Property Insurance goes way beyond buildings and contents. The minute you conduct any commercial activity from your home, do some reasonably extensive DIY or landscaping there are probably some conditions or implications within your property that you should be aware of so it would be worth digging out that policy wording you have been meaning to read.
There are of course more complex situations. What about that grand designs inspired ground up or extensive renovation. There is certainly a lot to concern any budding project manager – not least the risk of Kevin McCloud turning up every five minutes criticising your choice of Farrow and Ball paint (I jest, I like both KM and F&B… other presenters and paint manufacturers are available). Using a recent grand designs episode (not the cave one – I haven’t seen it yet) lets look at some of the insurance concerns.
Pre Build –
Now we don’t all have the luxury of buying a slice of private beach but as these people did there must be some clear considerations moving forward. Most policies will exclude from the subsidence section, whether commercial or a domestic policy, damage caused by coastal erosion. Now it is unlikely that one day the beach is a thousand metres away and the next you find you have the Solent in your living room (or the other way around) but the location of your property or build is certainly a consideration in insurance terms. Significant features such as excessive exposure to the elements, coastal or waterside locations, cliff-tops, hills, subsidence or conservation areas may well restrict your choice of insurers or leave you with no choice at all. It is therefore worth speaking to someone in the know before you commence with regard to the location and the availability of cover.
During the planning phase architects and structural engineers should present you with confirmation that they have professional indemnity insurance. This will cover them for claims of financial loss as a result of their professional negligence, errors or omissions. If your project isn’t that large and doesn’t in fact necessitate the use of an architect then it might be worth considering a contractor with Design and Construct cover. This is a Professional Indemnity cover for contractors who invariably will enter into an element of design themselves (they are doing this every time they build not to a plan or interoperate a plan / make changes etcetera.
Often there may be some concern that a neighbour’s Right to Light is being impeded and so it is possible to obtain an indemnity policy to cover this. A specialist cover provided by only a few markets in this country with whom we have an agency. Often it will be the architect who highlights the possible requirement for this cover, it is particularly pertinent to higher builds and extensions or projects in a dense urban area.
There is also then the question of Liability. Are you dealing with this project yourself. Are you hands on or off. Are your contractors Bona-Fide Subbies or Labour Only. Are you aware of the difference? You may find that you have some legal implications surrounding Employers Liability. Contractual obligations or just common sense may dictate the need for Non-Negligent Liability, Building Guarantee and the land may well have some Restrictive Covenants placed upon it.
You can see from the above that there are a myriad of insurance concerns that surround a building project. All of the above would concern a commercial property or a residential property and is worth noting whether you are the owner, builder, architect or purchaser.
The key take away point is that to get some proper guidance you should speak to a subject matter expert. As luck would have it we have those… and telephones.