Caroline P

Help! Husband doing extension to our flat, what insurance do we need?

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We live in a converted building (3 flats) in the ground floor flat. We are planning a small extension and removal of some existing load bearing walls to alter the current layout. 

My husband will do the work with his Dad, both builders but do not have insurance and do not own their own companies. 

What insurance do we need? 

I assume public liability, but what else? 

We've contacted our buildings insurance provider (taken out via our management company under the name of our building's limited company of which we are directors) to let them know and see if they can provide any cover but I'm not sure how much they'll cover. 

I'd be grateful for any advice. 

Thank you, 

Caroline 

 

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I'm not sure you "need" insurance unless you are employing someone to work on your property or your property is mortgaged. If mortaged, then it has to have buildings insurance and you need to make sure your insurer consents to the work to make sure it doesn't invalidate cover. Usually the insurance company use this as an opportunity to extract another premium from you.

 

As to what insurance you might "want", public liability is a good idea. Make sure it covers situations where your works cause damage to neighbouring properties or to people working on site. 

 

There are brokers who sell this kind of thing.

 

Alternatively, some insurers like Hiscox and Adrian Flux might offer this kind of thing.

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Hiya Caroline P.

 

Knocking out wall in flats is quite a subject. It's a great topic and not just relevant to folk with a "portfolio". I hope the following helps. If there is interest I'll make a post on the in's and outs of taking down walls in old stone built flats if you are say a first time buyer.

 

For now Caroline.. The devil is in the detail, you say you have a "management company". That changes the game as if you are managing property, then you become an experienced client under the CDM regulations, it's difficult to argue with the HSE that you are just a domestic home owner. The law differs quite a lot. The next thing is, do you own the whole block or just all or part of the ground floor. Lastly, does the building connect to other buildings, say like tenements or a row of flats in a terrace.

 

Now if you are taking out load bearing walls on a ground floor flat then the SE is going to ask:

 

1/ Who owns the other flats, or is the block in single ownership.

2/ Is the block connected to another block, do I need to take into account the stability of say a whole terrace of flats or is it a stand alone block.

3/ How do I discharge my statutory duty to public safety by ensuring that from conceptual design to completion and beyond (in service) the design and build is controlled and supervised.

4/ Can I be sure that I am working with a competant team who recognise that there has to be an element of the budget (5-10 % yes folks it's that much! ) set aside for health and safety as required by the statutory CDM regulations. Is there provision for contingency should we need to take action if something untoward happens. Who is authorised to take immediate action should something happen that is unexpected.

5/ The SE will want to know that the builder / contractor has not just public liability insurance but also full contracts works insurance. If they don't have this then the SE's PI insurance provider will run a mile, they will ask... Why is the SE working with builders that don't have a proven track record and industry standard insurance? Why should we take all the risk as the SE's insurers.

 

It's worth while researching this as it could save you a pile of cash and also let you sleep at night knowing you are being safe, not inviting BC to serve you a notice and so on.

 

Caroline, the above sounds a bit rough but that's kind of how things pan out. If this is more than a one off then your Dad and Husband probably need to get some proper contractors insurance, other than that they may be better off just doing the finishing work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to the forum. 

 

1 hour ago, Caroline P said:

We've contacted our buildings insurance provider (taken out via our management company...

 

Am I right in thinking that the magement company you mention is more like an owners association that looks after maintenance of the block? Eg the other flat owners are also directors?  

 

or is it a company just you and your husband own that is unconnected to other flats in the block?  

Edited by Temp

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1 hour ago, Caroline P said:

We live in a converted building (3 flats) in the ground floor flat. We are planning a small extension and removal of some existing load bearing walls to alter the current layout

 

Changes that affect support for the floor above are likely to come under the Party Wall Act.. 

 

http://www.flat-living.co.uk/advice/1335-understanding-party-wall-matters

 

... when it comes to making alterations to a flat that may affect neighbouring properties or even neighbours above or below, there is statutory legislation in place to anticipate and resolve any issues or concerns. This is the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.



"The term Party Wall refers to a wall shared by buildings or flats belonging to different owners. A Party Fence Wall is a shared boundary wall between gardens and a Party Structure can mean a floor between flats or a partition wall between flats on the same floor."

 

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7 hours ago, Gus Potter said:

Hiya Caroline P.

 

Knocking out wall in flats is quite a subject. It's a great topic and not just relevant to folk with a "portfolio". I hope the following helps. If there is interest I'll make a post on the in's and outs of taking down walls in old stone built flats if you are say a first time buyer.

 

For now Caroline.. The devil is in the detail, you say you have a "management company". That changes the game as if you are managing property, then you become an experienced client under the CDM regulations, it's difficult to argue with the HSE that you are just a domestic home owner. The law differs quite a lot. The next thing is, do you own the whole block or just all or part of the ground floor. Lastly, does the building connect to other buildings, say like tenements or a row of flats in a terrace.

 

Now if you are taking out load bearing walls on a ground floor flat then the SE is going to ask:

 

1/ Who owns the other flats, or is the block in single ownership.

2/ Is the block connected to another block, do I need to take into account the stability of say a whole terrace of flats or is it a stand alone block.

3/ How do I discharge my statutory duty to public safety by ensuring that from conceptual design to completion and beyond (in service) the design and build is controlled and supervised.

4/ Can I be sure that I am working with a competant team who recognise that there has to be an element of the budget (5-10 % yes folks it's that much! ) set aside for health and safety as required by the statutory CDM regulations. Is there provision for contingency should we need to take action if something untoward happens. Who is authorised to take immediate action should something happen that is unexpected.

5/ The SE will want to know that the builder / contractor has not just public liability insurance but also full contracts works insurance. If they don't have this then the SE's PI insurance provider will run a mile, they will ask... Why is the SE working with builders that don't have a proven track record and industry standard insurance? Why should we take all the risk as the SE's insurers.

 

It's worth while researching this as it could save you a pile of cash and also let you sleep at night knowing you are being safe, not inviting BC to serve you a notice and so on.

 

Caroline, the above sounds a bit rough but that's kind of how things pan out. If this is more than a one off then your Dad and Husband probably need to get some proper contractors insurance, other than that they may be better off just doing the finishing work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gus, I’m sure you are speaking from professional experience as a diligent SE, but just to give some alternative context to this: I’ve done 3 projects all of which involved fairly substantial structural works, and never did the SE (which was a different person on each project) ask about muy or my builder’s insurance.

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@Caroline PI think you are asking the wrong question, builder/tradesman insurance is a mundane matter.

 

Your priorities should be:

  1. Verify you own the land on which the extension is to be built. It might be communal land shared by the other flat owners or your property Deeds might restrict what you can do.
  2. Next port of call is your local authority building control department. They will need to approve your plan and will likely take a keen interest in your structural alterations and also the heat insulation of the proposed extension.
  3. Finally someone needs to review your Deeds and management contract to confirm if you are allowed to mess around with the structure of the building without consent of the other co-owners. 
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4 hours ago, Adsibob said:

never did the SE (which was a different person on each project) ask about muy or my builder’s insurance.

Insurance is likely not your Engineers' best subject. It is quite likely that, in the event of a claim, their insurer would try to find that there was no cover and all parties would be in trouble.

Alternatively they have conditions in their small print that bat it back to you.

 

While handing out worries..I have often found that small builders' insurances are invalid...they have taken out the cheapest cover they can find and it has conditions that preclude any claim. A roof cladder, working at 8m,  who had stated himself to be a pipe fitter, working at max 2m....and so on. 

You can find the adverts for these "certificates" in the Sun.

"Nobody else has cared" is the response.

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13 hours ago, Caroline P said:

We live in a converted building (3 flats) in the ground floor flat.

 

I presume you are a leaseholder of the flat? Who is the freeholder?

Check your deeds or ask the freeholder what requirements the have, this maybe insurance but there maybe other requirements and permissions you need to seek  too

https://www.standard.co.uk/homesandproperty/property-news/do-i-need-to-let-the-freeholder-know-if-i-make-changes-to-the-leasehold-flat-i-own-a129736.html

https://www.enfranchisementsolicitors.co.uk/leasehold-flat-alterations-landlords-consent/

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2 hours ago, saveasteading said:

Insurance is likely not your Engineers' best subject.

That's my point! 

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18 hours ago, Temp said:

Welcome to the forum. 

 

 

Am I right in thinking that the magement company you mention is more like an owners association that looks after maintenance of the block? Eg the other flat owners are also directors?  

 

or is it a company just you and your husband own that is unconnected to other flats in the block?  

There are 3 flats in the converted building. We each own a share of the freehold. We have a limited company of which the directors are the freeholders of the three flats. This limited company employs a management company to manage the building. 

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6 hours ago, joth said:

 

I presume you are a leaseholder of the flat? Who is the freeholder?

Check your deeds or ask the freeholder what requirements the have, this maybe insurance but there maybe other requirements and permissions you need to seek  too

https://www.standard.co.uk/homesandproperty/property-news/do-i-need-to-let-the-freeholder-know-if-i-make-changes-to-the-leasehold-flat-i-own-a129736.html

https://www.enfranchisementsolicitors.co.uk/leasehold-flat-alterations-landlords-consent/

We are the freeholders of the flat 

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