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The Experts in Self-Build

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Structural Warranty?

A Structural Warranty is an insurance policy that protects any new construction works on your home for a period of 10 years against defects in design, workmanship and materials. The 10-year Structural Warranty policy is fully transferable to any new owners of the property if you sell. In the UK it is a lender requirement to have a 10-year Structural Warranty.

How long is Structural Warranty? 

A standard new-build home Structural Warranty lasts for 10 years but some properties can have 12 years.

Are Self-Build insurance and Site Insurance the same thing?

Yes, Site Insurance is also known as Self-Build Insurance but both types of cover are designed to protect you, your project and your employees from the start of your project until completion.

What is covered under a Structural Warranty?

A Structural Warranty covers your new works or project for defects in design, workmanship and materials for 10 years from completion.

Do I need a Structural Warranty?

A Structural Warranty is not a legal requirement, but it is a requirement from the majority of lenders in the UK. This means if you will need a mortgage to finance your project or sell your property in the next 10 years, you will need a Structural Warranty.

What does Legal Expenses actually cover?

Legal Expenses cover is an additional purchase on our standard Site Insurance policy. It covers you for the cost of pursuing the cost of a legal claim against someone involved in the build.

Home insurance when renovating: am I covered? 

It is a common exclusion on most Home Insurance policies. If you are altering the structure of your home or carrying out renovations that exceed £25,000, the policy will not cover you. You will need an alternative Site Insurance policy.

What's the difference between a PCC, Architect Certificate and Structural Warranty?

An Architect Certificate or PPC is a certificate issued by a professional that offers against defects in design for 6 years. It is subject to the professional still having Professional Indemnity Insurance and you must prove them to be negligent if you have a claim. Not all lenders will accept a PPC. A Structural Warranty is more comprehensive and covers defects in design, workmanship and materials for 10 years. A Structural Warranty is a standard requirement by most lenders, and you do not need to prove fault to make a claim.

Do you need a Structural Warranty for a mortgage?

In the UK it is the requirement of most lenders to have a 10-year Structural Warranty on all new structural works.

Which lenders approve your Structural Warranty?

We are Associate Members of UK finance and approved by the majority of their registered lenders. Check out our approved lenders under our resources tab.

What are insurer ratings?

An insurer’s rating is assessed by set standard and rating agencies that assess their financial stability and ability to pay out for claims. You need to make sure your insurance provider is ‘A’ Rated. An ‘A’ Rated insurance company has been and will continue to be, assessed by leading international rating agencies such A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody's, or Standard & Poor's (S&P). A lower-rated insurer, such as a 'B' or 'C', is deemed to have a poorer ability to settle claims. Unrated insurers, on the other hand, do not qualify for a financial strength rating by these agencies, meaning there is no evidence of their ability to pay claims and their long-term stability has not been independently verified by these industry-standard companies.

What is Site Insurance?

Site Insurance, also called Self-Build Insurance, is the insurance you need from the moment you start work until completion. Our policies cover new works, existing structures, employers’ liability, public liability, fire, theft, storm damage etc.

When should I take out Site Insurance?

You become responsible for insuring your plot of land as soon as the exchange of contracts has taken place. Site Insurance should be taken out at this point in time to at least cover your liabilities until the construction works begin, at which point the main body of the policy will automatically come into force. If works are not going to start within 90 days, it would be advisable to take out LandOwners' Liability cover to cover your Public Liability exposure until works are due to start, at which point Site Insurance should be arranged. If you have an existing structure and are not going to start within 90 days you would need to arrange Unoccupied Buildings Insurance until the works are due to start, at which time Site Insurance needs to be arranged.

How long does it take to get a Structural Warranty?  

You need to make sure you arrange your Structural Warranty before you start. Structural Warranties require their own set of inspections which start with the foundations being poured. You can get a quote for up to 30 days before you start but should allow two weeks at least for a surveyor to be appointed.

Doesn’t my builder have insurance?

Most builders will have some form of insurance, but this is often not comprehensive enough to cover your whole site. Many builders' insurance policies have limits which won’t cover the whole cost of your build or your site if they are not on it. You will also need to prove they have been negligent and pursue them in court at your own expense for a successful claim.

Is Site Insurance the same as a Structural Warranty?

No, Site Insurance covers your project while it is being built. A Structural Warranty covers all new structural works for 10 years from completion.

What is covered on the existing structure element of the policy?

It is very important that you protect the existing structure of any conversion, renovation or extension. Often a substantial amount of the project affects the existing structure and it is important that it is protected from similar perils to the new works. Occasionally you are able to purchase Aircraft, Fire and Explosion Cover only for existing structures but in many cases this is not adequate. The Self-Build Zone policy can provide Consequential Damage Cover for all existing structures. This means that you are covered if the existing structure is damaged by new works. Please note that most household policies will not cover the existing structure whilst works are being carried out, or for damage caused by works that are being carried out.

What does Site Insurance cover?

Site Insurance is necessary to protect your investment when you’re carrying out a renovation, conversion, extension or new build. Our self-build Site Insurance policy covers the new work, existing structure and rest of the site. It protects against the likes of losses, fire theft, flood, storm damage, vandalism and accidental damage. See the specific project pages for in-depth information on Self-Build Zone’s Site Insurance.

Do you need site insurance? 

It is not a legal requirement to have Site Insurance, but you must by law have Employers’ Liability cover, as you will be employing contractors to work on your site. This is included within our policy at the value of £10m as standard. It is always advisable to think about the worst thing that could happen during the build and think about the financial implications that would have. For example, without insurance, if your new house burnt down a week before you move in, who is going to pay to rebuild it?

What information do I need to get a quote? 

Getting a quote is easy as we have an online quotation system. You can get a quote if you have the following: i. SQM ii. Professional reinstatement cost iii. location/address/postcode

What length of policy can I purchase?

A Structural Warranty is 10 years, but our Site Insurance policies are more flexible and can cover you for 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 or 24 months.

How do I make a claim?

If you think you might need to make a claim, please phone our advisors on 0345 230 9874. There is a claim form to complete, and we operate a 24-hour service number for genuine emergencies for Site Insurance and Warranty. Please see your policy document for excesses. If you are unsure whether you need to make a claim, please call and you will be advised accordingly. All calls are recorded for legal and training purposes.

Do you arrange my surveys for the Structural Warranty?

When you purchase your Structural Warranty from us you will be appointed with one of our approved inspectors. It is your responsibility to contact the surveyor at the correct key stages of your build for your Warranty provision.

Do I have to use the local authority for building control?

No, you don’t have to use the local authority for building control. Our approved inspectors can combine all of the building control inspections needed for your build with our warranty inspections, which can help limit disruption to your build. You will also only deal with one surveyor rather than one for your Warranty and one for the Building Control.

Do I still need Site Insurance if I’m using a Main Contractor?

It’s important when hiring anyone for your self-build to look at their documentation. If an employee or contractor claims to have their own insurance, always request a copy of their policy documents to check that their cover is sufficient to cover your project for reinstatement cost and while they are not on site.

Why do I need a contract?

A contract is the evidence you need of what you have purchased. If you wish to take legal action against any supplier or trade, it's important to have the original evidence before work starts of what was agreed so you can make sure you are successful in court.

What rating are your insurers?

Self-Build Zone only uses ‘A’ rated insurers for all products.

What types of builds do you cover?

We can cover almost any project type or construction method including new builds, renovations, extensions and conversions.

Do you recommend any business to help build our home?

Yes, we have worked with a number of suppliers over the years that we recommend to our customers on our recommended businesses page.

Do you attend any self-build events?

Yes, we attend and sponsor a number of self-build events in the year. See our upcoming shows here: https://www.selfbuildzone.com/exhibitions

Do you have free tickets for self-build events?

Yes, for most of our shows we can offer our customers free tickets. Check out our exhibition page for your free ticket links: https://www.selfbuildzone.com/exhibitions

How much does a Structural Warranty cost?

A Structural Warranty cost is calculated on the square metre area of the build, location and professional reinstatement cost. There can also be factors such as material type, number of storeys or a basement that can affect the cost. The cost of a Structural Warranty varies for every build due to these factors.

What insurance do I need for a self-build? 

When doing a self-build you will need: i. Public Liability to protect you while you just own the plot. ii. Site Insurance when you are about to start works until completion. iii. A Structural Warranty to protect your build for 10 years post completion and allow you to meet the UK lender requirements. iv. Site Insurance and a Structural Warranty should be arranged up to 30 days before you start.

How long does it take to get a Structural Warranty?

A Structural Warranty should be arranged up to 30 days before you start. Technical audits will be carried out during the build and your Structural Warranty will be issued when you have received your completion certificate. The Structural Warranty will last 10 years from practical completion.

What is a Structural Defect Warranty?

A Structural Defect Warranty or Structural Warranty is an insurance policy that protects your new works from completion for 10 years against defects in design, workmanship and materials.

Do I need a Structural Warranty for an extension? 

The need for a Structural Warranty on an extension depends on the size and percentage increase in the size of the building. If the extension is significant, such as a two storey, your lender may require one, but it’s always good to have the reassuring protection. When extending your home, you will need Site Insurance during the build.

How much does a New-Build Warranty cost?

A New-Build Warranty varies by build, but on average it will cost the average house between £2,000 and £4,000 including all the site inspections. The price of a Structural Warranty is calculated by the build type, size of the completed works, location and professional reinstatement cost.

Do all new-build houses have a Warranty?

It is not a legal requirement to have a Structural Warranty, but it is a lender requirement in the UK. This means if you wish to use a lender to finance your build, remortgage or sell the property in the next 10 years you would need a 10-year Structural Warranty. A Structural Warranty will cost you more to arrange after work starts, so it’s important to arrange this before you start.

Do I need insurance for a self-build? 

You need Public Liability for your plot pre-building work. You will need Site Insurance during the build and a Structural Warranty on completion. Site Insurance and a Structural Warranty need to be arranged before you start.

What insurance do I need for building work?

If you are altering the structure of your home, it is often an exclusion on your Building Insurance property. When you are ready to start works, you need Site Insurance to cover the existing structure and the new works being carried out. On completion you can reinstate your normal home and contents insurance policy.

Do I need Public Liability insurance for a self-build?

You need Public Liability insurance for your plot to protect you in case anyone hurts themselves on your plot or any damage is caused to any neighbouring properties. During the build, you will need Site Insurance, which includes Public and Employer’s Liability.

Do you need Site Insurance?

Site Insurance is a must for anyone building or designing their own home. Your builder’s insurance may not cover the value of your plot and is often very limited in cover. A Site Insurance policy covers your whole site including: public liability, employers’ liability, existing structure, theft, fire, flood, storm damage, hired plant, equipment etc.

Why choose Self-Build Zone?

Self-Build Zone offers some of the most comprehensive cover available in the market. This means that you are covered for a wider range of perils than you are usually able to find elsewhere. We are also very competitive. You should always find out what you are covered for before accepting a policy, as the cheapest policy is not always the best for your project.

I am using one main contractor from the beginning of the project until completion, so I need Site Insurance?

If your builder only has Public Liability insurance, you are likely going to need your own insurance. However, if the builder has “Contract Works” insurance they may be covering everything. It is worth obtaining their policy documents to check through the levels of cover etc. If you hire any tradesman yourself, you will be required to have Employers’ Liability.

Do you cover new builds, conversions, renovations and extensions?

Yes, we are able to cover almost any type of building including green oak, straw bale and chapel conversions, barns, new builds, extensions and renovations.

What is Professional Reinstatement Value?

This will form the 'Sum Insured' for your project. The Professional Reinstatement Value must reflect what it would cost in terms of materials and professional labour to reinstate the property if you suffered a total loss. You need to also consider the cost of removing debris, professional fees and VAT if applicable. The same applies to the pre-existing structure that requires insurance. VAT must be included in the above figures. It is important that the Professional Reinstatement Value is established correctly. If you have any doubt, please consult a suitable professional such as a qualified quantity or building surveyor.