With an ever-growing demand for new build homes, developers and builders are often under pressure to complete projects quickly. However, cutting corners to save time and money is a bad idea. Construction work should always follow best practices and both local and national rules.
To ensure this happens, your local authority’s Building Control team should inspect the site for compliance with Building Regulations. Similarly, if you set up a building warranty for the new property, your warranty provider should send surveyors to carry out regular risk assessments.
Having multiple sets of expert eyes helps to prevent poor workmanship and compromises on safety, ensuring that everything meets the appropriate technical standards until the building is complete. Yet, you may wonder how these types of inspections are different – so here’s what you should know.
Every newly constructed building must legally comply with Building Regulations, as well as existing buildings with certain alterations. The UK government has published Approved Documents covering the standards for everything from fire safety and sanitation to structural design and materials used.
Before you can sell a new build, you’ll need a completion certificate issued by the local Building Control department. They’ll send a Building Control surveyor towards the end of construction to make sure everything meets the minimum requirements for health and safety and functionality.
The Building Control officer will be looking for structural, electrical, and fire safety issues, as well as assessing drainage, ventilation, and energy conservation measures. They often require much more information in more detail than a Structural Warranty surveyor, and can legally demand certain actions depending on their findings. Building Control can refuse to issue certificates until problems are fixed, or prosecute and fine the responsible parties if their work continues to be substandard.
While Structural Warranties aren’t a legal requirement the way that Building Regulations are, they have their own sets of technical standards that the construction work must meet. This is why your provider will send their own chartered surveyors to carry out inspections at key stages of the build.
Another difference is that while Building Control comes in later in the project, it’s best to set up a Structural Warranty as close to the start as possible. The more risk assessments we can perform throughout, the more likely it is that any potential problems are caught early enough to fix them.
These types of inspections begin with a site risk assessment, reviewing the ground conditions and design specifications. Next are several ‘key risk’ inspections and ‘frequency visits’ during critical stages, such as construction of the foundations and installation of the drains and waterproofing. These surveys are proactive instead of reactive, giving you opportunities to take corrective action.
If you want your development to pass Building Control inspections and receive a certificate of completion without a hitch, then getting a Structural Warranty earlier on can help. With our key stage surveys, you minimise the risk of overseeing an issue that could develop into a defect later.
This means that potential buyers and leaseholders, plus lenders who may be providing finance such as a mortgage, are more likely to trust in the quality of your building. Having both a Building Control certificate and a Structural Warranty certificate can go a long way in boosting customer confidence.
So, if you’re looking for a suitable building warranty for your construction project, whether it’s one or multiple properties, or for residential or commercial purposes, contact the Architects Certificate team today. Our ABC+ Warranty is one of the most competitive around, so request a quote today.
Buying a new build home is exciting, but it’s important to be sure of what you’re getting before you commit to a sale. Nobody wants to move into their dream house just to discover endless problems with the building down the line. This is why it’s so important to thoroughly inspect the property before completion, giving you the opportunity to identify issues while there’s still time to fix them.
While it’s possible to do a DIY house survey, it’s easy to miss things or for developers to mislead you if you don’t know what you’re looking for. On the other hand, a structural warranty surveyor will have the experienced eye and equipment needed to analyse every aspect properly on your behalf.
Once the keys have been handed over and the home is officially yours, it can be difficult to get the seller or builder to take responsibility for fixing defects without this type of new build insurance. Here we run through the ways that new build surveys can help you, including a snag list template.
A ‘snag’ is a slang term for a construction defect, with ‘snagging’ commonly used to refer to the process of identifying and correcting these defects. Snags tend to be the result of substandard workmanship and materials. They can be purely cosmetic, such as cracked tiles or messy paint, or more serious functional issues like faulty fittings – from windows and doors to wiring and plumbing.
The idea of a ‘snag list’ or ‘snagging list’ is to compile an inventory of existing or potential problems with a property at the time of the inspection. You can then present this information to the seller or builder, with the caveat that you cannot finalise the sale until they remedy all the issues on the list.
Of course, all new build homes undergo official checks for planning permissions before construction begins and building regulation compliance before receiving a certificate of completion. However, this doesn’t always guarantee that your new home will have the quality you expect, as these inspections might overlook comparatively minor issues, while a dedicated snag list should pick up on everything.
A snagging survey isn’t always necessary when buying a property. For example, when purchasing an older second-hand property a homebuyers’ survey would be more suitable. As this type of list is used to negotiate with the developer for further work, it’s most applicable for new build homes.
Completing a snagging list isn’t compulsory, but it’s useful when buying a new build off-plan or through the government’s Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers. It can ensure that your finished property satisfies your expectations, rather than having to live with ongoing issues after moving in while the developer gives you the run-around – which they might try if you don’t have a warranty.
The developer isn’t obligated to provide a snagging survey for you, and they aren’t likely to offer, as many large developments are more concerned with quantity and speed than quality and attention to detail. Unless you have in-depth knowledge of construction yourself, you’re more likely to focus on superficial flaws during a DIY survey, and may not recognise the signs of more severe defects.
In these situations, it’s best to pass the responsibility to a qualified expert, who you can trust to carry out comprehensive inspections and push for resolutions to problems on your behalf. If you have a new build structural warranty in place, a surveyor should perform multiple inspections from the start of construction to right before completion, reducing the risk of undetected latent defects.
While professional inspections can take place at any point in the construction process, it’s best to do a dedicated snagging survey as closely as possible to completion. You can do this either before or after completion, but it’s best to assess the property before all work is finished and contracts signed, as the developers should be able to go back and correct the list of snags ahead of you moving in.
When you have a builder’s warranty or structural warranty that comes with the property, these policies usually give you 2 years from the property completion date to report more snags to the builder. After you move in, it’s important to document any defects you find with both written and photographic evidence from day one, so the builder can’t argue that you’re at fault for the damage.
A new build latent defects insurance policy, which is a type of 10-year structural warranty, can be an invaluable safety net if anything is missed off the snagging list. Not all defects are immediately noticeable, and some can take years to develop, long after the initial 2-year period expires. This is where the remaining 8 years of cover come in, easing the financial stress of repairing latent snags.
There are so many components in the construction of a house, but it’s necessary to check that every element has been implemented properly. Here’s a quick overview of what you should be inspecting:
Of course, this list is not exhaustive – and without prior experience in this area, you may not know what correct fittings should look like, or when a defect is minor and superficial or something serious.
As we’ve mentioned throughout, the easiest way to protect your financial investment in your new build house is to secure a structural warranty as early as possible. When you take out such a policy with a specialist provider like Architects Certificate, the key stage inspections can negate the need to carry out a separate snagging survey. Any problems will already be flagged in the regular reports.
Of course, you have the option of hiring a dedicated snagging surveyor, but this generates another bill, while you could take advantage of the reports included in the warranty you’re already paying for if you really wanted to create a new build snagging list. Additionally, you’d have to negotiate with the developer about snags yourself, whereas structural warranty claims give you some reassurance.
Do you think you could benefit from a new build structural warranty to help protect you against snags? Fill out our quick quote form online to receive your no-obligation quotation today, or contact our team with any enquiries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0161 928 8804.
There are many possible causes of structural flaws, but they often start with defective design and workmanship. For example, an architect could make a mistake in their building plans, an engineer could make a miscalculation, or a contractor could purchase the wrong materials for the project.
Whether the plans are accurate or not, the construction workers can also be careless, either on purpose or by accident. Failing to follow proper procedures and installing things incorrectly can lead to countless issues, such as weak spots in the walls, uneven flooring, and unstable foundations.
Of course, all homes need to comply with building regulations for residences and local planning permissions, but any person or even several people can overlook an error at any point in the process. It’s also possible for this to happen later if you make further structural alterations.
This is just one reason why diligent structural inspections are important. When your property has a structural building warranty, part of the package involves a chartered surveyor inspecting the site at regular intervals during the build, which makes it more likely for mistakes to be discovered earlier.
Other frequent causes of latent structural defects include the following:
Improper ventilation and insulation can cause structural materials, like the mortar between bricks, to expand and contract with changing temperatures and airflow. This causes cracking and eventual destabilisation – as can climbing plants and invasive weeds, if they get a foothold in the masonry.
When you see your home every single day, you may not pay close attention to small changes. On the other hand, since you know what it’s supposed to be like, you might notice a defect right away when there’s a crack in the wall that shouldn’t be there or your windows won’t open properly anymore.
No matter if you’re a particularly observant person or not, you should periodically check both the inside and outside of your house for signs of structural damage. At least once a month or so, do a thorough visual inspection of the exterior and interiors to look out for the following problems:
These are just some of the most frequent visible signs of structural failure. While it’s normal to see small hairline cracks as a house settles over the years, large and long horizontal cracks and vertical cracks that follow a ‘staircase’ pattern are an urgent warning, as they’re signs of structural erosion.
If you notice the first hints of any of the above, don’t just ignore them or try to work around them. Filling in gaps, painting over cracks, and adjusting hinges won’t fix the underlying defects, which will only continue to get worse. It’s crucial to identify the source and tackle it promptly and completely.
The last thing any property owner wants is to discover a latent defect that requires expensive repair work. Even if the damage isn’t your fault, you’ll still have to foot the bill yourself if you don’t have a contract that holds the responsible parties liable – unless you have a structural warranty to rely on.
If you begin to notice signs that something is wrong with your structure, don’t brush them off. You could be putting yourself or others in danger – both physically and financially. The steps you’ll need to take depend on how long it’s been since the completion certificate was issued for the property.
When it’s been less than 2 years from the date of completion, you’re still in the defects insurance period. This means you should be able to report defects directly to the builder/contractor, who is obligated to conduct the necessary repairs during this time and recoup costs via their own insurance.
If it’s been more than 2 years, but less than 10 years, you’ll be in the remaining structural insurance period. During these 8 years, the policy only covers serious latent structural defects, and you must submit a claim through the provider – like ourselves at Architects Certificate – instead of contacting the builder. The terms of your warranty will specify which defects you can claim for and the amount.
Unfortunately, without a structural building warranty in place, your options are limited and likely to be pricey. You can either pay for assessments and repairs yourself, or take the party you believe to be responsible to court (e.g. a builder or architect) – in which case, you’ll have to supply evidence proving their liability and negligence, and arrange legal representation, none of which will be cheap.
If you don’t have a building warranty to fall back on, you can still hire an expert to conduct a one-off structural inspection. They should be able to identify the defects and their probable causes, explain what must be done to fix them, and provide a report that can help you with organising repair work.
The sooner you uncover a defect and take action, the less money, time, and stress it should involve to put it right. If you are buying or selling a new property and need a structural warranty, or you already have a policy with us, you can get in touch with the ABC+ Warranty team on 0161 928 8804.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone involved in construction, from designing to building, should know the importance of proper site insurance. There are many potential liabilities in this line of work – the bigger the project, the more risks there will be.
Unforeseen incidents on your construction site, from floods and fires to vandalism and theft, can lead to costly repairs or replacement work. This is where contractors’ all risk insurance comes in to cover these costs for you.
As a contractor, you would still be obligated to complete the work, and the customer wouldn’t want to pay twice over – but why should you be out of pocket for an incident that wasn’t your fault?
You deserve the peace of mind that this kind of coverage can give you, so keep reading to learn more about all risk contractors’ insurance policies and how they can help you and your business.
This type of flexible insurance policy provides far more extensive cover than the typical ‘named perils’ format. Also known as CAR insurance for short, or construction insurance, it offers financial support for contractors and construction companies.
While ‘named perils’ insurance only allows you to claim for certain conditions specified in the policy, ‘all risk’ insurance allows you to claim for more casualties that aren’t explicitly excluded. So, even if an incident category isn’t mentioned, the policy could still cover it.
‘All risk’ essentially means that the policy will cover all types of damage to works and equipment, unless the terms expressly omit the particular occurrence. The ability to claim for a range of property damages and third-party injuries can be very useful if something does go wrong.
Contractors’ all risk insurance is more or less an all-in-one policy that encompasses other common types of project insurance, including contract works and public liability cover. You can get separate policies for these, but it’s more efficient and cost-effective to roll them into an all risk policy.
In order for clients to get their own residential or commercial cover for the building in progress, their insurers will expect you (the contractor) to at least have the correct public liability insurance.
All risk insurance for contractors can generally be taken out by anyone working in any type of construction, from builders and bricklayers to plumbers and plasterers. Any business responsible for construction site works should consider taking out a contractors’ all risk policy.
The contract with the client should set out the obligations of each party, including who is responsible for ensuring each element of the build. It’s usually easier for the contractor to take care of it, but a joint CAR policy is sometimes preferred for larger projects with multiple parties involved.
For example, both the employer and contractor may want to be named in the same policy, with the option of also naming finance providers (e.g. banks or individual investors). All parties then have the right to claim against the insurance policy if damages or injuries affect their stake in the project.
In such a case, where multiple parties might make a claim under the same policy, all named parties have the additional responsibility of informing the insurer of any incidents that could lead to a claim, even if there are no intentions of making one at the time of notifying the policy provider.
The level of cover and length of the policy term can vary from project to project, so you always need to triple-check what’s covered and what isn’t. These contracts tend to include the following policies:
The ‘contract works’ element provides protection for the property while it’s being built, including the construction materials being used and stored onsite. If the structures in progress are damaged or materials stolen, the policy should cover the costs of repairs and replacement materials. However, it won’t cover any pre-existing structures on the site that you might also be renovating or converting.
If a third party is injured or their property is damaged while on your project site, they may make a claim against you. Having public liability cover means you won’t have to worry so much about legal fees and compensation if this does happen. A ‘third party’ could be anyone on the site who isn’t a contractor or employee, like sub-contractors, customers, suppliers, and members of the public.
Even if you aren’t actually employing anyone, employers’ liability cover tends to be a standard contractual requirement. This is because UK employment law makes it mandatory for companies to protect their employees while they’re working for you. If an unfortunate accident happens on your site and your employee suffers illness, injury, or even death as a result, this can cover their compensation.
There is a wide variety of expensive professional equipment in use on a building site at any given time, from scaffolding and Portakabin offices to cranes and excavators. Whether your company directly owns the machinery or you’re temporarily leasing it under a hire agreement, you need to be sure that your insurance can cover repairing or replacing equipment that gets damaged in your custody.
When it comes to power tools and related hand-operated equipment, many employees prefer to use their own – though some businesses prefer to supply company equipment. In either case, your site insurance should also cover damage or theft of own tools and any other personal belongings onsite. This usually won’t include sub-contractors, who should have their own cover in place for their own tools.
Depending on the provider, it’s possible to extend the coverage of builders’ all risk insurance to specifically include further conditions. A common option is non-negligence insurance, which covers you against claims for unexpected damage to neighbouring property resulting from your ongoing works. Legal expenses insurance is also useful should you need to seek expert legal guidance.
While CAR insurance has the advantage of covering a spectrum of policies, unfortunately, it can’t actually cover everything. The all risk insurance contract should explicitly state what the policy holder or holders won’t be able to claim for. The following are common all risk insurance exclusions:
Sometimes known as an ‘act of God’ or force majeure (French for ‘greater force’), any damages from an unpredictable and unpreventable event with no realistic human control over the outcome are often excluded from all risks insurance cover. These types of perils could be natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes, sudden events like riots or war, or pollution or radiation.
Different insurers will have different methods for assessing risks, and the cost of contractors’ all risk premiums will depend on a range of factors. Here are some common considerations that usually affect the cost:
Since this type of insurance covers you against a greater number of possible events, premiums are higher than other less extensive policies. However, you can try to keep your contractors’ all risk insurance costs down by avoiding riskier work in dangerous locations, and completing smaller contracts. You can also opt for the standard cover without paying extra for tailored extensions.
Whatever you’re looking for from contractors’ all risk insurance, we’re sure that we can help you here at Architects Certificate. Not only are we a leading provider of structural warranties with our ABC+ 10 Year Structural Warranty, but we also provide contractors’ all risk insurance quotes.
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.
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!
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
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.
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:
View the Grand Designs Live Virtual Tour here:
Below is footage of the welcome film from the Grand Designs Live Final with Kevin McCloud: