Structural Warranty. What is it? When do you need it? What does it cover?

A structural warranty is, in its simplest terms insurance for the structure of your new home that lasts around ten years, depending on policy and provider. A home will only hold a structural warranty if, during its construction, it is regularly inspected by surveyors and meets the technical standards of the structural warranty provider.

Generally, a structural warranty is split into two periods of time. Those are:

Defects Insurance Period – Normally the first two years of a policy, the defects insurance period is the time in which the developer is responsible for rectifying any defects (which are deemed to be a failure to comply with the provider’s standards). Remember to report any defects you notice to your developer as quickly as you can after noticing them and keep copies of any correspondence sent as good practice.

Structural Insurance Period – Generally the 8 years after the Defects Insurance Period in which your structural warranty provider will be responsible for dealing directly with valid claims. During this period you should report any defects directly to your provider. Providing the defect is valid, the provider should then organise any necessary repair work, or pay for such repairs.

What is covered by your structural warranty?

With different sections of cover and types of insurance it can sometimes be tricky to work out just where and with whom you should be attempting to claim for any issue you may have. Below you will find a breakdown of some of the potential issues and some suggestions on who could be responsible. The below is only intended as a guide and whether any issue is covered by a particular insurance will depend upon the policy cover and the specific circumstances.

Who to refer to

Developer Warranty Period (DWP) – During the first year (Social Housing) or two years of your warranty, defects will likely be covered by the DWP. This means the developer will generally repair the defects for you.

Structural Insurance Period (SIP) – During the later years of the warranty (After the first two) your warranty provider should repair defects for you.

Household Insurance (HI) – Sometimes damage is nothing to do with the structure of the building or the developer. Weather damage for example, or accidental damage is likely to be covered by your household insurance.

General Maintenance (GM) – Minor blemishes or chips are generally a pretty normal sign of wear and tear and are unlikely to be covered by any insurance. They are generally easy to take care of with maintenance though.

 

Example Defects and actions you would take

(Please note that this list is by no means comprehensive and for full details of what is covered by any insurance you should refer to your policy and certificate of insurance).

  Defect

  Description

  Likely cause

  Who should you     refer to?

  Fitted Furniture

  Cupboard doors sticky or loose

            Accidental Damage

            Poorly Fitted

 HI

 DWP

 

  Worktop damaged/loose

           Accidental Damage

           Poorly Fitted

 HI
 DWP

  Damp Proofing

  Damp Penetration

           Improper ventilation

 DWP/ SIP

 

  Damp Penetration

           Damp proof membrane fitted improperly

 DWP/ SIP

 

  Damp Penetration

           Damp proof course has been bridged

 DWP/ SIP

  Finishes

  Render coming away from external masonry walls

           Render poorly applied

           Incorrect render used

           Inappropriate product placed

 DWP/ SIP
 DWP/ SIP
 DWP/ SIP

 

  Paint Flaking

           Poor surface prep

           Inappropriate paint used

           Damp Penetration

 DWP
 DWP

 DWP

 Windows and doors

  Excessive draughts from doors

           No draught strips

           Door is warped/twisted

 DWP
 DWP/ HI

 

  Rain coming in under door

            Storm/accidental damage

            No weather bar fitted

            Door fits badly

            Door panels are warped/shrunk

 HI

 DWP
 DWP
 DWP / HI

 

  Lock not working

 

           Damaged by attempted break in

           Seized mechanism

           Lock doesn’t align with its keep

 HI

 DWP
 DWP

 

  Glass Broken

           Accidental Damage

 HI

 

  Draughts coming in through the window

           No draught strips fitted

           Window fits badly

           Window is warped or twisted

 DWP
 DWP
 DWP

 

  Rain coming in through the window

           Window fits badly

           Design of the window not suitable for the level of exposure

DWP/ SIP
DWP/ SIP

  Chimneys

  Chimney pot loose

           Not fitted correctly

DWP

 

  Pointing to chimney deteriorating

           Storm or accidental damage

           Not installed correctly

 HI

 DWP/ SIP

 

  Chimney not drawing properly

           Storm or accidental damage

           Not installed correctly

 HI

 DWP/ SIP

 

  Water ingress through chimney

           External conditions

           Not installed correctly

 HI
 DWP

  Roof Coverings

  Roof Leaking

           Storm Damage

           Defective roof covering

           Inadequate motor mix

 HI
 DWP
 DWP

 

  Roof/ridge tiles loose or missing

           Accidental/ storm damage

           Tiles not installed correctly

 HI

 DWP/ SIP

 

  Pointing to eaves, ridge valleys cracked

           Accidental/ storm damage

           Not properly installed

           Lead flashing installed incorrectly

           Affected due to frost

 HI

 DWP
 DWP/ SIP

 GM

  Superstructure
  (internal)

  Moisture or staining on walls

           Condensation

           Water ingress

           Leak in plumbing

           Inadequate ventilation

 GM
 DWP
 DWP
 DWP

 

  Cracks in plasterwork

           Normal shrinkage

           Movement

 GM
 DWP/ SIP

  Building Services

  Gutter/downpipe leaking

           Downpipe/gutter blocked

           Defective joint

 DWP

 DWP

  Drainage below   ground

  Drainage leaking

           Pipe cracked due to accidental damage

           Pipe cracked due to improper installation

           A joint in the pipe is not holding

 HI

 DWP

 

 DWP

  Drainage above   ground

  Waste pipe emits an odour

           Pipe is blocked

           Water trap removed

 GM
 GM

 

  Water not draining away

           Pipe/gully/drain blocked

           Gully damaged by ground movement

           Pipe installed at incorrect angle

 GM

 DWP/ SIP

 DWP/ SIP

 

  Bath, basin or sink are cracked or damaged

           Damaged prior to installing

           Accidental damage

 DWP

 HI

 

  Shower not working

           Isolation switch and/or valve is in the on position

           Electric: No hot water

           Power: No power or water

           Mixed: No water at all

 Switch isolation   valve to off position   and run the shower
 DWP
 DWP

 DWP

 

  Tap dripping

           Worn washer

           Defective tap

 GM
 GM

 

  Sink surround is leaking

           A seal has not been fitted

           The seal is broken

 DWP

 DWP

 

  Waste pipe is leaking

           Cracked/punctured by  accidental damage

           Cracked/punctured by  incorrect installation

           Cracked/punctured by  inadequate insulation

           A joint is not holding

 SIP

 DWP

 DWP

 DWP

 

  No water supply/low pressure

           Mains not turned on/fully open

           Low pressure mains

 Open the valve

 Check valve to tank  is open

 

  Pipes are noisy

           Poorly secured pipework

           Unprotected pipes where they pass through joists/walls

 DWP

 DWP

  Electrical installation

  No power

           Tripped circuit breaker

           Object isn’t wired to circuit

 GM

 DWO

 

  Electrical fittings not working

           Tripped circuit breaker

           Blown fuse

           Appliance not wired to circuit

           Accidental damage

           Incorrectly fixed

 GM
 Replace fuse
 DWP

 HI
 DWP

  Heating and         mechanical

  Radiator not producing heat

           Airlock in the radiator

           Seized radiator valve

           Boiler not working

           Blocked pipe

 GM
 GM
 DPW
 DWP

 

  Boiler not working

           Gas Supply off

 

  Turn on gas supply    and follow   instructions on boiler to relight

 

 

           Thermostat/programmer is not working

           Pilot light gone out

           Boiler wired incorrectly or faulty circuit

 DWP

 DWP
 DWP

  External works

  Driveways/paths not draining

           Surface not laid to fall

           Ground movement

 DWP
 DWP

 

  Cracking in concrete/drives

           Ground movement

           Weight of traffic

 DWP
 DWP

 

If, having read the above you believe you may have an issue that should be considered by LABC Warranty then you can find information on making a claim here

You can also learn more about the history of structural warranties in this article