11 Jul 2019

Managing risk on a self-build project

At the project outset, careful consideration will undoubtedly be given to the project’s feasibility and it’s quite likely you have allowed an element of contingency in the budget for unexpected costs. In this article, Protek looks at some of the risks you face that may extend way beyond that contingency. The insurance specialist also looks at how you identify and go about managing risk on a self-build project using self-build insurance.


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Self-building involves more than just the project management aspect. You often have to take on the role of a risk manager as well. It’s a role that can seem like a daunting task at first, but it can make a massive difference to your self-build experience.

At Protek Self Build, we suggest you start by considering the impact that theft, vandalism or a fire could have on your project. What would happen if an accident occurs on your site, causing damage to property or perhaps a serious injury to a worker on site – would it be your responsibility? Your exposure to the risks you face can be mitigated through risk assessment, which helps you identify the issues, allowing you to take steps in managing risk exposure. Protek self-build insurance cover plays a big part in managing risk.

The types of risks you face may not be apparent from the outset. Thieves can be incredibly innovative and very destructive, so it’s not just the inconvenience of replacing the stolen items, it’s also the cost of repairing the damage and destruction caused to the property that’s been broken into.

Hired plant tools and equipment will remain hired to you even if they have been stolen, so replacing a telehandler might cost upwards of £18,000 – but you need to factor in that the continuing hire charges will be billed at around £125 per week, until it’s been replaced! Identifying where you are most at risk of a break in will help you identify how good your security measures are.

Temporarily boarding up openings in the structure helps and can provide a good deterrent against an arson attack but ultimately you need to stop unauthorised access to your site using security measures as appropriate.

Health and safety

If you are exercising control on site, you will invariably have duties under CDM. Many injuries occur due to a lack of forethought regarding who is at risk and when. Think about work areas, keep them free of hazards and consider what is going on above and below to ensure workers are not at risk from works going on elsewhere in the building. This is a common cause of serious accidents causing injury. Organising the works methodically and understanding who is at risk and when is crucial in managing your exposure to risk.

Accidental damage to a third party or their property can occur at any time and can range from a relatively minor incident to something far more serious. A single brick falling from a scaffold could easily cause several hundred pounds worth of damage to a car below – but imagine the consequences of a failed scaffold board and an entire stack of bricks falling on a worker below.

In addition to a likely investigation by HSE and the prospect of a prosecution to defend, the self-builder will invariably be responsible for damages. If the victim of the accident is injured seriously, those damages can run into millions as the self-builder will be expected to pay for the injured party’s care costs for the rest of their lives.

No individual can really put that level of contingency aside, which is why managing your self-build risk using insurance from Protek is so important as the product has been designed specifically to help protect you against the financial risk that a serious loss can bring and is a proven risk management tool.

Protek Self Build provides site insurance and structural warranty products to the self-build market as well as the residential development sector.

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