Whether it is a new build, renovation, conversion or any extension, things can go wrong so make sure that you get the relevant insurances and protections in place as soon as you have purchased the land. Here are simple things that can be done to reduce the risks.
1. When purchasing a Self-Build Zone Site Insurance policy, check your sums insured carefully, bearing in mind the type and size of project.
2. Written contracts are a must right from the start. If not, you will have little protection from your Legal Expenses policy which is included. Irrespective of this, verbal contracts don't prove that a contract was in place. Changes and variations to the contract, often forgotten, also need to be evidenced.
3. Remember if you want to sell the house in the next 10 years, the chances are your purchaser will require a warranty (which you can transfer to them) so be sure to organise a 10-year structural warranty from a good insurer for peace of mind. Retrospective warranties on completed houses are expensive and not accepted by all lenders.
4. Arrange for your warranty audits before you commence work. The additional audit checks carried out by the warranty surveyors are over and above compliance inspections by the Building Control Body - which adds another layer of protection for you and your project.
5. Make sure that any warranty you buy is backed by an "A" rated insurer. In the last few years, at least three unrated warranty insurers have withdrawn from the market, leaving many customers having to purchase another policy.
6. Give prompt notice of any claim - taking notes, keeping all receipts and taking photos frequently, as you go, can all help your case in the event of a claim.
7. Fully understand your obligations under the CDM Regulations 2015. They apply to self-builders!
8. Make sure you have an adequate contingency fund as most projects go over time and over budget! Even better, use a qualified project manager.