18. Do I need special insurance?
It is important for your protection that property insurance against all eventualities is maintained throughout the project. If the building is a new build this is straight forward – the contractor will insure the works until he hands it over to you on completion. If the project is an extension or an alteration to an existing building it becomes a little more complicated – both the existing building and the new works need to be covered against all eventualities (‘joint risks’) and regardless of who caused the damage (in ‘joint names’). This avoids the possibility of two insurance companies arguing whether it was the owner or the builder who started the fire (for example). With general building contracts, in order to meet this requirement the owner of an existing building would take out a ‘joint names, all-risks’ policy for both the existing building and the new works; however often domestic householder insurance policies will not allow joint names to be added to the policy. The contract recognises this issue and allows for suitable cover to be arranged for the duration of the project by the contractor instead, although this additional cost will be passed on to the client. In all cases it is essential for all parties that evidence of adequate cover is in place before commencement.