contract. To find out more about how Architects Certificate can help you or to request a barn conversion warranty quote, you can fill out and submit our online application form or call us on 0161 928 8804.
Our chartered surveyors are experts in carrying out thorough structural assessments, and can provide detailed reports on the condition of the structure. To see some examples of the kinds of building conversions we’ve worked with before, take a look at our gallery of previous projects.
When purchasing a new house, it’s usually the responsibility of the buyer or their representative to make sure it’s structurally sound. This often involves hiring a qualified surveyor to carry out an inspection of the property before completion, or multiple inspections throughout construction.
Unfortunately, every construction project carries the risk of defects occurring. Even the most diligent of designers, architects, and construction workers can make mistakes sometimes, whether that’s failing to complete a task to the adequate standards or not recognising a defect during the project.
This is why the developer and/or seller should have some kind of policy to ensure that the property isn’t misrepresented to the buyer, and that if any defects are discovered, the appropriate insurance can help to cover the repair costs. Typically, there should be a relevant structural warranty in place.
Buying a new home can be stressful enough without having to worry about structural defects. So, if you’re in the housing market and want to be prepared, this blog addresses the important questions – what exactly is a structural defect, and who is responsible for them under a new build warranty?
A structural defect, also known as a construction defect, is part of the work that doesn’t meet the specifications set out in the contract and/or construction law. There are many types of defects, but structural defects tend to result from faults in the design, materials, or quality of construction work.
Examples include workers using the wrong materials, installing elements in the wrong order, or laying foundations or load-bearing walls that aren’t strong enough. Mistakes like these can lead to further issues like breaches of planning permissions, cracking foundations, or even total collapse.
In extreme cases, hidden defects can gradually worsen until windows and doors get stuck or break, roofs or floors cave in, or walls crumble. The longer it takes to notice or address the fault, the more expensive it’s likely to be to fix it – if it’s possible to repair the structure rather than write it off.
When facing the possibility of structural defects in your new build home, it’s best to have an expert such as a chartered surveyor on your side, who can help you to identify problems before they get to that point. They can also make the important distinction between patent defects and latent defects.
In construction, a patent defect is an easily recognisable fault that can be picked up early in the process. This could be during the building works, or within a limited period following completion of the structure. If anyone involved identifies an ‘observable’ defect during this time, whether it’s the workers themselves or a third party inspector, then the contractor is responsible for fixing them.
These surface defects are often referred to as snags; the client or their representative will usually do a walk-through at the end of construction and draw up a snagging list of visible defects. The seller and contractor should rectify these issues before the buyer completes the purchase and moves in.
Patent defects are more straightforward to take care of. Since they’re generally obvious to the eye, people can pick up on them quickly and resolve them before they become more substantial. They’re also likely to be discovered sooner, meaning they can often be corrected before the build is finished.
By contrast, latent defects are not immediately detectable. A latent defect can either be concealed or not yet developed, and can take weeks, months, or even years to become apparent. These are more serious for the homebuyer, as the issue tends to be severe by the time there are visible signs.
For example, it may not be possible to assess a defective foundation after completion, and shifting of the ground and subsequent movement of the structure can happen so slowly that nobody notices until the building is sinking or the walls are cracking. Similarly, once all the plastering and laying of floorboards is done, it can be difficult to assess the load-bearing elements for potential defects.
Since they aren’t usually identified during construction or even the first few years after completion, latent defects can be more difficult to resolve. Depending on when the defect becomes known, the original developers and builders may no longer have a contractual obligation to rectify it for you.
The responsibility for new build defects, or structural defects of any kinds, depends on the contracts for the works and the insurance policies of the parties involved. Accountability can be a grey area, especially for latent defects, as it can be difficult to determine who was at fault years afterwards.
Catching patent defects early is preferable, as it’s easier to identify the responsible party, and they will likely be obligated to fix the problems in line with the specifications of the ongoing contract. On the other hand, if a latent defect develops down the line, taking corrective action can be complex.
Firstly, determining the extent of the damage and who is at fault for the flaw (architect, designer, builder, contractor, etc), and whether they are still contractually bound to rectify defects, is an onerous process. Secondly, legal liability often depends on the terms of your property’s structural warranty. If you don’t have one, or a specific liability period has passed, you could be in trouble.
The best way to protect yourself against potential structural defects is to make sure that a new build warranty is already in place before you finalise the sale, and that you’re happy with the terms. Generally, the protections of a structural warranty don’t kick in until the date of completion, but some warranties can also cover you if the developer or seller goes out of business before completing the build.
If a patent defect is discovered during construction, you’re likely to be covered by the building contract itself, as they legally must meet certain specifications in order to fulfil the contract. It will also be difficult to get a certificate of completion if defects and other snags aren’t rectified first.
However, if you pick up on a defect after practical completion, you may only be able to contact the contractor about it if this happens within the first two years. This is the defects insurance period of a structural warranty, during which you can report any problems with the completed work for fixing.
After this (two years from the date on the completion certificate), the next part of the new build warranty kicks in, which is the structural insurance period. This tends to last for eight years, as the remainder of what is usually a ten-year policy. During this time, if a latent defect arises, you can no longer contact the seller or builder. Instead, you must claim the costs directly through the warranty provider.
Depending on the scale and type of defect, the warranty may only pay for partial repair expenses, or none at all if the value is below a certain amount. While you can claim for a variety of problems with the home during the first two years, the following structural insurance period only covers serious structural defects.
As a property buyer, you have several choices. Often, the easiest route is to take on the seller’s own structural warranty, which they should have set up before beginning construction work on your new build. You may be able to adjust the contract terms after consulting with the seller and the provider.
Since it isn’t actually a legal requirement to have a new build warranty, you should make sure to set one up yourself as soon as possible if the developer hasn’t yet. The more the warranty provider’s chartered surveyors can inspect the build throughout, the less likely it is for defects to go unnoticed.
Alternatively, as extra security on top of your latent defects insurance, you could ask the developer about a collateral warranty. This would extend their original construction contract to include you as a third party, creating a direct legal link that should theoretically make it easier to handle defects.
If you’re looking for a new build structural warranty, why not try the ABC+ Warranty quick quote form? Here at Architects Certificate, we provide a range of structural warranties to suit a variety of construction projects, with expert structural assessments included in our many services. For more information, give our team a call on 0161 928 8804 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Both building warranties and home insurance protect the owner’s bank account against costly repairs, but what’s the difference in their coverage? Do you really need both at the same time?
It’s understandable to want to save money by only buying the best insurance product, but you won’t be covering all the bases if you choose one over the other. Let’s look into what these policies are and why investing in both a building warranty and home insurance offers the best financial protection.
A building warranty, structural warranty, or home warranty is a type of insurance policy taken out on a new build. The developer or builder responsible for the project usually sets up the warranty before construction starts, then transfers the policy to the new owner when they buy the property.
This is also known as latent defects insurance, because it protects the policyholder against latent structural defects. In the several years after the build is completed and settles, problems with the structure might develop, caused by defective design, materials, or workmanship during construction.
The structural warranty should cover the expense of repairs or replacement materials, giving the property owner peace of mind that they won’t be out of pocket for a problem that wasn’t their fault. These warranties can apply to new build homes, commercial properties, self-builds, and more.
Whereas the property developer is initially responsible for a building warranty, it’s the responsibility of the buyer to ensure they have personal insurance for their new residence or business insurance for their new premises. Home insurance covers your property against other types of damage to the building and your belongings, which the latent defects warranty doesn’t as a structure-only policy.
This includes events like vandalism and theft, fire and smoke, and weather damage (e.g. flooding from heavy rain or falling trees from high winds). You can purchase separate policies for building insurance (applying to the building itself) or contents insurance (applying to your possessions only), or opt for an inclusive home insurance policy that rolls both types of coverage into one contract.
Home insurance may also cover you for legal expenses in the case of a third-party injury claim on your property. Standard coverage will normally exclude circumstances like extreme natural disasters.
As you can see, these insurance types cover different risks, so you’ll be leaving yourself open to more liabilities if you only have one of them and not the other. If you would prefer full protection for damage to the structure, the building as a whole, and everything inside it, then you’ll need both.
If that isn’t reason enough, financial lenders will also expect you to have a structural warranty and home insurance set up before you apply for a mortgage. Since they’ll be paying for part of the property upfront, mortgage providers are unlikely to take the risk on an unprotected investment.
If you’re in need of a structural warranty for any type of building project, why not contact Architects Certificate to get a no-obligation quote? We may not provide home insurance here, but we do offer bespoke building warranties, so call us on 01619 288 804 or email email@example.com.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
On the other hand, these are examples of ‘minor’ issues that your warranty isn’t likely to pay for:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
We’ll be happy to guide you through the process of applying for a self-build structural warranty.
Whichever type of property your development may be, structural warranties are essential if you want to protect your investment. It’s best to have such a warranty in place before construction even begins, but here at Architects Certificate, we know that isn’t always possible.
This leaves many homebuyers wondering: can you get a retrospective structural warranty after completion? If construction has already finished and you’re looking for the answer to this question yourself, have a read through our completed house warranty blog below.
Though you may have heard of a retrospective Professional Consultants Certificate (PCC), these aren’t the same thing as a retrospective structural warranty. If you want a higher level of financial protection, you should opt for a 10-year structural warranty rather than a 6-year PCC.
Not only does a PCC have a shorter period of cover, but it also doesn’t guarantee compensation in the event of a structural defect. You’ll have to go to court and prove that the builder, developer, or architect is at fault. However, a structural defects warranty allows you to make a direct claim.
You can have both a PCC and a structural warranty at the same time, with concurrent periods of cover, but this isn’t really necessary. If you want to save money upfront, a PCC will be cheaper – and you can always apply to upgrade it to a structural warranty later if you want further coverage.
A completed house warranty is more of a generic term that can apply to either a retrospective PCC or a retrospective structural defects warranty. It depends on the type of cover that you choose to apply for. In any case, the same legal limitations apply to both types of architects’ certificate.
The issue with leaving your application until after the building is already finished is that the warranty provider won’t be able to carry out progressive inspections throughout the duration of the build. There will normally be at least six inspections from the start of the project to completion.
If it’s only possible to perform one post-completion survey, and the surveyor finds any structural problems at this stage, it may be too late to address them – at least not without even more work and increasing expenses. They cannot issue a completed house warranty if it fails this survey.
The limitation of a post-completion warranty is that the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), now UK Finance, only allow providers to issue these warranties retrospectively if the contract doesn’t vary from the original CML-prescribed terms.
This means you cannot change the wording, so the level of liability won’t change, either. The warranty will exist and be enforceable as though the property was inspected from the very start, holding the contracted parties liable from the outset.
Since a full building condition survey after completion must be much more intensive, and the provider is accepting a higher degree of risk, a retrospective warranty will also come with higher costs than if you engaged their services at the beginning or even partway through.
If your completed house fails to comply with the required technical standards, you won’t be able to get a warranty. Even if the property passes the inspection well, your contract will apply from the actual date of completion, not the later date when the certificate is issued.
In summary, a completed house warranty will apply in exactly the same way as an original PCC or structural defects warranty would. For this reason, it’s not actually possible to get a retrospective architects’ certificate that applies from a date beyond the building completion.
Now you know all about structural warranties for completed houses, why not contact us to request a completed house warranty quote? As providers of Professional Consultants’ Certificates and structural warranties for all types of properties, the Architects Certificate team could help you.
Whether you just want the peace of mind that your home is as financially protected as possible, or you’re completing home renovations and need a new warranty, we can supply transferable certificates for eligible properties. Call 0161 928 8804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Searching for the right property can be a long and stressful process. Even when a particular home seems promising, you’ll probably find that your location, design, and price ideals rarely align.
The alternative is to build your own home instead of buying a pre-built property. This allows you to tailor every aspect to your personal needs and preferences – with guidance from the experts.
You could try to do most of it yourself (if you have the experience and qualifications to carry out building work). Or, you could hire an architect and builders to take care of things for you.
The last option, for those who want a hands-off experience, is hiring a contractor to sort everything out on your behalf. However, this approach is obviously going to be more expensive.
Whichever self-build route you take, it’s likely that you’ll need a mortgage to finance the project. After all, most of us don’t have the funds to build an entire house just sitting around.
Standard mortgages are for newly-built properties, so you’ll need a specialist mortgage. Let’s take a look into stage payment mortgages and how they can help you to self-build your dream home.
Banks tend to release standard mortgage funds once a property sale completes.. Mortgages for self-builds are different. They release payments in instalments instead of a lump sum, across multiple stages of the building process.
This type of mortgage allows you to borrow money to buy land to build on first, then pay for the construction in stages as it progresses. It’s helpful for managing cashflow if you don’t have the funds to pay for the project upfront yourself.
Since it’s a specialist loan, there are fewer providers to choose from than for standard mortgages. The stage payments reduce the lender’s risk, as there’s more room for error with self-builds if they aren’t managed properly.
There are typically two self-build or stage payment mortgages available: advance and arrears.
Advance mortgages allow you to draw the funds ahead of each stage to fund each part of the project. They usually cover up to 75% of the value, so the deposit will be around 25%.
Arrears mortgages only release payments after the completion of each stage. This means you have to fund each stage yourself first, then the mortgage instalments will essentially repay you. You’ll also have to pay a larger deposit of up to 50%, as this type covers less of the value.
Self-build mortgage loan amounts depend on whether they’re cost-based or valuation-based. This means the stage payments are based on either a portion of the project costs or the value of the project at each stage – usually, whichever is lower.
Each potential lender will assess your financial circumstances (income, outgoings, and debts) and your project planning to establish how much they want to lend you. The more prepared you are, with accurate cost projections, the more likely they are to approve your self-build loan.
Interest rates for these mortgages are higher than standard rates due to the higher risk involved for the lender. They tend to be around 4-6% per annum. However, some lenders will reduce the interest rate later in the build when the property is habitable.
Depending on the lender and particular mortgage, you may be ‘tied in’ to this loan for 1-3 years. Self-build homes typically take at least a year to complete. Once you have a Building Control Completion Certificate, you may be able to switch to lower interest.
There are many advantages to self-build mortgages. They enable you to make regular payments to your contractor or purchase materials as needed. Since you only take an instalment, this keeps your monthly interest payments lower than if you had to pay interest on the total amount from day 1.
Of course, the main draw of these mortgages is that they enable you to design your ideal home. Rather than buying a new build in a cookie-cutter development, you can customise everything exactly how you want it. The final product often has a higher property value than it costs to build.
The higher deposits and interest rates are the main downside, as you still have to cover your living costs elsewhere throughout the build. It also requires much more paperwork in preparation. You need planning permission and project cost evaluations ready before you can even apply.
On the plus side, there’s the potential of saving thousands of pounds in Stamp Duty. While this tax has increased when buying completed builds, you can get around this with a self-build. You’ll only have to pay Stamp Duty on the land that you bought to build your home on, not the building itself.
Understandably, you want to know when you’ll receive the mortgage payments. The lender will normally only release the stage payments after receiving a satisfactory report at each stage. Your supervising architect or the lender’s property valuer will complete regular inspections.
Many lenders won’t offer a mortgage on a land purchase only, and will only release the first payment once the foundations have been laid and inspected. The regular inspections will allow the lender to monitor your progress, and ensure you’re staying on track with the project plan.
Most banks will permit Architect’s Certificates as proof of the status of a building project in order to release the funds. Prior to the final payment, you must provide a copy of a Professional Consultant’s Certificate (PCC) to confirm the property’s completion.
The key stages for self-build mortgage instalments may vary according to the lender, but they tend to follow this pattern:
These can vary according to the type of build, as ‘brick and block’ construction is different to timber frame construction. Renovations, such as barn conversions, are also completely different to self-builds from the ground up on empty land.
Self-build mortgage criteria will vary from lender to lender, so you’ll need to double-check their specific requirements before applying. Some require working to a fixed budget, and you may have to include contingency costs of up to 20% in your build cost estimates.
The criteria usually depend on the build type and location, but you will obviously need to comply with current Building Regulations at all times. You’ll need to identify or estimate the costs for:
When applying for the mortgage, you’ll need to provide copies of the relevant documentation. This includes fixed-price contracts for architect’s and builder’s work, if applicable. The bank can take up to 3 months to process this while they investigate your paperwork and finances.
You must be able to prove that the construction project is registered with the HB47 Scheme, or that it will be supervised from start to finish by a qualified architect or building surveyor. In the latter case, they must have certification for adequate professional indemnity insurance.
You’ll also need an appropriate building insurance policy and structural warranty. Please be aware that these are not the same thing, and banks usually require prospective borrowers to have both in place. These legal protections should give you peace of mind, as well as the lender.
When you take out a self-build loan, the lender will expect an initial evaluation at the beginning, interim evaluations throughout the project, and a final evaluation on completion. To prove to the bank that everything is proceeding as planned, you’ll need Stage Payment Certificates.
Also known as interim certificates, or ‘pay as you build’ certificates, you won’t be able to receive the funds and pay contractors without them. Luckily, the ABC+ Warranty team at Architects Certificate can provide these all-important documents for your self-build project.
Simply get in touch and we can ensure that due diligence is done for your self-build construction. You can call us on 0161 928 8804 or send enquiries via email to email@example.com. We’ll be happy to advise you on Stage Payment Certificates for your project.
A Structural Warranty is an important piece of insurance that protects you against damages and financial losses caused by defects in building and construction work – including any defects in materials.
Without it, you could end up facing costly repair bills, or find yourself in a lengthy legal process trying to recover costs from developers should any defects emerge.
Previously, the go-to option for a Structural Warranty was the National House Building Council.
But this isn’t the case anymore as competition in the market means there are more options than ever to choose from.
This, of course, brings its own challenges.
Mostly, choosing a Structural Warranty that provides you with the right level of protection you need, within the budget you’ve got.
In this guide, we’ll go through the main issues you should think about and key questions you need to ask when choosing a Structural Warranty to make sure you get the protection you need.
Who’s providing the insurance?
As with most insurance policies, you’ll have to consider the insurer who will underwrite the warranty and payout in the case you need to make a claim.
There are a number of insurers who can provide cover under a Structural Warranty, so whether you go with an established provider or a newer entrant to the market could impact the cost and level of cover they’re able to provide.
What level of cover do you need in your Structural Warranty?
A Structural Warranty can provide differing levels of cover based on what you need.
It can cover any repairs as well as the partial or complete rebuild of a property as a result of defects.
With this in mind, you need to make sure your property is fully insured for any eventuality.
If not, you could find yourself with a substantial repair bill.
Also, if you’ve obtained a Structural Warranty for a project that includes existing structures, does the policy cover defects in the existing building or is it just for the new work?
Most policies only cover new work, so this is something you’ll need to pay attention to.
Who is liable for repairs in the case of defects?
A main advantage of buying a Structural Warranty is that it can remove any doubt over who is responsible for repair work or rebuilds in the event you make a claim as a result of defects.
Typically, developers will be responsible for any repair work during the first two years of the warranty.
After that, you should ensure you understand who will be responsible.
Are you covered for defects caused by water ingress?
If your property suffers from damage caused by water, or from the drainage system as a result of defects caused during the design or work on the property – or due to materials used in the development – you should be covered under a Structural Warranty.
Make sure you check with your provider that the wording of the warranty does protect you in these instances.
When will technical reviews take place?
Ideally, you should have a Structural Warranty in place before any building work takes place.
The warranty provider will review all structural drawings to identify any potential problems, and then carry out regular checks of work during development to check for defects.
As part of the warranty you should establish how often these checks will take place, and what feedback and results you can expect.
You should also understand the standards the project is being reviewed under.
Get peace of mind with a Structural Warranty
Our award-winning ABC+ Building Warranty covers all types of properties from residential to commercial, newly built to converted, mixed development schemes to single dwellings, housing associations to self-builders.
We can help you find a warranty to help cover the costs of fully or partially rebuilding a property in the event of defects or for carrying out repair work.
We’ve worked with tens of thousands of residential and commercial property projects in UK.
Get our indicative QUICK QUOTE in minutes or call our offices to discuss your building project tel. 0161 928 8804
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A successful opening of ABC+ Warranty new offices in Altrincham by the Mayor of Trafford Tom Ross.
Many local businesses and members of the construction industry attended on May 9th.
ABC+ Warranty is expanding as the growth of structural warranties for new and converted homes continues.
Call 0845 680 0467 the office for a structural warranty quote for your new build project.
Altrincham Today coverage of our Open Event happening on May 9th.
Anyone wishing to attend can reserve their place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0161 928 8804 and asking for Victoria Marsland.