When embarking on a renovation or construction project, you want to ensure that you are fully covered against all risks and eventualities. A structural warranty is an integral part of this, by covering against defects in the new or renovated property.
What is a structural warranty?
A structural warranty is another name for latent defects insurance. The warranty is an insurance policy that covers defects in design, construction materials, or the workmanship in a building project.
In order to obtain and maintain a structural warranty, your insurer will need to check your building plans and over the course of the build inspect the project.
If there is an issue as the build progresses, then your insurer will provide a fix rather than you having to follow it up with your architect or builder. Examples of some of the issues that are covered are cracking walls, roof structure problems, or damp proofing faults.
How long does a structural warranty last?
There are various levels of structural warranty cover available, so it is always best to go through a reputable structural warranty / latent defects insurance broker to make sure your project is covered adequately.
The majority of warranties cover the first 10 years of the new build. Some warranties provide more cover in the first few years than they do in subsequent years. In some cases, in order to maintain the warranty the build will need to be inspected by the insurer at regular intervals.
Do I need a structural warranty?
A structural warranty is not a legal requirement. However if you are trying to sell your property following major works, the majority of lenders will insist that you have some form of latent defects insurance in place.
A new build has significant risks associated with them that normally appear in the first couple of years. Household insurance will not cover you for these risks, and so a separate insurance policy is required.
If you are funding your project with a self-build mortgage, then a structural warranty is often a requirement of the lender.
An architect’s certificate is an alternative to a structural warranty, however whilst cheaper, they will only cover the first 6 years as opposed to 10. Plus since the certificate is not an insurance policy itself, any problems will need to be resolved through the architect’s professional indemnity insurance, with the onus on you to prove any negligence.
When is the right time to buy a warranty?
The early stage of your renovation project is the best time to purchase a structural warranty. Your insurer will want to see building plans before the build has begun in order to accurately assess the risk.
It is possible to purchase a warranty at a later stage. Midway through a building project, and in some cases even retrospectively once the build is complete, however the longer you leave it the more expensive it will be, and the less providers available to choose from.
How do I get one?
If you are embarking on a renovation or construction project then give Stanhope Cooper a call today. Our dedicated team of renovation insurance brokers have vast experience in structural warranties and latent defect insurance.
We understand that each project is different, and that a one-size fits all approach does not work. We scour the market to make sure that you have the right amount of cover in place, at every step of your project.
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Or call us on 0207 776 9790