FAQS

A structural warranty is an insurance policy designed to protect against defects in new buildings, normally for a period of 10 years after completion.

Whilst a structural warranty is purchased by the builder before construction starts, it actually protects the homeowner from structural damage that may occur during the first ten years after it has been completed.

The cover provided by a structural warranty varies greatly by provider but can include:

  • Deposit protection – should the developer become insolvent during the build this protects the homeowner’s deposit
     
  • Defects insurance – leading providers of structural warranties include a defects period for the first two years of cover. This provides protection against non-compliance with the warranty provider’s technical manual and may include non-structural issues.
     
  • Structural insurance – this makes up the main part of the warranty and covers against structural issues after the defects period expires.
     
  • Contaminated land – protects against the cost of removing contamination from the housing plot
     
  • Building Control cover – if elements of the house were not built in compliance with Building Regulations and are a hazard to the health of residents this can cover the costs to put things right.

If you are building or converting new homes it is recommended you purchase a structural warranty prior to construction, in addition to building regulation approval.

However, if you are building a conservatory or an extension you may not need a warranty but you will need to comply with building regulations to ensure the property is structurally sound.

Find out more about how to obtain building regulation approval for your project at www.labc.co.uk.

The main reason you will need to invest in a structural warranty is to help you sell your property once it is completed. The vast majority of mortgage lenders and banks require a structural warranty to be in place before they will provide a mortgage on a property.

A structural warranty will also provide protection against defects in either workmanship or the risk of failure with construction materials helping minimise any problems arising whilst ensuring your reputation is protected.

Each of our policies have different levels, limits and sections of cover depending on the type and size of your build as outlined below:

We offer a comprehensive range of schemes for all your warranty requirements:

  • New Homes Warranty - accepted by all of the UK’s leading lenders to help you sell your new development more easily.
     
  • Private Rental Warranty - up to 12 years’ cover on purpose built rental properties to provide protection and security for you, the developer or investor, including loss of rent* and alternative accommodation.
     
  • Social Housing Warranty - up to 12 years’ cover on new affordable housing or shared ownership homes, protecting you and your tenants.
     
  • Stock Regeneration Warranty - protects your maintenance budget against the risk of future defects when upgrading existing housing stock.
     
  • Self Build Warranty – specifically designed for people building their dream home. As well as providing security and peace of mind the 10 year policy can be used to secure stage payments from lenders.
     
  • High Value Warranty - provides cover for large, high-value schemes with market leading financial limits, full risk transfer and insolvency cover.**
     
  • Completed Housing Warranty - provides cover on completed properties which do not already have a warranty in place for example where a self-builder’s circumstances have changed meaning they now need a warranty to sell their home.
     
  • Commercial Warranty – to protect owners or developers of commercial sites from potentially costly defects.

*extension to standard cover
**subject to approval

A structural warranty is not the same as standard home insurance which is typically made up of building and contents insurance. Buildings insurance is usually a minimum requirement of any mortgage agreement and provides cover for damage to the property including fixtures and fittings like the kitchen and bathrooms. Contents insurance on the other hand is optional but can usually be combined with your buildings insurance to provide cover for loss or damage to personal belongings such as your TV, sofas and other valuable items.

A structural warranty on the other hand will only protect you against major defects resulting in damage to the actual structure of the building not general wear and tear.

For more information please refer to the homeowners’ handbook or homeowner section of our website

Requesting a quotation from LABC Warranty is easy. Simply complete and return our application form and let us do the rest of the work for you.

You don’t have to complete any additional forms for registration.

Yes.  Contact our Sales team on 0800 183 1755 who will be happy to provide you with a quote indication over the telephone.

Alternatively, complete our online form and one of our team will be in touch.

To calculate your indication we will require the following information from you:

  • If you are not already registered with us please provide your developer rating from your previous warranty provider where possible.
     
  • An overview of your development, i.e. number of units and the type of construction.
     
  • For new homes we will need the estimated total sale price of the properties you are building.
     
  • For all other schemes we will need the estimated total reconstruction cost of the properties you are building.

Please note that a full application form must be completed in order for a formal, binding quote to be issued.

There are three main elements that will affect the cost of your warranty:

  1. Your developer rating –calculated using your past experience and claims history, along with any rating scores you have from other warranty providers.
     
  2. Your financial strength – we may consider your credit rating and company accounts.
     
  3. The size of your development – either the total reconstruction or sale price of your development.

An application form can be submitted online or via post, email or fax. We respond to all our standard quotes within 5 days but most are completed in less than 2 working days.

We recommend you submit the form at the earliest possible opportunity prior to starting on site. Should we need any additional information with your application, we will contact you to discuss exactly what we need.

Your quotation will include a ‘quotation acceptance form’. To accept your quote simply complete and return this form to us. We will then send you an invoice and your surveyor will contact you within 5 working days.

Please note, we can only accept a quotation acceptance form if it is signed by the owner of the land to be developed at the time of acceptance.

Once your acceptance has been processed, you will receive an email containing your order details, key contacts and details of any additional information that we require. An invoice will be attached to your email which will include details of your payment plan.

If you are a builder/developer working on new homes, social homes or private rental properties you will need to register with us. Our registration process is straight forward and our team will be able to support you if required.

You don’t need to register if you are a self-builder unless you have appointed a builder in which case they will be required to sign an indemnity in respect of their responsibilities under the Builder Liability Period which applies for the first 12 months of the Period of Insurance.

For more information visit the registration section of our website. 

You will be sent a pack of documents to read and sign where appropriate to allow us to complete your application.

The documents will include:

  • Rules of registration - This document outlines the rules developers and builders must follow during their registration with LABC Warranty.

Depending on the criteria of our registration process, your pack will also contain some of the following documents:

  • Company Indemnity Agreement (CIA) - this confirms the developer and/or builder involved in a development agrees to rectify any defects that occur during the Defects Insurance Period of their policy.
     
  • Associate Company Indemnity Agreement (ACIA) - this confirms that should the developer and/or builder be unable to carry out remedial work, the Associate Company will undertake these responsibilities during the Defects Insurance Period.  This document must be signed by both parties.
     
  • Self-builder indemnity agreement (SBIA) - this confirms that the builder involved in a self-build project agrees to rectify any defects that occur during the Builder Liability Period of the policy.
  • Initial registration is £500 and then £350 on renewal.

We are able to accept payment over the phone on our dedicated phone line 0151 647 2454. We also accept cheques and online bank transfers.

Please ensure that you quote your reference number when making a payment. 

We will notify you in writing before your renewal is due.

Registration must be maintained throughout your period of liability (i.e. the build period and defects insurance period) and failure to do so could affect your rating and mean we may not release any Certification on the developments you are building. Please note your registration fee is non-refundable.

Please visit go to the client registration section of our website for more information. 

There may be some conditions on your quote we need you to satisfy before your Certificates of Insurance can be issued. 

These conditions may be technical requirements for your build, administrative issues or requirements for security.

These conditions must be satisfied prior to completion of your build. You should therefore consider whether you will be able to meet these requirements before proceeding with your order.

An escrow is sometimes required by LABC Warranty to protect against the unlikely event a developer/builder is unable to fulfil their obligations under our policy such as in the event of insolvency.

Escrow amounts are calculated based on the rating of the developer/builder and the number of units to be built within the development. 

Escrows are held by our third party legal advisors until we are satisfied that all of the obligations have been fulfilled as outlined below:

  • If an escrow is required to cover insolvency during the build period, then escrow amounts will be returned to the developer once the Certificate of Insurance has been issued on the final unit of the development.
     
  • If an escrow is required to cover the developers responsibilities during the Defects Insurance Period, escrow amounts will be refunded 12 months after the completion of the developer’s period of liability, based on the date of the last Certificate of Insurance issued on the development.

Interest will be payable on sums deposited at the best rate obtainable on instant access accounts by MD Insurance Services Ltd from Barclays Bank PLC from time to time 

Site inspections are where our surveyors will come out to your site to ensure the technical standards outlined in our technical manual have been met. Inspections will consist of an initial assessment of the site, stage inspections and a final inspection. Further inspections may also be necessary for parts of the build with a high level of risk such as basements and roofs.

The purpose of our risk management and site inspection process is to assist you in completing your development in accordance with our technical manual. We will work closely with your local authority building control to resolve any problems as quickly as possible to avoid unnecessary delays to your build.

Site inspections are required by our insurers at various stages of the build and areas of particularly high risk to ensure that they are satisfied to provide a structural warranty upon completion.

Every site covered by our schemes is assigned a surveyor, who is responsible for undertaking the Technical Audit process on site.  Your Surveyor will contact you within 5 working days of your order being placed to arrange a site meeting. This initial meeting will include a project review which will give you the opportunity to discuss your development with your surveyor and for them to highlight any areas where additional information may be required. You will then be issued with a site record folder which will be updated during each visit.

If you need an inspection immediately, please contact our team on 0845 054 0505.  We usually require 48 hours’ notice for an inspection.

Please note, it is essential that we see your foundation excavations before the first pour of concrete and in the case of a refurbishment of conversion that we are able to see the existing building before any areas are covered up with new works. 

For all sites we will require a Soil Investigation Report, a full set of plans and any foundation design and calculation documents.

We also require details of the plot numbers you are using on your development (if applicable) to allow us to issue documentation and site reports.  This information is required as soon as possible and Royal Mail postal addresses will also be required at a later date.

If this is your first development with us, we will undertake an Initial Assessment. This does not apply for Self-Build, Completed Housing or Commercial schemes.

An initial assessment of your site will be made based on the following criteria as a rough guide:

  • Ground conditions
     
  • Site exposure
     
  • Complexity of the design specification
     
  • Professional input

This plan check enables the surveyor to judge the likelihood of any problems arising as the building work progresses. The assessment is adjusted accordingly during construction to reflect the standards being adhered to.

If the development includes the refurbishment or conversion of an existing building, we will aim to coordinate with our Technical Services Department a joint inspection to undertake the Refurbishment Assessment (RA).

There is no one size fits all approach to site inspections but as a guide our surveyors will carry out site inspections at the following construction stages:

  • Foundations excavations (or prior to concreting ground beams on piled sites)
     
  • Ground floor
     
  • Chamber joist
     
  • Roof structure
     
  • First fix (or pre-plaster)
     
  • Pre-handover

You will be supplied with a copy of our Technical Manual once you register with us, which provides all of the functional requirements for your build. Whilst our Technical Manual provides comprehensive guidance on meeting the necessary standards we recognise that we cannot cover every construction option in a single document. So, if you have an alternative method you would like to use on your build call us on 0845 054 0505 and we would be happy to discuss the solution and work with you to ensure the necessary standards are met.

You can also access an electronic version of the Technical Manual and dedicated technical blog articles on our website.

This will vary depending on the project but the following areas are usually associated with a high level of risk:

  • Basement construction and waterproofing
     
  • Roof covering
     
  • Waterproof envelope

Yes, for apartment blocks our inspection regime would also take into account the following:

  • More complex foundations
  • Basements
  • Cladding
  • Fire stopping
  • Other construction areas as identified by the surveyor

For conversions and refurbishments the inspection regime will be considered on an individual basis considering the following:

  • Recommendations of the Refurbishment Assessment
     
  • Complexity of the scheme
     
  • Extent of the works

Your surveyor will explain to you when they visit your site what actions will need to be taken and fill out the relevant section of your site record folder. You will also receive a site inspection report electronically each time an inspection is carried out.

Your certificate of insurance will be issued once we are satisfied you have fulfilled all conditions applied to your development and your site has achieved final sign-off by our dedicated team of inspectors. You will also need to ensure that all documentation and payments have been received by LABC Warranty and a logic test has been completed.

Once this criteria has been met our customer service team will issue a copy of your certificate of insurance.

This will vary depending upon your development but the conditions you will need to meet before your certificate can be issued could include:

  • Have you paid your insurance premium and other fees?
     
  • Has Developer or Builder Registration been completed (or both) if applicable?
     
  • Have you provided us with postal address(es)?
     
  • Have you provided funds for any required escrows?
     
  • Have you provided details of sale prices?

In order to satisfactorily sign off each unit we need to firstly ensure all issues relating to the warranty audit have been satisfactorily closed e.g. outstanding design information or remedial measures on site, and be satisfied that the requirements of the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) ‘logic test’ have been met.

Your Surveyor may coordinate with our dedicated team of inspectors who specialise in final sign-offs to ensure every unit on your development has been signed off.

The purpose of the logic test is to ensure the home is safe for sale or rent. Any outstanding information, defective design or non-compliance with standards on site will be classified as either critical or non-critical using the following flow diagram. If an answer to any of the standard questions is yes the item will be classified as critical and confirmation of a final inspection will be withheld until the issue has been resolved. However if the answer is no the item will be classified as non-critical and confirmation will be provided to the builder/developer who is then responsible for addressing the issue.

In most cases, we will require some or all of the following documentation and information to complete the test:

  • Electrical test certificate
  • Gas safe certificate
  • Air pressure test certificate
  • Sound test certificate or Robust Standard Details compliance certificate
  • Ventilation commissioning certificate if whole house ventilation is fitted
  • Third party warranty certificates for timber treatment, damp treatment, and tanking systems if the project has any existing elements
  • Building Control final certificate
  • Any other site specific requirements previously noted by the Surveyor

If you are providing these documents electronically, please send them to enquiries@labcwarranty.co.uk. Hard copy documents should be sent to our head office address.

Yes, we can issue Cover Notes on site if required. However we have developed our processes so a Cover Note would not be required as long as all the information has been provided. We will issue the Certificate of Insurance if all conditions have been met which will confirm cover is in place meaning a Cover Note would not be required.

You can either make a claim using the online claim form on our website or by downloading a copy of the paper claim form and posting a completed copy back to us.

The process will vary slightly depending on what period of insurance your home is currently under i.e. the defects insurance period or the structural insurance period. This is because different defects may be covered under the defects period which will be rectified by your builder/developer than the structural insurance period. Where only major defects resulting in damage to the structure of the home will be covered.

If you have any queries when completing the form whether it is online or on the printed version please contact our claims team on 0800 183 1755 or claims@labcwarranty.co.uk and they will assist you.

The Consumer Code is a set of requirements and best practice that our builders/developers adhere to ensure that home buyers are:

  • Treated fairly
  • Know what service levels to expect
  • Given reliable information upon which to make their decisions
  • Know how to access speedy, low-cost dispute-resolution arrangements if they are dissatisfied

You must first lodge your complaint to your builder/developer. If you are not satisfied that your complaint has been dealt with effectively you should contact us as your warranty provider to register a complaint.

If the complaint falls outside of our dispute resolution scheme you will be informed about the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.

For more information about the consumer code please visit www.consumercode.co.uk