Three reasons a 10 Year Structural Warranty is critical to your self-build project
In this guest article, warranty specialist Russell Turner from Self-Build Zone highlights why a structural warranty is an essential budget item for your self-build project.
First of all, it’s important to understand what it is. A Structural Warranty covers the home for a period of 10 years against damage arising from defective materials or workmanship which weren’t apparent during construction. If, for instance, a substandard render is used which then fails within that time, or windows which have not been properly sealed result in subsequent damage to the property, these are the sorts of issues that are covered by a Structural Warranty. Here are three crucial reasons why not including one in your build could lead you into difficulty:
1 – It is very unlikely you can borrow money without one
The vast majority of lenders in the UK will require a New Build property to have a Structural Warranty in place before they will offer a mortgage on it. This also means that if you decide to sell the property further down the line, your buyer will face similar trouble. Alternatively, your circumstances might change and you may need to borrow against the property during this period. If this happens the bank will look to see if one is in place for this too, and whilst it is possible to get one retrospectively, be warned – it will be a great deal more expensive, and the 10 years of cover will be backdated to the point of practical completion.
2 – You can’t rely on a contractor’s guarantee
Whilst you may trust your build team, you can’t be certain they will always be around to put things right. Your contract may state that the builder is obliged to fix any defects which occur within the first 1 or 2 years of the property being finished, but if the building company or responsible party is no longer in business the full expense of the repairs will fall back to the property owner. You can pay for a cheaper guarantee called an Architect’s Certificate or a Professional Consultant’s Certificate (PCC) for up to 6 years but this won’t provide cover for defective materials or workmanship – meaning that any claims will require the property owner to carry out legal proceedings in their own time and at their own expense.
3 – Buildings Insurance isn’t the same
Whilst Buildings Insurance is also valid from practical completion, it will only cover damage resulting from specific insured events: for example, storm damage, flooding or a burst pipe. It will not cover the property for any damage resulting from poor construction, defective materials and in some cases, contaminated land.
If you are seeking a self-build mortgage or you plan to sell or refinance the property at any point over the next 10 years, you are going to need a full Structural Warranty. However, by engaging with an experienced and reliable provider before work begins on-site not only will you save money in the long term, you will have the peace of mind that should anything go wrong once the house has been completed, you will be protected from the outset.