Builders Insurance is designed to cover self-employed builders, small building firms and building tradespeople against all potential liabilities they and their staff might face in the daily course of building works.
A typical package will always contain public liability insurance to guard against all claims for loss or injury made against the builder by clients and members of the public.
Additional optional covers include Employers liability, which is a legal requirement if the builder employs full- time staff and bona-fide sub-contractors, tools insurance which covers all the builders tools on or off site and Goods in transit cover which covers damage to goods and materials in transit to and from a building site.
Most policies will include Products liability as standard cover. This covers the builder against any defective materials he may have supplied.
All builders will require public liability insurance because of the numerous amount of accidents and losses that can occur at a builders workplace.
At ground level all sorts of risks present themselves for which the builder could be held liable.
Electric cables, tools, power tools, toolboxes, building materials such as limestone cement, paint and other chemicals, moving machinery, pollution risks and damage to neighbouring property, are all real risks of building activity, from which all too frequently accidents occur injuring other workers on site, clients or members of the public.
All builders insurance polices ask about the types of building work you do and especially about whether you work at height.
Scaffolding, timber, bricks, walls, roof tiles or even paint pots falling from height can seriously injure or even kill members of the public or other site workers.
A typical builders insurance policy or liability package classes the type of risk into different height defined types each with their own policy clauses and restrictions. A further division is made by the type of property that the builder usually works on, either private houses or commercial buildings.
Builders who work on single storey extensions and do groundwork and interior alterations to private houses and buildings, are considered the lowest form of risk by the underwriters. The cheapest policy available on the market would be for a sole-trader builder or handyman who does this type of work and only requires Public liability of one million to cover on-site risks to clients and the public. micropile
A second class of builders insurance is for small building firms or sole traders with or without sub-contractors, who work on private houses and new builds. The height restrictions for this type of cover are usually set at two storeys or ten metres to allow for taller townhouses. This is the most popular form of small builder insurance and covers the majority of firms and sub-contractors working on new housing estates and private self builds.
The commercial builder class covers small to medium-sized building firms who work predominantly on commercial property such as offices, shops, pubs, hotels, government buildings and projects and also large blocks of flats and private condominiums.
Public liability insurance for these companies is usually set at ten million for any one event, as required by the contract conditions for this type of work. An expensive extension to this cover but often necessary one, is that of working in hazardous environments, such as in industrial plant or at extreme heights.
If a builder uses heat in the course of his work, for example using a blow torch on metal pipe work, this presents a much greater risk to the building from fire and quotes and premiums offered will consequently be much higher. Insurers may well also demand higher levels of liability limits to cover heat work.
Aside from any statutory regulations and contract commitments, if a builder employs any labourers, ground workers, bricklayers, carpenters, roofers, glaziers, plumbers or painters and decorators, even on a temporary or part-time basis, they would be foolish not to have employers liability insurance cover.
Unfortunately accidents to workers are all to common on building sites, second only to farms in terms of risk. Workers can be seriously maimed or injured and will undoubtably turn to their employer as responsible.