Frequently asked questions

1. Why should I choose Self-Build Zone over another provider?


Self-Build Zone offers some of the most comprehensive cover that is available in the market. This means that you are covered for a wider range of perils than you wouldfind elsewhere. We are also one of the most competitive. You should always find out what you are covered for before accepting a policy, as the cheapest policy is not always the best for your project.




2. Who underwrites the policy?


Northern Ireland The Site Insurance product along with the developer insurance products are underwritten by Catlin Insurance company (UK) Limited. The 10-Year Structural Warranty is underwritten by Canpopius Syndicates 444/958 at Lloyd's. The Legal Expenses insurance aspect of all Site Insurance policies (where applicable) is underwritten by UK General Insurance Limited on behalf of Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK)SE.




3. What do I do in the event of a claim?


Contact us as soon as possible on our main phone number: 0818 22 20 40 or contact the claims helpline shown in your policy.




4. I am using one main contractor from the beginning of the project to completion - do i need Site Insurance?


As soon as you purchase your plot of land you could legally be liable for anything that occours on that land. The implications of this are that if, for example, a child enters your site without your permission and breaks their leg or worse, you could be liable. You should always check with any contractor and obtain proof that they are holding their own insurance and check what it covers them for. You might find something excluded, for example the theft of your own tools and equipment from the site or cover for any existing building.




5. Are there any security measures I need to implement in order to be covered under your policy?


No, there are not any additional steps that are required in order to be covered under our Site Insurance policy. It is in your best interest to protect your site, materials and tools from theft and therefore it is up to you if they are locked up.




6. I am doing a lot of work myself but I am not a qualified builder or registered with a warranty provider. Can I still be covered under your policy?


Yes. There are no qualifications required to be involved with a self-build project.




7. Is Site Insurance the same as a 10-Year Structural Warranty?


Site Insurance and a 10-Year Structural Warranty are entirely different forms of insurance. Site Insurnace protects you before and during the build process and a 10-Year Structural Warranty starts from the date of practical completion.




8. What is covered on the existing structure element of the policy?


It is very important that you protect the existing structure of any conversion, renovation or extension whilst the work is being carried out. Our Site Insurance policy will ensure any structurally sound existing building is fully covered during the works, and includes fire, lightening, aircraft and explosion cover for the buildings that are not yet structually stable. After work has been completed, our Structural Warranty, whilst only covering defects in new work, covers consequential damage to the existing structure.




9. Who is / can be covered under the policy?


Your immediate family is automatically covered under our Site Insurance policy. You can add additional family or friends at no extra cost. There is no need to list all the contractors who will be working on the site as they will be covered under Employers' Liability.




10. Is Site Insurance a legal requirement?


It is not a legal requirement to have Site Insurance on your project, however for your own protection it is vital to ensure that you have adequate protection, both for the build itself and for your own liabilities. It is always advisable to think about, if your new house burns down a week before you move in, who is going to pay to rebuild it? Or if someone working for you or a member of the public injures themselves on site and holds you responsible, how will you defend yourself or pay any damages awarded against you? A Site Insurance policy is aimed at protecting you from these risks




11. Do I need a Structural Warranty?


A Structural Warranty will protect you and subsequent owners for defects in the building work which may appear after completion. Apart from ht epeace of mind you gain with a Structural Warranty, it is possible that your lender may require it as part of their lending criteria. Also, if your circumstances change and you need to sell the property in the next 10 years you may find that your buyer's lender will also ask to see a Structural Warranty for the building before they release any money. This product has the advantage over an architect's certificate which is only an extension of the architect's professional indemnity insurance, requiring you to prove negligence. Our policy is a 'prime' policy covering you for 10 years.




12. Do you cover new builds, conversions, renovations and extensions?


Yes, we are able to cover almost any type of building including green oak, straw bale and chapel conversions. We can also cover barns, new builds, extensions and renovations.




13. What is professional reinstatement value?


This will form the 'sum insured' for your project. The professional reinstatement value must reflect what it would cost in terms of materials and professional labour (which would include their profit) to reinstate the property if you suffered a total loss. You need to also consider the cost of removing debris, professional fees and VAT if applicable. The same applies to pre-existing structure that requires insurance. VAT must also be included in the above figures It is important the professional reinstatement value is established correctly, if you have any doubt please consult a suitable professional such as a qualified quantity or building surveyor.




14. What is a gross external floor area?


As part of the quote process, we will ask you to provide the total gross external floor area for your completed project. This is different from an internal or habitable floor area. To find the external floor area of your home - both upstairs and downstairs, the best way to measure the length and width of your home and multiply these figures together. If you cannot measure outside, measure inside and add the thickness of the walls. You can measure either in feet or metres. An integral garage would be included in this calculation. You now know the ground floor area. For upstairs, you may be able to simply double the ground floor area. If the other floor area is a different size then calculate the upstairs area seperately and add the figures together. For three storey houses, only 70% of the floor area of the third storey needs to be included. A third storey of a house does not mean the attic in a two storey house, unless the roof space has been converted into a third storey. Please consult a professional involved in the build, auch as your architect, if you need help establishing the above figure.




15. I am doing work to my own home, am i covered by my existing home insurance?


Many home insureres specifically exclude cover on properties undergoing renovation, alteration, extension or conversion. It is really worrying that over half of the people that we talk to do not realise this and leave themselbes and their largest asset exposed. It is always strongly advisable that you inform your home insurer prior to any work starting to determine their stance. Your normal home insurance will not cover any of the new / contract work and materialos, if for example, they are stolen or destroyed by fire. Home insurance can also exclude any loss, damage or liability arising out of the activities of contractors, working at or on the premises, inclduing where you are working in your capacity as a proessional tradesman.
Home insurance does not provide you with your own sufficient Public or Employers' liability cover and nor is your builder's Public Liability policy adequate as it is only designed to cover him for his negligence, which can be costly and time-consuming to prove.
The Site Insurance policy will act as an interim policy, covering, amongst other things, the existing structure during the course of the work. Once the work is completed you should reinstate your buildings insurance cover. If you are keeping your household contents in the property during the course of work, you should maintain contents cover with your home insurance provider as Site Insurance will not cover them.
Our Site Insurance policy can provide consequential damage cover for all existing structures included in the insurance. This means that you are covered if the existing structure is damaged by new works.




16. How does health and safety law apply to self-build?


Click here to find out information on how health and safety law applies to a self-build




17. When does a Site Insurance policy expire?


A Site Insurnace policy will sease upon its date as detailed in your policy documents, or when the property has been delivered to the owner, tenant or occupier for which a certificate of completion has been issues and the property has been taken into full use, whichever shall first occur. You will need to make alternative insurance arrangements (depending on what your intentions are with the property) for once your project is complete. i.e. buildings and contents cover if you are living in it, landlord insurance if you are renting it etc.

Please note, this is project based insurance and renewal will not be invited




18. Once I have paid for a Structural Warranty, how long does it take before my surveyor comes to inspect?


From initial notification we can normally have a surveyor on site within five working days and in respect of ongoing inspections, we normally only require 48 hours' notice.




19. Who are Build-Zone Survey Services Limited (BZSS)?


Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd is also part of Sennocke and managed the Technical Audit process of your build, including site audits, as required in orderto issue the 10-Year Structural Warranty.




20. Do I still need Site Insurance if I'm using a main contractor?


If you are contracting with one builder to carry out all the works from start to finish then the contract should state that they are responsible for adequately insuring the whole project from the moment they start excavation right up to the project completion. Bear in mind that if a serious loss did occur, your builder might not be in any financially better state than you are to deal with it. Your builder isn't an insurance expert, so although they may sya they are 'fully insureed', the chances are that they probably only have Public Liability which covers them in the event they cause damage or injury to a third party following a negligent act. What Public Liability doesn't cover is issues like storm damage, theft of materials and plant, arson or foreseen liability - essentially all the things you do need covered!

Ideally your building should have a contractors all risks insurance policy. check that it's in force and if the renewal date falls during the project, make sure it's renewed on time and you get a copy. It is important to check the limit on the policy is sufficient to cover the full reinstatement cost of the contract too! If you have any doubts, then organise some Site Insurance yourself.




21. What if I'm managing the tradesmen myself?


If you are managing the build as well as contracting different trades, you still need to establish formal contracts with every professional, trade and main supplier. The contract will state that the trades must carry insurance and in this instance it will only be Public Liability because you still want to be able to pursue them if they have been negligent. Effectively you are acting as the main contractor, taking on a management element, organising materials, hiring plans and assuming responsibilities.




22. Do you have further information on Contracts & Legal Expenses?


Click here for Contracts & Legal Expenses PDF This collection of unlimited easy-to-use contract template in plain Enligh / MS Work is designed to cover all the agreements you would need to have in place for a self-build project. Developed by ContractStore in conjunction with Self-Build Zone, this is a set of documents that can be editied. This enables your designers and contractors to stay on track and focused on their responsibilties.




23. Why do i need contracts?


Construction projects can be complex affairs with a variety of different trades working on the site with a variety or risk and exposures which can range from unforeseen ground conditions to bad weather and unavailability of materials or equipment. Contracts are needed in the situation not bevause they solve all the problems, but because they provide a framework for dealings between the participants and they help to identify how risks are allocated and what to do if things go wrong. Contracts are important: - To record the commercial terms agreed by the parties - To provide certainty - To provide a framework for dealing with issues that might arise during the life of the contracts (change, unforeseen problems etc)
- To provide a method of resolving disputes You need a contract to deal with a whole range of issues, scope of work, price and oayment terms, variations, insurance, contract duration and completion date, post-completion liability, termination and dispute resolution.




24. When should I take out Site Insurance


You become responsible for insuring your plot of land as soon as the exchange of contracts has taken place. Site Insurance should be taken out at this point in time to at least cover your liabilities until the construction work begins, at which point the main body of the policy will automatically come into force. If works are not going to start within 90 days, it would be advisable to take out land owners' liability insurance to cover your Public Liability exposure until works are due to start, at which point Site Insurance should be arranged. If you have an existing structure, Site Insurance can be put in place from when contracts have been exchanged. If works are not going to start within 90 days you would instead need to arrange unoccupied buildings insurance until the works are due to start, at which time Site Insurance needs to be arranged.




25. Can you provide a 10-Year Structural Warranty on a project that is already complete, or that has already started?


We can consider projects that have been started or that are already complete. We will require some information regarding the supervision of the build. Please contact us for more details.