*Understanding Contracts and Insurance for Building Works: A Guide by Tayross Chartered Building Surveyors*

Understanding Contracts and Insurance for Building Works: A Guide by Tayross Chartered Building Surveyors

Friday 26th January 2024

When it comes to carrying out substantial building works to your property, understanding the right form of contract and insurance is crucial. At Tayross Chartered Building Surveyors, we have extensive experience in this matter, and we are here to help you navigate through the complexities. In this blog, we will address common questions and provide valuable insights to ensure a smooth and protected building process.

Choosing the Right Contract:
The most commonly used form of contract for domestic properties with a project value of £100,000 or more in the London Pinner area is the JCT small works contract. It is important to note that employing this contract requires the presence of a contract administrator on the project. Typically, the contract administrator is either an architect or a surveyor who will charge a fee for their services, usually around 8% to 12% of the project value.

The role of the contract administrator is pivotal as they not only establish the contract but also administer it throughout the works. They handle tasks such as intermediate valuations of the works, payment to the main contractor for variations and omissions, and addressing technical queries that arise during the project. Additionally, they play a crucial role in evaluating and deciding upon any extension of time requests made by the builder, ensuring compliance with the small works JCT contract.

Understanding Insurance Coverage:
Before commencing any building works, it is essential to verify that the contractor has appropriate insurance coverage. This typically includes an all-risk insurance policy. This policy provides coverage for risks related to worker and public injury, as well as product insurance for the property being worked on and its adjacent properties.

However, it is important to note that your existing home insurance policy may not cover you for building works, especially if the property will be left vacant during the construction process. We strongly advise contacting your insurance company to clarify your coverage. It is always recommended to obtain written confirmation from your insurance provider.

Additional Insurance Options:
For further protection when undertaking substantial building works, there are additional insurance policies available. These policies are typically taken out by the client, in joint names with the builder, to cover the specific risks involved. It is important to note that these policies can only be acquired through a broker. Clients undertaking basement construction or substantial structural works often opt for these policies.

To obtain such policies, clients are required to complete a comprehensive application form. The form includes detailed questions about party wall agreements, the need for underpinning, any history of previous subsidence at the property, and other relevant information. By providing this information, the insurance provider can assess the risk accurately and offer appropriate coverage.

When embarking on substantial building works, understanding the right form of contract and insurance is vital to protect your interests. At Tayross Chartered Building Surveyors, we have the expertise to guide you through this process. We recommend consulting a contract administrator to ensure compliance with the JCT small works contract, and verifying your insurance coverage with your provider before commencing any works. By taking these steps, you can proceed with confidence, knowing that you are well-prepared and protected throughout the building process.


Here at Tayross Associates, Carl and Mike are both Chartered Surveyors with experience in Dilapidations, Planning Matters, Building Surveying, Building Consultancy, Contract Administration, Project Management, Boundary Disputes and Party Wall related matters. They are happy help with any questions you may have regarding the above.

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