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.
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