Construction methods and their implications

02 Mar 2016

As the demand for housing increases, the construction industry is steering away from the more traditional construction methods used in the past, and are now moving towards using more modern methods of construction.

It is important, as landlords, that we understand what this means and the impact this can have on the property industry.  This article discusses the benefits of using modern methods of construction, whilst highlighting the importance of using modern methods of construction in relation to your landlord insurance.

Modern methods of construction

Modern methods of construction are defined as a  construction process that makes use of traditional and new building materials by using either an offsite manufacturing process or an onsite method of combining ‘systems’ (building techniques) and ‘components’ (parts of a building).

Types of offsite construction are:

  • ‘Panellised’ – A method that includes the manufacturing and assembling of panels to form external and internal wall and floor assemblies, which can be erected on site. The benefit of this type of construction is that the panels can be fully assembled and have services, such as plumbing and electrics, pre-installed.
  • ‘Volumetric’ – A method that involves entire rooms or buildings being put together offsite, which are then transported to location and put into place (Pods).  The advantage of this method is that the building can be occupied immediately because the rooms can be fully completed (services in, decoration finished) before installation.

Types of onsite construction are:

  • Timber framed buildings
  • Insulated Concrete Formwork
  • Oak Framed Buildings

There are many benefits of using modern methods of construction, including:

  • Reduced onsite waste
  • Efficient construction times
  • Eco-friendly
  • Services can be pre-installed and arranged prior to the building being completed

It is also worth noting that whilst using these new methods of construction has numerous benefits, the full risks need to be assessed to ensure that any hidden risks are fully understood, as some materials can pose a much greater fire risk than more traditional methods and materials.  A good risk assessment prior to or in the early stages of the project can identify any risks and appropriate measures can be looked into, this in turn will make your property a more attractive risk when it comes to landlords insurance.

Insurance Implications

As a landlord it is your responsibility to disclose all material facts to your insurance provider in order for them to obtain insurance for you.  This applies to the construction of the property and it is worth making sure that you are fully aware of what your property is constructed of. For example, is the property constructed of more traditional materials such as brick walls with a slate roof, or is the building an oak timber framed building? 

Insurers will use the construction method alongside the materials used in the construction of a landlord’s property to help them to determine the level cover and price for the policy. It is important to remember that, as a landlord, failure to disclose the aforementioned information regarding construction could potentially affect your claim, including invalidating your cover should you need to make a claim.

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Stacie Dowdle

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