Whether your plans are to renovate a beautiful property into your dream home, or if you see renovating as a long-term, lucrative investment, to disregard taking adequate insurance cover can prove to be a costly oversight. Preferably, this should always be in place before the renovation work begins.
However, it isn’t just your own building that you have to think of. Depending on the property being renovated, you need to make sure all your bases are covered, and this includes structural warranty and insurance to cover any accidental damage that might occur to any neighbouring properties.
Whether you’re carrying out what might be considered a straightforward alteration to a semi-detached property or transforming a Georgian townhouse in Chelsea into a luxurious set of flats, it is your responsibility as a renovator to protect your property and its neighbours with a suitable party wall insurance policy.
Why is party wall cover so important?
Party wall insurance is a type of cover specific to renovation projects which have a boundary wall that is used by a neighbour as well as a renovator, so there is more than just one party involved; this makes you liable for any potential damage that may occur.
Major projects are not just covered by renovation insurance. For instance, if you were to demolish all but the front façade of your property, with neighbouring walls being held apart by steelwork alone, the consequences of a serious failure would be catastrophic and not covered by a liability policy. Even a small incident can set you back thousands of pounds.
So if you’re about to embark on or are in the process of renovating, you should check if obligations under the Party Wall Insurance Act (1996) apply to you and whether or not you have ticked all the boxes. Working with renovation insurance experts will help ensure you don’t miss anything out, so you can concentrate on making your transformation plans a reality rather than worrying about the finer details of tedious paperwork. The right specialists can take care of this cover to dovetail with your existing liability insurance.
What are the requirements?
As the owner of a building undergoing renovation, you are required to give notice to your neighbours one or two months in advance to outline your planned works. Your neighbour may want to know specific or technical details regarding the work which will affect their property, including architect’s drawings which will help your neighbour to understand exactly what they are approving.
You would also have to appoint a party wall surveyor to make an inventory of the condition of neighbouring properties prior to you starting work. The main reason for this is to make sure you are not held liable for any defects that are already present in your neighbour’s property.
The unpredictable nature of renovation work means you need a safety blanket and are required to take out party wall insurance in the name of you and your contractor to cover any damage that may occur to the neighbouring property as a result of the renovation work. Not bothering with party wall insurance is a big risk that could prevent you from carrying on with your plans when disputes occur or a financial spanner gets thrown in the works. Ultimately, this is a risk not worth taking!
(Photo by percypants)