What is a Self-Build Warranty?

Building a custom home should be a dream come true, with every element created to your exact requirements. However, there’s always the risk that latent structural defects could disrupt your self-build dream, no matter how careful you or your contractors try to be.

That’s where a Self-Build Warranty comes in, offering long-term financial protection against the cost of repairing structural failures. This kind of Self-Build Latent Defects Insurance can also encourage lenders that providing funds for your project isn’t too risky of an investment.

There are many unique challenges involved with self-build homes, especially if planning permissions and building practices are all-new territory for you. Why leave yourself open to significant financial losses when you could purchase peace of mind with a Self-Build Structural Warranty?

Are you constructing a custom-designed home?

Anyone planning to oversee a self-build project and live in the property when it’s completed should have Self-Build Structural Cover. If you have a plot of land but construction is yet to commence, it’s likely that you’ll need a Structural Warranty in order to secure the funding for the project.

Similarly, if you intend to occupy the home for several years but could possibly sell it on within the next decade, then potential buyers will need the security of an existing policy. Not only does this protection make the property more attractive, but it also enables the buyers to get a mortgage.

As your self-build progresses, you’ll have the reassurance of the Structural Defects Warranty to back you up. Regular surveys and reports from the provider will ensure that construction is going smoothly and in compliance with the law, reducing the risk of latent defects occurring.

What does a Self-Build Structural Warranty cover?

Either the builder, developer, or future homeowner can take out a Structural Warranty for a self-build, but it’s usually done by the owner, since it’s their home being built from the ground up. This type of policy tends to be transferable, meaning it can be assigned to the first property owner or a new owner without affecting the terms.

If you’re going to own and live in the home, then having legal protection against defective design and workmanship can be invaluable. A Self-Build Warranty will cover your property for a fixed term of 10-12 years after completion, but it can also protect you if the contractors become insolvent at any point before the construction work finishes.

With this warranty, your builders will be held responsible for any structural problems that become apparent in the first 2 years, and will be legally obligated to rectify them at their own expense (or under their own insurance). After that, the specific builders don’t have to perform the repairs, but your Self-Build Structural Warranty can pay for the work if you make a successful claim before the end of the insurance term (either 10 or 12 years).

How is a Self-Build Warranty different?

When you’re building your own house rather than buying from a builder or seller, the process and required protections are different. Just as you can’t get a standard mortgage for a self-build home, neither will a standard Structural Warranty provide the correct cover.

While a Self-Build Warranty follows the same defects insurance period (2 years) and consecutive structural insurance period (8 years), it will require different levels of inspection – particularly if you’ll be doing some of the work yourself, as a non-professional designer or builder.

Self-builders are obviously more involved in the customisation of the property, but are still likely to hire contractors to complete design and construction work. If you’re relying on third parties to build your custom house, quality control is even more important.

When you set up a Self-Build Structural Warranty, you’ll have the expert eyes of a qualified surveyor on your side for regular routine inspections. They’ll have the know-how to make sure the build is progressing correctly and safely, lowering the risk of structural errors.

Why choose us for your Self-Build Warranty?

We understand the importance of Structural Defects Protection at ABC+ Warranty & Architects Certificate, which is why we offer a range of Structural Warranty solutions and certifications. We make it easy to get a quote online, giving you an indication of the cost before you commit to us.

When we offer you a formal quote in writing, you can be sure that there are no hidden costs to trip you up later on. We operate honestly and thoroughly, and our expert team is always available to give advice if you need more information on our Self-Build Warranties or other products.

Simply call us on 0161 928 8804 or send an email to info@architectscertificate.co.uk and we’ll gladly resolve your enquiries. Get in touch today to secure a Self-Build Structural Warranty accepted by a wide selection of approved lenders on the Council of Mortgage Lenders list.

Self-Build Structural Warranty Checklist

If you’re dreaming of building your own home but aren’t sure where to start, click below to download our helpful checklist. It features all the important considerations you need to take into account when planning your self-build, so you can be sure that you’re covering all the bases before you get started.

This will help you with planning everything from the design to the budget, and will inform your Self-Build Mortgage application. Once you’ve checked everything off and your plans are in motion, remember to contact us to secure your Self-Build Structural Warranty quote before construction begins.

Self-Build Structural Warranty Checklist


— Established in 1989.  

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Why do I need a Self-Build Warranty?

Not everyone involved in a self-build project will have experience in construction. Without in-depth knowledge of Building Regulations and structural integrity, you might not realise that others are making technical mistakes when constructing your self-build property. If you don’t know what to look out for, you should entrust an expert surveyor like those on our team to do it for you.

Most Structural Warranty claims are a result of poor workmanship that wasn’t noted at the time, which is why extensive auditing throughout construction and Latent Defects Insurance extending past completion are so important. No doubt you’re investing a lot of money into your dream home, so you don’t want to incur financial losses if a structural element fails later on.

Aside from the security and peace of mind having a Self-Build Structural Warranty can give you, many lenders will require this policy to be in place before agreeing to loan you anything. If you’re relying on a self-build mortgage with stage payments to fund the project, then you’ll definitely need this warranty. It’s likely that a Professional Consultants Certificate won’t be enough.

When should I get a Self-Build Warranty?

While it’s possible to get a Completed Property Warranty after the construction is already finished, it’s not advisable to wait that long for a self-build home. If your mortgage provider needs up-to-date reports to release your funds, you’ll have to cover the upfront costs yourself before the bank can ‘reimburse’ you at the end, which is far too expensive for most people to manage.

It’s best to secure a Self-Build Warranty as early as possible in the process, so that regular and comprehensive checks can happen right from the beginning. As soon as you have acquired the land, and all the planning documents and cost calculations are organised, you should start looking for a suitable Structural Warranty to cover your self-build development.

As a general guide, it’s advisable to purchase a Self-Build Structural Warranty around 2-3 weeks before works begin on the site. The Chartered Surveyors can then analyse your technical plans, and schedule and carry out staged inspections to identify any issues before they can cause problems later. If you do wait until after completion, you’ll definitely need a warranty before moving in.

Will an existing Self-Build Warranty cover renovations?

Self-building usually involves starting completely from scratch, constructing a custom-designed house on an otherwise empty plot of land. However, extensive refurbishments on partial or dilapidated structures can also count as self-builds in some cases – such as barn conversions.

If you have an existing Structural Warranty on the property as it stands, then renovations will usually invalidate that policy, as it won’t cover the new structure. You can either contact your warranty provider to see if they can update it, or secure a new policy for the altered structure.

The same applies if you complete an 100% original self-build property, then decide to make renovations during its Structural Warranty term. Of course, further construction works will also affect your separate home insurance policy, which must be updated or replaced as well.

What affects the cost of a Self-Build Warranty?

Similar to a mortgage, the cost of a Self-Build Structural Warranty is based on the size of the property and its features. The bigger the home, the higher the premiums – and the same goes for features such as basements and flat roofs, which can increase the risk of latent structural issues.

Any warranty provider will inspect and evaluate the property before offering you a final fully-informed quote. The many factors that can affect your Structural Warranty premiums include:

  • The size, location, and estimated value of the build
  • Construction methods and materials
  • Experience/portfolio of the builder/developer
  • Your financial status (e.g. income, debts)
  • Stage of completion when applying

The more thorough your documentation and stable your situation, and the greater the reliability of the materials and methods used, the better. It’s also best to apply for a Self-Build Warranty before construction starts, so we can carry out inspections from the very beginning. If you put it off, the price will continue to increase for every stage of the build, so it’s worth applying as soon as possible.

Can I get a mortgage without a Self-Build Warranty?

It’s unlikely that any lender would agree to fund a construction project without the proper financial protections. This includes a Structural Warranty, which protects the bank’s investment by covering repair expenses if latent structural defects occur. Self-build mortgages work differently, in any case.

For this situation, you would need a stage payment mortgage. This is a specialist type of loan which is released in instalments rather than a lump sum, allowing you to pay for each stage of the build as it progresses. From purchasing a plot of land to completion, the bank will require regular updates.

Depending on the circumstances of your self-build project, you could either get stage payments in advance or arrears. Whether you pay upfront and recover the cost in arrears or use an advance payment to hire contractors and buy materials, the process will be much smoother with a warranty.

We can provide certificates following inspections at every stage, which you can use to confirm the status and quality of the build to your bank in order to release the next payment. Unless you want to pay for everything yourself and risk not being accepted for a mortgage after completing your self-build, you should secure a Self-Build Structural Warranty while you’re still in the planning stage.

Will I still need Self-Build Insurance as well as a Self-Build Warranty?

A Self-Build Structural Warranty and Self-Build Insurance aren’t the same thing, so you’ll need both to cover all your bases. The only legal requirement is Employers’ Liability Insurance, which will be compulsory if you wish to employ people – such as builders and engineers – to work on your self-build project.

Whereas a developer would be responsible for managing legal protections on the construction site for traditional builds, you’ll be the primary employer if you’re building your home yourself. This means that you’ll need tailored Self-Build Insurance that can cover a variety of liabilities, such as:

  • Public Liability Insurance – covering employee injury or death onsite, plus loss or damage of third party property
  • Contractors’ All Risk Insurance – protecting the contract between you and contractors working on the build, covering the costs of materials
  • Contractor Works Insurance – covering repair or replacement costs if the partly-built structure is damaged or destroyed
  • Hired-in Plant Insurance – covering hire/repair/replacement costs for the damage or loss of hired equipment
  • Own Plant Insurance – covering repair or replacement expenses for damaged or stolen equipment that you own
  • Tools Insurance – protecting hand tools owned by yourself or employees that are stored onsite
  • Materials Insurance – directly covering construction materials stored on the site
  • Temporary Buildings Insurance – covering the repair or replacement of damaged temporary structures (such as Portakabins) on the site
  • Personal Accident Insurance – covering the policyholder and several named individuals in the event of an accidental injury onsite causing disability or death
  • Legal Expenses Insurance – covering litigation costs if a dispute arises between yourself and a contractor, utility company, or squatter

Currently, only Employers’ Liability Insurance is required by law in the UK, but most self-builders will take out comprehensive Self-Build Site Liability Insurance just in case. The last thing anyone wants is for damage, theft, or accidental injuries to occur on your building site, but if it does, nobody needs the additional stress of paying for legal cases and compensation.

Lenders are also unlikely to accept loan applications if your self-build project doesn’t have adequate Site Insurance – not just a Structural Warranty. Once construction is finished, you’ll also need to have Building Insurance and Contents Insurance policies in place to protect your completed home and any personal belongings inside it.

What happens during self-build site inspections?

To ensure that your self-build construction project is progressing in compliance with the building plans, permissions, and regulations – thereby minimising the risk of defective work – part of providing a Structural Warranty includes conducting site inspections at these key stages:

  • Excavation of foundations
  • Laying of ground floor
  • Construction of walls and roof
  • First fix (prior to plastering or internal fittings)
  • Second fix (after installation of fittings)
  • Pre-handover (completion)

During these regular site inspections, a chartered surveyor will visit the site of the development to complete a professional assessment. This survey will monitor whether the build meets the required technical standards set by the insurer, the local authority, and national regulations.

This qualified audit should then identify any problems as early as possible, preventing them from becoming latent defects and allowing the construction team to rectify the issues quickly.

Records of each site survey are carefully maintained in a dedicated folder, with electronic copies of the report provided after every site visit. You can use these as supporting evidence for claims.

What are stage payments for self-build mortgages?

When you take out a self-build mortgage to build your own house, the bank will release partial payments either before or after each stage of the build. An advance mortgage allows you to receive the money first to fund each stage, while an arrears mortgage requires paying for each part of the build yourself. You’ll then receive reimbursement from the bank once each stage is completed.

Stage payments make it easier for lenders and insurers to manage the build properly, reducing the risk of defective work or other mistakes along the way. It can be more difficult to get a self-build loan than a standard mortgage, since lenders can’t be sure of the quality of the work if it isn’t carried out by established professionals, which is why it’s helpful to have a Self-Build Structural Warranty.

Submitting proof of this policy – along with your other documents detailing site plans, permissions, and design and construction contracts, etc – should improve your chances of getting a mortgage.

How can I get a Self-Build Structural Warranty?

There’s a lot of responsibility and painstaking planning involved in building your own house. At the very start, you should make a list of all the insurance policies you need to set up, and work through it until all the necessary financial protections are in place – after which you can proceed to apply for funding, if required. While not at the top of the list, a Structural Warranty should still be a priority.

After setting up site insurance to cover the equipment, structure, employees, and other liabilities for the duration of the build, you should make sure your Self-Build Warranty is also in place before the construction work begins. Ideally, you should apply for this policy several weeks in advance.

If you’re looking for a Self-Build Structural Warranty quote, you’re in the right place – this is just one of the many Structural Warranties we offer at Architects Certificate. To obtain a quote for your self-build project, please use our quick quote form or full online application form. You can also call 0161 928 8804 to discuss our ABC+ Warranty, or email any enquiries to info@architectscertificate.co.uk.

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