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Home improvements: make sure you’re covered

Thousands of Britons are now spending millions renovatingtheir existing properties with extensions and refurbishments adding space andvalue to their homes. However, with any renovation project comes a degree ofrisk. We have therefore prepared the following information to help you considerthe insurance implications when making extensive modifications to your home.

In the first instances you must tell your insurers beforeany work commences or they could decline any claims that may arise. Secondly,if it’s a particularly large project additional insurance cover may be neededfor the duration. This will ensure that if a problem does occur you haveappropriate cover in place to deal with it without incurring extra expense. Thefollowing lists provide further handy hints and tips to help protect your homeduring renovation works.

Fire

Appoint an experienced and professional contractor (eg GasSafe registered member for gas installation and an EIC/ NIC registered memberfor any electrical work).

•Insist that your contractors clear away debris andcombustible materials such as wood, sawdust, cardboard, containers and cloth atthe end of each day

•If hot works take place (eg welding or blow torches etc)you should ensure that contractors have a hot works permit which requires themto monitor the site for at least an hour after the work has finished and thatthey keep a fire extinguisher immediately adjacent to the work being carriedout in case of emergency

•Do not let anyone smoke whilst renovation works are beingcarried out.

Escape of water

•If your water has been turned off, ensure that it isre-connected and thoroughly tested before the contractors leave the site

•Ensure that contractors know where stop valves are located.

Theft

•Remove all valuable items from the site

•If your home is likely to be unoccupied during renovation,secure it

•Scaffolding around your property provides easy access forintruders, so it is a good idea to alarm scaffolding, or at least ensure allaccessible windows are fully secured and locked

•Secure all removable items around the site including newfixtures and fittings. Lead and other metal cladding are also attractive tothieves.

Liability

•Ensure your contractors have their own comprehensiveinsurance cover which should ideally provide insurance for the planned works,materials and legal liabilities

•Make sure the site is clear of debris to reduce the risk ofslips and trips and other injuries

•Where appropriate ensure that everyone on site wears hardhats and relevant protective clothing in accordance with health and safetylegislation

•Restrict access to your property by improving securitymeasures. You could still be held liable if a person injures themselves whilstunlawfully trespassing on your property.

Storm and weather

•Ensure all exposed areas are covered and are water tightand wind proof, especially during winter months.

Accidental damage

•Remove or secure all valuable or delicate items in yourhome to minimise the risk of accidental damage. For example drilling vibrationscould damage fine china or knock a vase from a shelf. During periods of workcheck dust and dirt levels don’t damage items of art.

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are forguidance only and are not intended as a substitute for appropriate professionaladvice. We have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that the informationcontained herein is accurate at the time of writing but it should not beregarded as a complete or authoritative statement of law.

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