Builders Insurance

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Hi,

We are looking to get our dormer built and a kitchen extension. It’s the first time we have had any work done and was wondering how to protect ourselves legally. The last thing we want is for the builder to make a mistake and us footing the cost, also if he has a limited company, can he simply fold the company if he makes a mistake and open a new one?

He started his own company July of this year and so far he’s working on his first loft extension to our neighbours house. He seems like a reasonable price and he’s onsite daily.

Also in terms of planning permission we have told him we are not going to start any work until it’s been approved however he insistent that if the pre planning is approved by email then he can begin work. Also with the kitchen extension our back garden is 4 meters we want to go 3 meters back. We emailed the council they said no we would need planning permission but our neighbour has gone 3 meters back and had that approved by the council and we live in the exact same home, he said because this is the case we have rights to do the same as it’s in a 1 mile radius. Is this factual. He’s a great guy but we just want to be 100% sure.
 
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Hi,

We are looking to get our dormer built and a kitchen extension. It’s the first time we have had any work done and was wondering how to protect ourselves legally. The last thing we want is for the builder to make a mistake and us footing the cost, also if he has a limited company, can he simply fold the company if he makes a mistake and open a new one?

He started his own company July of this year and so far he’s working on his first loft extension to our neighbours house. He seems like a reasonable price and he’s onsite daily.

Also in terms of planning permission we have told him we are not going to start any work until it’s been approved however he insistent that if the pre planning is approved by email then he can begin work. Also with the kitchen extension our back garden is 4 meters we want to go 3 meters back. We emailed the council they said no we would need planning permission but our neighbour has gone 3 meters back and had that approved by the council and we live in the exact same home, he said because this is the case we have rights to do the same as it’s in a 1 mile radius. Is this factual. He’s a great guy but we just want to be 100% sure.
Permissions and their repercussions fall upon the homeowner, so ignore any well meaning advisors, especially anything from a work hungry builder. Use the LA planning portal or seek advice from your designer/architect.

It is prudent and not beyond reasonable for a potential customer to seek information regards PL insurances and reassurances etc, from their potential builder. However, it should not form your basis for hiring. You are in an ideal position to monitor this fellas work ethic and quality of work. Speak with the neighbour once the job is nearing completion for feed-back.

Again, speak with your designer/architect about local trades people before committing.
 
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Hi,

A couple of thoughts about insurance here:
https://www.diynot.com/diy/threads/liability-insurance.577162/#post-5043081

Your builders liability insurance will usually cover issues that are caused by their mistakes - however, what may not be covered are unforseen consequences.
If damage was done to a neighbour's property, and your builders had done everything they could reasonably do to prevent issues and worked to an industry standard method, then the damage wouldn't be covered!
There are insurance products available to cover non-fault liabilities and your home insurance should probably be informed that building work is going on (scaffolding etc. allows better access for the nefarious!).

But, as with all insurance, the balance of risk verses cost must be judged! :)
 
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In my experience if he’s onsite every day that’s a bonus and unusual. They normally only turn up when your jumping up and down whilst they juggle jobs.:whistle:
 
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Your builders liability insurance will usually cover issues that are caused by their mistakes
Negligent mistakes only, not all mistakes.

And proving negligence (duty of care) can be difficult.

And this won't include quality issues.
 
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Loft work is not for the inexperienced builder.

Rather than thinking in terms of buying an insurance policy, instruct a professional such as a building surveyor to oversee or just check certain stages of the work and that (and their insurance) will be your insurance.

Be aware that building control inspections are limited and do not check quality or look after your interests.
 
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You should inform your insurance company what works are taking place and ask them if you need additional insurance. (get it in writing) It's tempting to ask the builder to insure but that isn't advisable when you remain in residence. In fact it would be sensible to make sure you builder does not insure the works. It's unlikely but you never know. Having double insurance could be a MAJOR issue if the builder burns your house to the ground.
 
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In fact it would be sensible to make sure you builder does not insure the works. It's unlikely but you never know. Having double insurance could be a MAJOR issue if the builder burns your house to the ground.

I completely disagree with this. All builders should be carrying public liability insurance which will be renewed annually - no builder takes out insurance for a particular project (well not normally), and householders will also generally have buildings insurance that has its own public liability element. The liability will sit with the builder only if the builder can be shown to be negligent. If the builder is working with "reasonable skill and care" and there is an accident, it may still sit with the householders own insurance to cover the cost. Both parties need insurance to cover different circumstances.
 
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You obviously have no experience of insuring building works. Insuring works and PL insurance are two completely different things. All building works should be insured - although many domestic works aren't. Builders regularly take out insurance to cover works, but normally only when they take possession, which would not be the case when a domestic client is still living in the house. But people don't always understand the rules and implications of double insurance so it is sensible to check. It is a standard clause on JCT contracts and you can only tick one box; employer insures or contractor insures. If you don't get this right each insurance would/could cancel the other one out and nobody would be insured.
 

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your home insurance should probably be informed that building work is going on

My home insurance states that you must tell them about any building work. So if you don't and something happens, you probably won't be covered.
Best speak to home insurance and ask them if they suggest anything to cover for building mishaps - they will probably sell you a cheapish product to cover during the building works.

eg "Not telling us about planned renovations could result in your policy being declared void."
https://www.admiral.com/magazine/guides/home/things-which-can-invalidate-your-home-insurance

or there are others that sell cover specifically for this

https://www.homeprotect.co.uk/renovation-insurance
 
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You obviously have no experience of insuring building works. Insuring works and PL insurance are two completely different things. All building works should be insured - although many domestic works aren't. Builders regularly take out insurance to cover works, but normally only when they take possession, which would not be the case when a domestic client is still living in the house. But people don't always understand the rules and implications of double insurance so it is sensible to check. It is a standard clause on JCT contracts and you can only tick one box; employer insures or contractor insures. If you don't get this right each insurance would/could cancel the other one out and nobody would be insured.

Actually I do. What you are referring to is contractors all risks which I agree is project based and is different to PL, but this is more relevant to commercial contracts between contractor and employer. This insurance is generally obtained by the contractor on behalf of the employer, with both names on the policy. This, as you say, is identified as a requirement of the contract. The employer will usually pick up the cost for the premium. The purpose, amongst other things like insuring plant and materials, is to indemnify the employer against claims which could be caused by his contractors works, but which might not be negligent. It is not really relevant to domestic contracts where the client lives in the house. If the builder wants to extend their insurance to all risks then they could.

@RandomGrinch says the same above.

Your builders liability insurance will usually cover issues that are caused by their mistakes - however, what may not be covered are unforseen consequences.
If damage was done to a neighbour's property, and your builders had done everything they could reasonably do to prevent issues and worked to an industry standard method, then the damage wouldn't be covered!
There are insurance products available to cover non-fault liabilities and your home insurance should probably be informed that building work is going on
 
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Many builders are registered with one of the find-a-builder schemes like checkatrade, so it's worth doing an online search on whoever you are considering. I'm not saying such schemes are necessarily foolproof and perfect, but they do have their uses - and one is confirming the builder's insurance.
 

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