Structural warranty or Professional Consultant’s Certificate – what’s right for you?
When you build your own home, or have a builder construct one for you, you may be considering two options to protect your investment and give you peace of mind. These could be a structural warranty or a Professional Consultant’s Certificate, which has also been known as an architect’s certificate.
There are significant differences between the two forms of protection, and making the wrong choice could have serious consequences later on.
This article breaks down the types of protection and how they differ.
What is a structural warranty?
A structural warranty is an insurance policy that protects you form specified issues detailed in the policy document. Typically, for a structural warranty to be issued a risk management specialist has inspected your home and certified that there are no serious defects that would leave a homeowner paying to remedy major problems in their new home.
If after construction is completed there is a serious issue with your new home covered under the policy, remedial work will be undertaken or the costs of undertaking these work reimbursed.
This coverage typically lasts ten years from the completion date of your home, and also covers developing defects that could lead to damage, even if that damage has yet to actually happen.
What is a Professional Consultant’s Certificate (PCC)?
A PCC demonstrates that your architect has:
- Necessary and relevant experience in construction
- Appropriate professional indemnity insurance
- Visited the site during construction to check on the progress and quality of the build
A PCC makes an architect liable for a period of six years, but does not provide cover for structural defects.
What you need to consider when choosing between a structural warranty and a PCC
Claiming against your PCC will require you to prove negligence or blame against your professional consultant, typically an architect. This can be difficult, time consuming and costly, with no guarantee of a favourable outcome for you.
With a warranty, you will likely have access to the warranty provider customer service team. They will ask for details, photographs, and most likely send a surveyor to examine the property and assess the nature and extent of the defect.
This process will assess whether the issue is a snag (a cosmetic issue that doesn’t meaningfully impact the structure of the home), or if it’s a defect. If the issue is a defect, it will be escalated to a claims team who will examine the case.
Unlike the PCC, there is no need to establish negligence or blame – the existence of the defect covered under the policy mandates remediation.
The warranty also typically covers additional costs, such as the removal of debris and the provision of alternative accommodation.
In addition to the above, a structural warranty is there for the full ten years, even if your builder or architect goes out of business.
Questions? Talk to us
If you’d like to know more about structural warranties for a self-build home, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our self-build account managers are available on the contact details here, and you can read more about our self-build structural warranties here.