The term “structural warranty” gets thrown around a lot these days, and many see it as an essential form of insurance for both general builds and self-build projects. But what does it actually cover? To keep it brief to start with, a structural warranty contains insurance cover for the structure of your property. It sounds simple, but there’s a lot more to it than that if we look past the foundations.
Types of Structural Warranty Cover
Generally speaking, structural warranty cover is selected by the builder or developer at the start of a new project, You could even see it as a security net for projects of all shapes and sizes. Providers of this cover, such as Build-Zone, offer multiple options for different developments and scenarios, which allows prospective customers to choose which one works best. Cover tends to vary based on the provider that is chosen. Generally speaking, it tends to last 10 years, but specific examples are below.
New Home Warranty
Covering building, extending and converting homes, this structural warranty cover protects the structure of a property for up to 10 years. It’s generally acquired by builders and developers that want to set themselves apart from the competition, providing value for money and proving the quality of their work before it has even begun. Often, providers will also cover partly completed (such as golden brick level for a custom build project) or even completed projects too.
If a house is less than 10 years old without this warranty, you may have trouble selling it as the majority of lenders in the UK require one. Meeting building regulation requirements is one thing, but mistakes are often made, and this cover has its own inspections called technical audits as extra security so customers/prospective buyers have peace of mind for the first 10 years.
Commercial Latent Defects Insurance
Predominantly for commercial use (hence the name), this option covers new builds and conversions of commercial/mixed-use projects. This includes structures such as care homes and industrial units. It’s a fully transferable cover, making it appealing for those looking to sell the structure once it is completed. For landlords especially, it can provide cover for loss of rent and accommodation too, making it a lifeline in times where property development inadvertently incurs a loss of funds or living space.
Defective weatherproofing is also covered from the second year, which allows you to claim in the event of damage caused by water penetration, which could result in further damage to the structure. Commercial organisations across the UK benefit from this cover, saving repair costs when the fault lies with the structure of the property.
Social Housing Warranty
Usually available for up to 12 years, a social housing warranty is provided to housing associations and registered social landlords. It’s available for both new-builds and converted developments and can also be used for other projects, such as regeneration projects too. Make sure you speak with your provider to see if it works for your development.
Often, as with new home warranties, this cover could be used on partly completed and even completed projects. The standard cover also includes alternative accommodation, additional costs and the removal of debris. Additional cover is also available for loss of rent, which is especially useful to landlords.
Specifically designed to meet the needs of self-builders and the construction of their own home, this warranty is suitable for a whole host of projects. New-builds, conversions, renovations and extensions are all compatible with this cover, giving a self-builder peace of mind that structural damage won’t lead to extreme financial losses. The cover tends to last for up to 10 years and is transferable after 12 months.
A self-build project is no walk in the park, so structural warranty cover provides an additional beam of support in the event that the structure fails. This type of cover tends to be available during or after the construction of the building, but it does depend on the provider.
Is a Structural Warranty Really Needed?
It is not a legal requirement to have structural warranty cover in the UK. However, apart from the financial justification of the cover, it’s never a bad thing. It covers a project from unforeseen structural defects, which would ultimately result in a severe financial loss for those involved if the insurance was not taken. The cover is also useful for the following reasons:
- Even experienced builders make mistakes. The cover provides protection against unforeseen defects in workmanship and design.
- Materials fail. In construction, this could be incredibly costly, which this cover protects against.
- A large number of mortgage lenders and banks require a structural warranty if the property is less than 10 years old. A mortgage will not be an option until one is purchased.
Many will consider using an Architect Certificate but this does not give you the same protection as a Structural Warranty. Architect Certificates require you to prove negligence in the event of a claim and often don’t meet lender requirements as they are only for a 6 year period.
Ultimately, it’s down to the project lead to decide whether the funds are available for such cover, but we’d always recommend it. It takes a long time to plan and construct a property from scratch, and this cover ensures that the time wasn’t wasted in the long term.
Which Provider Should I Choose?
There are many structural warranty providers on the market, with each offering their own spin on types of cover. Ultimately though, you need to look for the “A-rated” symbol. This means that the provider is backed by an A-rated insurer, which is an insurer that has the financial clout to pay your claim if it is needed. This removes the risk that further cover will be needed if the insurer folds, which saves you on potential costs.
Build-Zone is one such provider. As a 10-year structural warranty provider since 2003, they remain with you throughout your construction project, providing technical audits, site surveys, advice, and guidance through the complicated world of warranties. All of the above warranty options are available with them, providing peace of mind that your project remains secure long after completion.