2 August 2023

What's the difference between a Structural Warranty and an Architect Certificate?

By Build Zone
structural warranty or architect certificate

Structural warranty or architect certificate? As the costs of labour and materials continue to rise, developers and housebuilders often seek to cost-savings in other areas. But you should always focus on safeguarding your construction project or new home development.

While no specific law says you have to take out structural or latent defects insurance cover for your new home post-completion, specific requirements are set by UK Lenders. Most lenders will demand a guarantee that lasts up to ten years. So, even if you financed a build without a lender or mortgage, this guarantee would be necessary if you plan to sell the property within the first ten years to a buyer using a lender. The most recognised and comprehensive cover is a 10-year structural warranty. Recently, more companies have offered alternatives like professional practitioners or architect certificates, but these often need adequate coverage.

So, what exactly are the differences, and which one should you opt for?

• An Architect Certificate covers a new home against design defects for up to 6 years and does not include workmanship or materials.

• A Structural Warranty provides insurance coverage for 10 years and covers design, workmanship, and materials defects.

• A Structural Warranty is required if selling a newly built home.

A Structural Warranty and an Architect Certificate serve different purposes in construction and building.

A Structural Warranty is an insurance policy for newly constructed buildings. It provides long-term coverage (usually 10 or 12 years) for specific defects that may affect the structural integrity of the building. This warranty covers the cost incurred for restoring your property from a structural defect and offers more comprehensive protection, covering both structural defects and construction issues.

An Architect Certificate is a document provided by a qualified architect that certifies that a building has been constructed according to the approved plans and complies with building regulations. It’s mainly a statement of professional opinion by the architect about the quality of workmanship and materials used. The certificate tends to cover any structural design issues but does not offer the same level of coverage as a structural warranty. It usually runs for a shorter time, often six years.

“While an Architect Certificate is generally cheaper and quicker to obtain than a Structural Warranty, the latter offers broader protection. Therefore, the choice between the two often depends on the specific needs and budget of the project”.

Given that structural warranties offer coverage for 10 or 12 years, selecting a provider known for its financial stability is crucial. After all, the insurer is the one who will bear the costs in case of a claim. If they aren’t a highly-rated company, there’s always a chance they could go under before your warranty expires, leaving you without insurance. This unfortunate situation has impacted thousands of people in recent years.

Build-Zone is backed by ‘A’ Rated insurers to suit the unique requirements of your development or project, including new home warranty and structural warranties for commercial and residential developments. This also includes social housing, mixed-use, commercial and major projects. With the backing of an ‘A’ Rated insurer, you receive peace of mind from a dependable organisation that provides help when you need it most and for the entire length of your policy.

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