Frequently Asked Questions
4. I am using one main contractor from the beginning of the project right until the end; do I need site
6. I am doing a lot of the work myself but I am not a qualified builder or NHBC registered: can I still be covered
1. Why should I choose Self-Build Zone over another provider?
Self-Build Zone offers some of the most comprehensive cover available in the market. This means that you are covered for a wider range of perils than you are usually able to find 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.
25. Can you provide a 10 year Structural Warranty on a project that is already complete, or that has already
Here is a list of our most Frequently Asked Questions. CLICK ON the individual question below to be taken to the relevant answer.
2. Who underwrites the policy?
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 Canopius Syndicates 4444/958 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
As soon as you purchase your plot of land you could be legally liable for anything that occurs 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 aren’t any additional steps that are required in order to be covered under our Site Insurance policy. It is in your 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 the 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 Zone 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 insurance protects you before and during the build process and a 10 Year Structural Warranty starts from the date the build is completed. For more information please contact our sales team on 0818 22 20 40.
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 works are being carried out. Our Site Insurance policy will ensure any structurally sound existing building is fully covered during the works, and includes Fire, Lightning, Aircraft and Explosion cover for buildings that are not yet structurally stable. After completion of the works, our Structural Warranty, whilst only covering defects in new works, covers consequential damage to the Existing Structure
9. Who is / can be covered under the policy?
Your immediate family is covered automatically 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 the peace of mind you gain with the Self-Build 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 for a 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, 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 be included in the above figures.
It is important the professional reinstatement values is established correctly, if you have any doubt please consult a suitable professional such as a qualified quantity or building surveyor.
14. What is an gross external floor area?
As part of the quotation 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 is 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 simply to double the ground floor area. If the other floor area is a different size then calculate the upstairs area separately and add the figures together.
For three storey houses, only 70% of the floor area of the third storey need 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, such as your architect, if you need help when establishing the above figure.
15. I’m doing work to my own home – does my Existing Home Insurance cover me?
Many home insurers 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 themselves and their largest asset exposed.
It is always strongly advisable that you inform your home insurer prior to any works starting to determine their stance. Your normal Home insurance will not cover any of the new/contract works and materials 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, including where you are working in your capacity as a professional tradesman.
Home insurance does not provide you with your own sufficient Public and 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 works. 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 be covering 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 & Safety Law apply to Self-Build?
17. When does a Site Insurance policy expire?
A Site Insurance policy will cease upon its expiry date as detailed in your policy documents, or when the property has been delivered up to the owner, tenant or occupier or for which a Certificate of Completion has been issued 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 & 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 5 working days and in respect of ongoing inspections, we normally only require 48 hours’ notice.
19. Who are Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd (BZSS)?
Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd is also part of Sennocke group and manages the Technical Audit process of your build, including Site Audits, as required in order to issue the Self-Build Zone 10 Year Structural Warranty.
In the event that during your project any works requiring attention are identified, these will be advised at the time of the inspection. BZSS will issue a Remediation Notice shortly thereafter detailing the issue to be resolved.
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 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 say they are ‘fully insured’, 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 builder 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’s 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 plant and assuming responsibility. Site Insurance in this case is absolutely essential and covers the works, temporary works, materials, Public Liability, Employers' Liability, plant, tools and equipment as well as a caravan being used as temporary accommodation.
22. Do you have further information on Contracts & Legal Expenses?
This collection of unlimited easy-to-use contract templates in plain English/MS Word 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 editable documents to keep you, your designers and contractors on track and focused on their responsibilities.
23. Why do I need Contracts?
Construction projects can be complex affairs, with a variety of different trades working on the site, and a variety of risks – which can range from unforeseen ground conditions to bad weather and unavailability of materials or equipment.
Contracts are needed in the situation – not because 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 (changes, 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 payment 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 works begin, 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.