Building Insurance and the effect of non-compliance with building regulations

There is always much debate surrounding building structures built prior to statutory or regulatory requirements being imposed now versus those imposed on a building that was constructed before these laws were promulgated.

The reality is that these standards in their current form, apply to new buildings within a certain timeframe and to many alterations to existing buildings, for the purpose of securing reasonable standards of health and safety.

It is important to remember that insurance cover is subject to compliance with all laws whether regulatory, or otherwise, and in cases where buildings fall beyond the scope of these regulations, does not mean that the ongoing requirement relating to duty of care, fire prevention and occupational health and safety laws are negated simply because the structure may not fall within the ambit of the current legislative framework.

The duties together with maintaining insured property remain key to ensuring that cover is not rejected on the basis of non-compliance.

We try to assist by means of risk surveys and value at risk surveys. However, these are not intended to be structural engineer reports or building workmanship reports. These are also not intended to be used to determine the condition and structural integrity of any roofing support structure or storm water drainage efficacy.

It is therefore imperative that the advice of an accredited structural engineer is consulted where buildings fall outside the parameters of those allowed in terms of the National Building Regulations or similar legislation to ensure that you have peace of mind and uninterrupted insurance.

What about Retaining Walls?

Retaining walls are not automatically insured when a building is placed on cover. This cover must be approved by us in writing and the policy must be endorsed accordingly.

However, what is important here is that retaining walls must also be designed and built-in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations applicable to the construction and maintenance thereof and we require evidence of such compliance when cover is being requested.