GETTING STARTED ON SITE
Insurance and warranty cover
It is a legal obligation for the homeowner (self-builder) to be on top of health and safety on site and there are procedures in place for you to prove that to the authorities. However, it is not mandatory to take out self-build insurance.
Insurance is however necessary as a safety net that will cover your costs in the event of a claim related to your build or renovation project. In other words, what insurance will do is protect you from the unforeseens and the many risks associated with construction activity, including trespassers getting injured and filing a claim against you, or the theft of tools or sanitaryware waiting to be installed. In fact, most lenders will require that you take out an insurance policy if you go direct labour.
Know that if you are accessing any kind of third party financing it is very likely that some form of structural warranty will also be required for your build. The warranty provider will likely undertake an assessment of the construction drawings followed by a schedule of inspections throughout the build. Mortgage stage payments are often only released when the inspector reports satisfaction.
A number of commercial operations provide standard 10 year warranty products however some building professionals, when acting as a certifier, including architects and surveyors also offer the service backed up by their professional indemnity insurance. These are a lot less comprehensive and formal than the commercial products but are quite often sufficient for finance companies. A structural warranty policy will however provide many more benefits including making the sale of the home easier in the future and by providing a wide range of services and expertise should something go wrong.
It is well worth sussing out your options well in advance of actually needing it. Warranty providers can be tricky about accepting projects with unusual features or build styles and even a small flat roof area can result in a rejection. You will need to be prepared to supply lots of information on the build including certificates and warranties for products you intend to use.