Choose your building contractors carefully

Making use of reputable building contractors when conducting home improvements or renovations is crucial in order to avoid extra insurance costs due to incomplete or faulty workmanship.

This is the advice of Lizette Erasmus, head of portfolio management at IntegriSure who says that there is a big responsibility on the home owner to ensure that the contractor they employ is a reputable professional who has their own necessary and correct liability insurance in place. ”It is critical that home owners ensure they are aware of the extent of their insurance cover before signing a contact with a builder, as they may not be covered in the event of poor or incomplete work done on their homes.”

“This becomes even more important with the rainy season upon us, as leaks in a roof or ceiling as a result of poor workmanship soon become apparent.  Even worse, homeowners may discover mould damage as a consequence of rainwater leaking in the roof, then collecting behind interior walls, causing damage to walls, ceilings, and subfloors,” explains Erasmus.

“A consequence of faulty or incomplete workmanship means that home owners may not be covered by their own insurance for the damage done to their home and as a result would have to claim from their contractors liability insurance,” she says.

“Choosing building contractors should not be undertaken lightly. It’s important to realise that many personal lines covers will have a general exclusion for incomplete, defective, or non-compliant work performed by a contractor. This would result in the client being responsible or having to claim costs from the contractor on their own account,” she says.

In order to ensure that a reputable building contractor is selected, Erasmus advises home owners to carefully screen all potential contractors before making a selection.

“When choosing a contractor, check that they are registered with a professional body like the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC). Doing this will give you some recourse should the work that they have done or are doing is worrying. Also ask the contractor if they have the correct liability insurance in place and that this falls in line with the Consumer Protection Act,” she says.

“Caution on choosing a contractor can also be extended to obtaining references from previous clients; ensuring the contract or written agreement contains information such as financial obligations of the consumer; contain specifications pertaining to materials to be used during the construction and must contain clear building plans as approved by the local authorities,” adds Erasmus.

Choosing a contractor from a reputable organisation can further aid the consumer in getting assistance from the organisation should a problem with the contractor or builder arise. The organisation will assist the consumer by investigating the matter and ensuring that relevant steps are taking to sort out any problems.

“Taking these precautions could avoid the consumer being negatively impacted as a result of questionable workmanship or damaged property.” concludes Erasmus.

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