Paul Kempton, Managing Director of the Sennocke Group, owner of Build-Zone, gives us his insight into the hurdles faced by the custom build sector. And not least of these is the importance of using ‘A’-rated insurers due to the support and confidence they provide for those creating their dream home.
“Despite the fact that the industry has been trying to define ‘custom build’ for over a year, many are still struggling to identify the exact meaning of it. And this might be because consumers don’t have any knowledge of its existence.
“Simply put, custom build can be identified as a building opportunity where individuals don’t have to worry about buying land, applying for planning permission and employing an architect from stage one. And this is due to the fact that on a custom build the homes are facilitated in some way by a developer.
“But in comparison to a spec-built property, the difference is that it offers the chance to have a unique home that suits the consumer’s needs, lifestyle and design preferences, through a more hands-off approach.
“This concept should be easy to sell; however, the custom build sector’s primary hurdle seems to be communication.
“Most people searching online use general research terms to find local housing, but this is not leading them to custom build opportunities.
“Instead, it simply reinforces the confusion that the Government started but then stepped away from. However, there will no doubt be new impetus with the appointment of Mario Wolf to the Right To Build Task Force.”
“The toughest challenge remains how to communicate to a buyer that they can have the home that only exists in their imagination.
“The problem is that once you start showing pictures of interiors and exteriors, you begin to look like a house builder. But when you start saying ‘you can design your own home’ individuals start seeing the complication and risks.
“In a recent article, Executive Chairman of Igloo Regeneration Chris Brown reflected on changing behaviour to meet the demands of the custom build customer.
“Leading custom build facilitators and Home Manufacturers have figured out that making it easy for customers means offering the plot and the home as a package.
“This is a concept which Build-Zone supports, and it now offers a service where we treat the custom build process in the same way as you would treat a self-build; we provide clients with continuous support throughout the duration of the project, from Conception to Completion (C2C).
“Being part of a highly-professional and expert organisation used to dealing with major construction projects means that Build-Zone can provide support from the developer stage.
“Effectively, this is where the enabling developer takes the multi-tenure development from stage one, putting in the infrastructure and then giving the consumer a choice of contractors and designers to take over the project.
“Build-Zone can also provide mainstream developers a full turnkey operation from land purchase, to completion.
“Having a ‘Contractors All Risks’ department and years of experience in the self-build market means we are a natural choice for custom build.
“We have a pro-active approach to risk management, and will inspect all stages of the build process.”
“Build-Zone and Self-Build Zone are part of the Sennocke Group. Together with Build Zone Survey Services (BZSS), our specialist technical services and risk management company, we’ve been handling warranties for over 20 years. And this is across all types of developments, from single unit self-builds to large residential or commercial developments.
“Because we’re a group of specialist insurance professionals, rather than a wholesale sales/call centre-style broker, we can provide clients with a choice of insurers without the burden of large fees.
“Our staff are trained in specific subject areas, and consequently we can provide clients with their very own underwriter or decision maker.
“With many years of experience of Lloyd’s and international insurance markets, we fully understand the importance of having A-rated Insurers behind your 10-year policy.
“The last thing you want is for your insurer to go bust, as has happened all too frequently in the last few years. Therefore, we give you a choice of A-rated insurers.”
“Bear in mind that any ‘structural warranty insurer’ which also insures ‘motor’ as a class of business, also has open-ended liability in addition to the effect of the recent change in the Ogden Rate.
“This could have an enormous effect on their financials, leading them to stop trading, as recently happened when one such company shut its doors. It is best to make sure that you have the best possible insurer behind your policy, given your policy is for a 10- or 12-year period.
“Quite often this gets washed through by saying that, even if you are using an EU/Gibraltan Insurer, you have protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if they go bust.
“Remember that this is limited, and as a personal policyholder this will in most cases only cover you for 90% of your loss.
“Therefore, reputable and knowledgeable Insurance Brokers will only recommend A-rated Insurers to you, the ones that only want to grab your money probably won’t.
“Offering security and peace of mind, Build-Zone Warranties are underwritten by A-rated global insurers,. What’s more, each case is subject to full technical review by Build-Zone Survey Services Ltd with the aim of minimising any defects right from the design stage.
“And finally, Build-Zone also operates its own Chartered Trading Standards Institute fully-approved Consumer Code, which is mandatory for all builders with developments registered for the Build-Zone New Home Warranty.”
Contact Build-Zone to enquire about structural warranties or for other insurance advice on your next custom build development, or contact our Sales team on 0345 230 9873.