Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Structural Warranty?

A structural warranty is an insurance policy that protects the new works of a property from any structural defects that may arise after construction has finished. A structural warranty, also called a building warranty, build warranty, new home guarantee or latent defects insurance, lasts for 10 or 12 years after completion.

Is latent defects insurance the same as a structural warranty?

Yes, latent defects insurance is simply the commercial name for a structural warranty – they are the same product.

How long does a structural warranty last?

A standard structural warranty policy lasts for 10 years but some can last for 12 years.

Do I need a Structural Warranty?

Although a structural warranty is not yet required legally in the UK, it is needed by all UK lenders. So if you want to sell your new build to a buyer who needs a mortgage, you need a structural warranty. Likewise, if you want to buy a new build using a mortgage, you will need to make sure there’s a warranty in place.

What is covered under a Structural Warranty?

A structural warranty covers your property against defects in design, workmanship and materials for 10 years from completion

How much does a structural warranty cost?

The price of a structural warranty is calculated by the professional reinstatement cost, property type, location, square metreage and building material. The price will vary according to the quality of the cover, and whether you choose to include your building control surveys in the cost of your warranty as well.

Who provides structural warranties?

There are a number of structural warranty providers in the UK. Build-Zone is the third largest, and we have one of the largest capacities in the market. All our structural warranties are underwritten by A-rated insurers, which means they have been independently rated as highly reliable and financially strong, so you can have complete confidence in your policy.

How does a structural warranty work?

A structural warranty works like any other insurance policy – if something that’s covered takes place, you can claim. The warranty is generally issued after a set of technical audits or site inspections during the build have been signed off by an approved inspector, to reduce the risk of claims being made. The policy is then held in the homeowner’s name and can be used to claim if structural defects arise in the new works or build – with the warranty easily transferrable to a new owner.

What are structural defects?

Structural defects are issues that affect the structural integrity of a building, which could be through failings in the design, workmanship or materials used. Often, structural defects take several years to show, which is why they are also known as ‘latent defects’.

Structural defects should not be confused with snagging, which are minor or decorative problems that are sometimes found in a house after the completion of a build. Snagging issues arise as the new property settles, but they do not compromise the structure of the house itself so they’re a lot easier to fix.

Do all new builds have a guarantee?

Most reputable developers or builders will arrange a structural warranty for their new builds so they are able to be sold to someone using a lender or mortgage. If a new build doesn’t have a warranty set up before construction begins, cover can be arranged for part-completed or finished new builds, but this is likely to be more expensive.

Should the builder provide a warranty?

Ideally, a structural warranty should be purchased before building begins, so the construction process can be audited correctly from start to finish. As the builder or developer, you should arrange a structural warranty upfront which can then be passed to your buyer after completion.

If you’re self-building or designing a home for you to live in, then it’s normally your responsibility to arrange the structural warranty. Or, if your builder is providing the warranty, you should check the provider to ensure the warranty is accepted by the majority of lenders, and/or that it has an A-rated insurer.

Is a building warranty the same as building insurance?

No, a building warranty is an insurance policy that protects a new build against structural defects in design, workmanship and materials for 10 years after completion of construction. Building insurance is an annual insurance policy (usually combined with contents insurance) that protects a home of any age for other risks, such as fire, theft, storm damage and more.

What are technical audits?

Technical audits are the inspections and sign-off stages required by an insurer to issue a structural warranty on completion of the property. They are different to building control visits, which focus on the build being compliant with building regulations.

Any issues identified during technical audits during the build are rectified and signed off by an approved inspector, giving the homebuyer peace of mind that the property has been built to a high standard. On receiving the satisfactory technical audit surveys and accompanying completion certification from the approved inspector, the structural warranty will be issued.

At Build-Zone, we have an in-house survey team called Build-Zone Survey Services (BZSS) who can carry out technical audits and arrange building control, while helping you save money on your premium too.

What’s an A-rated insurer?

An A-rated insurer is one that has been independently assessed by a recognised agency on its long-term financial strength and its ability to pay valid claims, and has scored highly. An A-rating is among the highest scores, whereas a B or C rating is considered a less secure insurer.

As structural warranties last for up to 12 years, it’s vital to choose an insurer who is financially secure for the long term. This reduces the risk of the insurer going out of business during the period of insurance, which not only invalidates the warranty but could invalidate the mortgage too. That’s why we only use A-rated insurers for all our structural warranties – so you can have complete confidence in your cover.