Getting the (insurance) foundations right for your renovation or extension project
So you’re taking a sledgehammer to your property….Well, not you personally, but your carefully-chosen contractors who are even now unloading their vans and manhandling bales of dust-sheet up your drive. The architects and structural engineers have finished measuring and calculating and unrolling their CAD drawings across your dining room table, the Council teams have verified the plans, notified your neighbours, been round a few times to check how far that willow tree really is from your boundary, and then – when you thought everyone would probably say no – suddenly the approvals are in place! Time to roll up the carpets, defrost the fridge, wrap up the artworks, put the cat in storage (oops, cattery) and let the contractor teams reduce your home to (gentrified) rubble, on the way to a fabulous renovation, extension or new build. You’ve thought of everything you need while the work is going on. Or have you? What about all the insurance you need? Who is covering the works you are about to undertake? It was your home, but now it’s ‘the site’ – and that’s a very different designation: with workplace and risk implications including a whole new world of health and safety. So who’s protecting everything that needs to go on and anyth ng that may or may not have be planned (the known knowns through to the unknown unknowns? These types of renovation works are conventionally covered for construction companies by the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) and they produce a complete portfolio of documents, templates and guidance. So, having a JCT contract can help you avoid any pitfalls and make sure you have everything covered. Our specialist teams can advise on all of this and also discuss if you would benefit from having a structural warranty in place. This not only provides up to 10 years cover against contractor defects, which is useful if you may want or need to sell the property during that timeframe, but also if you are borrowing money to finance the renovation or build project then many lenders will require you to have taken out a structural warranty. You will probably know about Party Wall Insurance as this is fundamental to protecting your liability in relation to your neighbours’ properties during any renovation project. Since damage from building works can take some time to become visible and can worsen over time too, it is important to cover the bases and insure yourself appropriately. This can include, for example, obtaining a “schedule of condition” from surveyors to establish and agree with your neighbours the start position in relation to the properties and land involved. Having this in place can save a lot of grief later on. Whatever the type of project and the building works involved, the expert Fairweather team can help you with all aspects of insuring the site and covering your liability for the health and safety of anyone who visits or works on it, whether contracted by you or anyone else. As an example, we can help and advise on insurance around equipment: is it all brought in by your contractors or are you providing anything? Are you hiring or buying anything directly that any contractors would use, as that can change the balance of responsibility? And where are you putting that skip! (Make sure the skip hire company has the right insurance too – or direct them to us of course!) The insurance you need will obviously depend on the extent to which you are carrying out structural works and how deep you are excavating – maybe following the trend for multi-level subterranean gyms, cinemas and classic car storage? And of course the risks differ depending on the type of building and land base you start with, especially if you are renovating heritage or listed properties. Plus, while you’re thinking about all the activities that will take place on the site, don’t forget about making sure the site is secure and insured when there’s no-one there (not even your cat!). The Fairweather team will look at the whole project and your current insurances, assess what you need and put it in place for you. We help you make sure you have the right levels of cover and haven’t missed anything. You want to have planned properly to protect everyone and everything involved, to avoid any problems that could lead to a claim against you. Working with Fairweather you will have the confidence of dealing with insurance experts who will support you right through the project and out the other side, with all the advice and guidance you need. For a no-charge, no-obligation discussion about how Fairweather can support house owners and investors insuring renovation, extension and new-build projects, call us today on 01753 882222 or, if you prefer, send us an enquiry and we will call you back.