Architect Certificate or Structural Warranty?


Architect Certificate or Structural Warranty: What do I need to know?

As labour and material costs increase, self-builders and housebuilders look to cut costs elsewhere, but one area that you should never compromise on is protecting your project or new home. There is ever-increasing talk about what you need to protect your new build home.

​Although no legislation requires you to have any particular cover for your new home after completion, there are requirements from UK Lenders. In the UK, most Lenders will require a guarantee for up to ten years. This means that even if you haven’t used a Lender or mortgage to finance your build, you would need this guarantee if you were to sell the property in the first ten years to anyone using a Lender. The most commonly known and comprehensive cover is a 10 year structural warranty. Recently, more companies are offering a professional practitioner’s certificate (PCC) or architect certificates as alternatives, however these often do not offer the right level of cover.

​But what exactly are the differences and which should you go for?

Call the Self Build Zone Team
0345 230 9874
Contact Us

What is a Structural Warranty?

A structural warranty is an insurance backed policy that protects your new build 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.

​If you need to make a claim against a structural warranty policy, you do not have to prove any negligence, and you would simply submit a claim to your provider and go through their claims process.

​A 10 year structural warranty also means your property will have gone through an additional technical audit inspection process. These technical audits usually consist of an approved inspector visiting the property during key stages of construction to sign off each stage. These inspections mean you have the added peace of mind that external professionals have deemed your property to have met the standard set by your insurer and not just building regulations.

​Even some of the largest housebuilders have created substandard homes that have resulted in structural claims. Purchasing a home is often the largest financial investment an individual can make, so why would you take the risk?

What is an Architect Certificate?

An architect certificate does not offer the same level of cover as a Structural Warranty and runs for a shorter time. An architect certificate only lasts for a period of 6 years, only covers your new home against defects in design and does not include workmanship or materials (where most structural claims arise).

An architect certificate stands against the architect’s professional indemnity insurance, meaning that if that architect is no longer in practice you could end up with no cover. In the event of a claim, you would also need to prove that the architect (or the professional behind your PCC) has been negligent. Suppose the architect or professional does not admit fault. In that case, this can mean a lengthy and expensive legal battle to receive remuneration at your own cost, which can easily last many years.

​Understandably architect certificates are marginally cheaper than a structural warranty, but the 10 year structural warranty is a much more comprehensive product that has had additional professionals involved and offers you the best protection.

So, if something goes wrong, you need to ask yourself, would you have the money and time to pursue the legal expense against a PCC or pay a small amount more now for guaranteed cover against all the major structural issues that normally arise?

Difference in the insurance backing ‘A’ Rated:

Choose an A-rated insurer for your warranty

​There are a number of structural warranty providers out there but what do you need to know when choosing one?

As structural warranties provide cover for 10 or 12 years, it’s vital you choose a provider who you know to be financially strong. After all, in the event of a claim, it’s the insurer who will pay out – and if they’re not a highly rated company there’s always a risk they could go out of business before the end of your warranty, leaving you uninsured. This is a scenario that’s affected thousands of individuals in the last few years.

​That’s why you should always check with your provider that they are backed by an ‘A’ rated insurer, because this means they have been independently assessed and found to be trustworthy and reliable, with an excellent ability to pay claims. Any insurer that’s unrated may be cheaper, but they are also much riskier – and could also cost you much more down the line.

​It’s always tempting just to go for the cheapest premiums available, especially if your project is on a tight budget. But cheaper cover may ultimately cost you more in the long run, especially if it’s coming from an unrated insurer.

That’s why it’s always important to be fully accurate and transparent when insuring your property to make sure you don’t end up underinsured, and to choose an insurer that you know to be trustworthy with at least an ‘A’ rating. It might not be the cheapest option out there, but it will be the best protection for your self-build project.

Self-Build Zone only use ‘A’ Rated insurers

Self-Build Zone provides ‘A’ Rated backed latent defects insurance to suit the unique requirements of your development or project, including new home warranty and Structural Warranties for residential developments. This also includes social housing, mixed-use, commercial developments and major projects. With the backing of an ‘A’ Rated insurer, you receive peace of mind from a dependable organisation that provides help when you need it most and for the full-length of your policy.

Have you arranged your Site Insurance?

Most people think their builder will have insurance to cover their build but this often isn’t the case. Site insurance protects you, your project, existing structures and the people you bring on site throughout the whole build process until completion.