Structural Warranties & Site Insurance
No building regulation, planning permission, or housing development scheme is of any value to you unless you can obtain mortgage finance for the new home or property...NHBC, Zurich and Project Builder Structural Warranties and Site Insurance...
And, nowadays, it is often very difficult to obtain this without a structural insurance guarantee, usually from one of a few big players in this market, NHBC (National House Building Council) and Zurich. Even more specialist, Project Builder is designed just for self-builders. It will come as no surprise to you that, for what seems time immemorial, we have worked closely with all of these timber frame inspection and insurance bodies. All of our structural designs for houses come with appropriate engineering certificates to enable you to obtain these guarantees. More specifically, for all commercial, leisure, health care and agricultural buildings where Benfield ATT are the structural designers, we are able to arrange equivalent cover, if required.
The National House-Building Council provides a ten year warranty (Buildmark). For the first two years, the housebuilder must put right any defects involving a breach of NHBC's technical requirements. NHBC itself will deal with cases where, either by default or through bankruptcy, the builder fails to put right faults . From the third to tenth year, NHBC provides direct insurance cover.
For properties registered up to 31 March 1999, the insurance is for major damage caused by a defect in the loadbearing structure. In addition, cover is included for defects in underground drainage systems, and, subject to an excess, damage caused by defects in roof tiles and slates, floor decking and screeds and external render and tile hanging. For properties registered from 1 April 1999, in addition to the above, Buildmark also covers contaminated land, and failure of double glazing. Also, instead of major damage, the validity of a claim is determined by whether the value of the remedial work is more than Â£500 (indexed). Further information can be obtained from the NHBC website.
Zurich Insurance Building Guarantees
Zurich Insurance Building Guarantees has a ten year latent defects warranty. It covers newly built homes for sale or rent by the private or social housing sector, it also covers conversions. Where elements of the home are factory built, a manufacturers warranty is available.
For the first two years either the developer or manufacturer are responsible for rectifying damage or major damage caused by defects that do not meet Zurich's published technical requirements, but if they do not deal with them Zurich will act for the policy holder and arrange for remedial action themselves. The remainder of the ten years is insured by Zurich. The policy provides a range of options to widen the cover and the warranty can be extended by five years at the end of the ten year term, subject to claims experience and the payment of an additional premium. Warranty cover can also be provided for self builders and commercial buildings.
Project Builder Premier Guarantee Self-Build Insurance
The Premier Guarantee from Project Builder provides you with a comprehensive 10 year insurance guarantee against major structural damage which affects the New Housing Unit, discovered during the Structural Insurance Period.
The Premier Guarantee is underwritten by Liberty Mutual which employees 37,000 people across 900 offices worldwide, has consolidated assets of $54 billion and Â£13.5 billion in revenues. Liberty Mutual is rated A+ Strong by Standard and Poors.
The Premier Guarantee offers an alternative to obtaining Architect's Certificates. It is an independent insurance policy which enables you to know exactly what you are covered for from the outset. An Architect's Certificate is merely a document which states that the building has been built to a certain standard - it is not an insurance policy.
If you have subsequent problems with the property it would be down to the home owner to take action against the Architect and prove that the structural fault was as a result of their negligence. This can prove to be a long, costly and difficult procedure, especially if you need to pursue a claim through the courts. What's more, the Builder, the Architect or the Solicitor (who ever was the negligent party) may no longer still be in business.
Project Builder utilises the Premier Guarantee which is one of the most comprehensive Structural Warranty covers available and utilises a network of qualified surveyors throughout the UK. The inspections known as 'technical audits' are a key feature of the policy as they provide you with the peace of mind from knowing that the design and build process has been scrutinised by an independent surveyor.
The Premier Guarantee is extremely flexible in that it can cater for the following projects;
- New builds
- Properties that are already in the course of construction
- Completed properties
Please note that this cover is only available to individuals building houses with the sole intention of residing in the property themselves and is not available to builders or developers.
Please feel free to consult Benfield ATT, without cost or obligation, for the requirements of your next timber frame project.