In recent years, there has been resurgence in the use of timber frames in the construction of new buildings. This has obviously posed some interesting challenges for home insurance companies. Most traditional insurers will usually shy away from this type of risk but however there are some providers that excel in non standard home insurance policies including timber framed house insurance.
This has coincided with a number of high profile fires relating to timber frame buildings which has led to concerns surrounding the risks relating to such construction.
The resurgence in the use of timber frame construction has been driven by a combination of factors. Its green credentials mean the government is increasingly keen for it to be used in both private and municipal builds such as new affordable housing, university accommodation and hotels. Time efficiency is also a factor as timber frames are believed to be significantly faster to use on site and cheaper than conventional methods of construction.
The rapid increase in the use of timber frames has gone hand in hand with its use in a wider variety of builds, especially in multi-storey buildings. As a consequence, the cost of such fires can be considerable. Given the clear advantages in using timber frame, its popularity is likely to continue to rise and claims costs will continue to escalate unless measures are taken to control the associated risks.
The major risks lie in the construction phase and if fire gets hold at this point, damage is likely to be extensive. While the focus is largely around the major fire potential, there are also wider liabilities to consider. Burning embers can spread from the contract site to neighbouring properties and the potential liability exposure can vary significantly dependent upon the site location which in turn will have a strong influence on the level of exposure and underwriting approach required.
A number of high profile fires have brought the issue to the fore with the Health and Safety Executive estimating that there are approximately 11 construction fires a day. Concerns are also being expressed within government, by the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Fire Protection Association.
For any type of non standard home insurance cover, at Active Insurance we have the products and expert knowledge to satisfy the demands of most home owners.