Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I choose Self-Build Zone over another provider? 

Self-Build Zone offers some of the most comprehensive cover available in the market. This means that you are covered for a wider range of perils than you are usually available to find elsewhere. We are also one of the cheapest. You should always find out what you are covered for before accepting a policy, as the cheapest policy is not always the best for your project. 



Here is a list of our most Frequently Asked Questions. CLICK ON the individual question below to be taken to the relevant answer.

2. Who underwrites the policy? 

Mainland UK
The 18 Month Site Insurance and Developer Insurance policies are underwritten by Catlin Insurance Company (UK) Limited.
The 12 Month, 24 Month and short-period Site Insurance products are underwritten by EC Insurance Company Limited.
The 10 Year Structural Warranty is underwritten by Canopius Syndicates 4444/958 at Lloyd's.
The Legal Expenses Insurance aspect of all Site Insurance policies are underwritten by UK Underwriting Limited. 


Northern Ireland
The 12 Month, 18 Month and short-period Site Insurance products along with the Developer Insurance products are underwritten by Catlin Insurance Company (UK) Limited.
The 24 Month Site Insurance product is underwritten by EC Insurance Company Limited.
The 10 Year Structural Warranty is underwritten by
Canopius Syndicates 4444/958 at Lloyd's.
The Legal Expenses Insurance aspect of all Site Insurance policies are underwritten by UK Underwriting Limited. 


3. What do I do in the event of a claim? 

If you feel you might need to make a claim please phone our advisors on 0845 230 9874. There is a claim form to complete and we operate a 24-hour service number for genuine emergencies for Site Insurance and Warranty. Please see your policy document for excesses. If you are unsure whether you need to make a claim, please call and you will be advised accordingly. All calls are recorded for legal and training purposes.


4. I am using one main Contractor from the beginning of the project to completion; do I need

Site Insurance? 

As soon as you purchase your plot of land you could be legally liable for anything that occurs on that land. The implications of this are that if, for example, a child enters your site without your permission and breaks their leg or worse, you could be liable. You should always check with any Contractor and obtain proof that they are holding their own insurance to check what it covers them for. You might find something excluded, for example the theft of your own tools and equipment from the site.


5. Are there any security measures I need to implement in order to be covered under your policy?

No, there aren’t any additional steps that are required in order to be covered under our Site Insurance policy. It is in your interest to protect your site, materials and tools from theft and therefore it is up to you if they are locked up. 


Please visit the security page on our website.


6. I am doing a lot of the work myself but I am not a qualified builder or NHBC registered. Can I still be covered under your policy?

Yes. There are no qualifications required to be involved with a Self-Build Zone project. 


7. Is Site Insurance the same as a 10 Year Structural Warranty? 

Site Insurance and a 10 Year Structural Warranty are entirely different forms of insurance. Site insurance protects you before and  during the build process and a 10 Year Structural Warranty starts from the date the build is completed. For more information please contact our sales team on 0845 230 9874


8. What is covered on the Existing Structure element of the policy?

It is very important that you protect the Existing Structure of any conversion, renovation or extension. Often a substantial amount of the project is the Existing Structure and it is important that it is protected from similar perils to the new works. Occasionally you are able to purchase Aircraft, Fire and Explosion Cover only for Existing Structures but in many cases this is not adequate. The Self-Build Zone policy can provide Consequential Damage Cover for all Existing Structures. This means that you are covered if the Existing Structure is damaged by new works. Please note that most household policies will not cover the Existing Structure whilst works are being carried out.


9. Who is / can be covered under the policy? 

Your immediate family is covered automatically under our Site Insurance policy. You can add additional family or friends at no extra cost. There is no need to list all the contractors who will be working on the site as they will be covered under Employers' Liability.


10. Is Site Insurance a legal requirement?

It is not a legal requirement to have Site Insurance but you must by law have £10 million employers liability cover, as you will be employing contractors to work on your site. This is included within our policy. It is always advisable to think about the worst thing that could happen during the build and think about the financial implications that it would have. For example, without insurance, if your new house burnt down a week before you move in, who is going to pay to rebuild it?


11. Do I need a Structural Warranty?

Apart from the peace-of-mind you gain with the Build-Zone Structural Warranty, you are likely to find your Lender requires it as part of their lending criteria. Also, if your circumstances change and you need to sell the property in the next 10 years you will find that your buyer's Lender will also need to see a Structural Warranty for the building before they release any money.
This product has the advantage over an architect's certificate which is only an extension of the architect's Professional Indemnity insurance, requiring you to prove negligence. Our policy is a 'prime' policy covering you for 10 years. 


12. Do you cover New Builds, Conversions, Renovations and Extensions? 

Yes, we are able to cover almost any type of building including green oak, straw bale and chapel conversions, barns, new builds, extensions and renovations.


13. What is Professional Reinstatement Value?

This will form the 'Sum Insured' for your project. The Professional Reinstatement Value must reflect what it would cost in terms of materials and professional labour (which would include their profit) to reinstate the property if you suffered a total loss. You need to also consider the cost of removing debris, professional fees and VAT if applicable.


The same applies to pre-existing structure that requires insurance.


VAT must be included in the above figures.


It is important the professional reinstatement values is established correctly, if you have any doubt please consult a suitable professional such as a qualified quantity or building surveyor.


14. What is an gross external floor area? 

As part of the quotation process, we will ask you to provide the total gross external floor area for your completed project. This is different from an internal or habitable floor area.


To find the external floor area of your home - both upstairs and downstairs, the best way is to measure the length and width of your home and multiply these figures together. If you cannot measure outside, measure inside and add the thickness of the walls. You can measure either in feet or metres. An integral garage would be included in this calculation. You now know the ground floor area.


For upstairs, you may be able simply to double the ground floor area. If the other floor area is a different size then calculate the upstairs area separately and add the figures together.


For three storey houses, only 70% of the floor area of the third storey need be included. A third storey of a house does not mean the attic in a two storey house, unless the roof space has been converted into a third storey.


Please consult a professional involved in the build, such as your architect, if you need help when establishing the above figure.


15. I’m doing work to my own home – does my Existing Home Insurance cover me?

Many home insurers specifically exclude cover on properties undergoing renovation, alteration, extension or conversion. It is really worrying that over half of the people that we talk to do not realise this and leave themselves and their largest asset exposed.

It is always strongly advisable that you inform your home insurer prior to any works starting to determine their stance. Your normal Home insurance will not cover any of the new/contract works and materials if, for example, they are stolen or destroyed by fire. Home insurance can also exclude any loss, damage or liability arising out of the activities of contractors, working at or on the premises, including where you are working in your capacity as a professional tradesman.

Home insurance does not provide you with your own sufficient Public and Employers’ liability cover and nor is your builder’s Public Liability policy adequate as it is only designed to cover him for his negligence, which can be costly and time-consuming to prove.

The Site Insurance policy will act as an interim policy, covering, amongst other things, the existing structure during the course of the works. Once the work is completed you should reinstate your buildings insurance cover. If you are keeping your household contents in the property during the course of work, you should maintain contents cover with your home insurance provider as Site Insurance will not be covering them.

Our Site Insurance policy can provide Consequential Damage Cover for all existing structures included in the insurance. This means that you are covered if the existing structure is damaged by new works.


16. How does Health & Safety Law apply to Self-Build? 

Click here for - How does Health & Safety Law apply to Self-Build?


17. When does a Site Insurance policy expire?

A Site Insurance policy will cease upon its expiry date as detailed in your policy documents, or when the property has been delivered up to the owner, tenant or occupier or for which a Certificate of Completion has been issued and the property has been taken into full use, whichever shall first occur. You will need to make alternative insurance arrangements (depending on what your intentions are with the property) for once your project is complete, i.e. buildings & contents cover if you are living in it, landlord insurance if you are renting it etc.


Please note, this is project based insurance and renewal will not be invited.


18.What is a Party Wall Agreement and what is JCT 6.5.1 (formerly 21.2.1) cover? 

Click here for PDF


19. Do I have to use the Local Authority for Building Control?

Many self-builders are unaware that you do not need to use your Local Authority Building Control (LABC) to obtain building regulations approval and carry out building control inspections. This can instead be arranged through a national network of Approved Inspectors, who are qualified, experienced surveyors and used to working with self-build projects.


Using an Approved Inspector could have many advantages. Your designated surveyor will usually look after you from start to finish and carry out the building control service as well as the technical audit for the Structural Warranty, which can be very cost-effective.


If, however, you are already using the LABC you will need to request a Self-Build Zone Structural Warranty “without building control”. We can then arrange for a programme of technical audits to be made during the project alongside the LABC inspector.


If you select the Build-Zone Structural Warranty with Building Control, we take over the Building Control function on behalf of the Local Authority. The advantages of this are:

  • From initial notification, we can normally have a surveyor to site within 5 working days;

  • After initial notification, your nominated surveyor can be on site within 2 working days;

  • You have a nominated surveyor looking after your project from start to finish and will be able to communicate freely;

  • A formal plan check is carried out along with calculations;

  • The surveyors are highly qualified and experienced individuals used to working with self-build projects;

  • By combining building control with the technical audit inspections, you save money.


20. Which Lenders accept the Build-Zone Structural Warranty? 

The Build-Zone Warranty is accepted by most of the lenders in the UK and a list can be found below. This list is constantly being updated.


21.Do Build-Zone do a Plan Check as part of the Structural Warranty?

One of the first elements to be completed is the Plan Check. The Plan Check will be completed if the Approved Inspector has been instructed to carry out the building control function. A Plan Check is also required if Technical Audits for Structural Warranty purposes are being undertaken.


The Plan Check will involve comparing the drawings and specification of your scheme against the requirements of the Building Regulations and other aspects of the warranty provision.


Please note that it will be your inspector that will perform the Plan Check, not Self-Build Zone. This fee is all included as part of the premium you have been quoted.


22. Once I have paid for a Structural Warranty, how long does it take before my surveyor comes to inspect? 

From initial notification we can normally have a surveyor on site within 5 working days and in respect of ongoing inspections, we normally only require 48 hours’ notice.


23. Who are Build-Zone Services Ltd (BZSS)?

Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd, is also part of Sennocke group and manages the Site Inspection process of your build, which is needed in order to issue the Build-Zone 10 year Structural Warranty.


BZSS are responsible for handling Stage Completion Certificates for your Lender. In the event that during your project any works requiring attention are identified, these will be advised at the time of the inspection. BZSS will issue a Remediation Notice shortly thereafter detailing the issue to be resolved.


24. Do I still need Site Insurance if I’m using a Main Contractor? 

If you are contracting with one builder to carry out all the works from start to finish then the contract should state that they are responsible for adequately insuring the whole project from the moment they start excavation right up to project completion. Bear in mind that if a serious loss did occur, your builder might not be in any financially better state than you are to deal with it. Your builder isn’t an insurance expert, so although they may say they are ‘fully insured’, the chances are that they probably only have Public Liability which covers them in the event they cause damage or injury to a third party following a negligent act. What Public Liability doesn’t cover is issues like storm damage, theft of materials and plant, arson, or foreseen liability – essentially all the things you do need covered!


Ideally your builder should have a Contractors All Risks insurance policy. Check that it’s in force and if the renewal date falls during the project make sure it’s renewed on time and you get a copy. It’s important to check the limit on the policy is sufficient to cover the full reinstatement cost of the contract too! If you have any doubts, then organise some Site Insurance yourself.


25. What if I’m managing the Tradesmen myself?

If you are managing the build as well as contracting different trades, you still need to establish formal contracts with every Professional, Trade and Main Supplier. The contract will state that the trades must carry insurance and in this instance it will only be Public Liability because you still want to be able to pursue them if they have been negligent. Effectively you are acting as the main contractor, taking on a management element, organising materials, hiring plant and assuming responsibility. Site Insurance in this case is absolutely essential and covers the works, temporary works, materials, Public Liability, Employers' Liability, plant, tools and equipment as well as a caravan being used as temporary accommodation.


26. Do you have further information on Contracts & Legal Expenses?


Click here for Contracts & Legal Expenses PDF


This collection of unlimited easy-to-use contract templates in plain English/MS Word is designed to cover all the agreements you would need to have in place for a self-build project. Developed in conjunction with Self-Build Zone, this is a set of editable documents to keep you, your designers and contractors on track and focused on their responsibilities.


27. Why do I need Contracts?

Construction projects can be complex affairs, with a variety of different trades working on the site, and a variety of risks – which can range from unforeseen ground conditions to bad weather and unavailability of materials or equipment.

Contracts are needed in the situation – not because they solve all the problems, but because they provide a framework for dealings between the participants and they help to identify how risks are allocated and what to do if things go wrong.

Contracts are important:

  • To record the commercial terms agreed by the parties;

  • To provide certainty

  • To provide a framework for dealing with issues that might arise during the life of the contracts (changes, unforeseen problems etc.);

  • To provide a method of resolving disputes.


You need a contract to deal with a whole range of issues: scope of work, price and payment terms, variations, insurance, contract duration and completion date, post-completion liability, termination and dispute resolution.


28. When should I take out Site Insurance? 

You become responsible for insuring your plot of land as soon as the exchange of contracts has taken place. Site Insurance should be taken out at this point in time to at least cover your liabilities until the construction works begin, at which point the main body of the policy will automatically come into force.


If works are not going to start within 90 days, it would be advisable to take out Land Owners’ Liability cover to cover your Public Liability exposure until works are due to start, at which point Site Insurance should be arranged.


If you have an existing structure, Site Insurance can be put in place for when contracts have been exchanged. If works are not going to start within 90 days you would need to arrange Unoccupied Buildings Insurance until the works are due to start, at which time Site Insurance needs to be arranged.


29. Can you provide a 10 year Structural Warranty on a project that is already complete, or that has already started? 

Quite simply… yes! We can provide 10 year Structural Warranties on projects that have already started and we can even cover properties that have already been completed some years ago.


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