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Why use a Specialist Building Guarantees (SBG) member?

SBG is completely independent of any manufacturer and assesses potential members for technical competence, correct procedures, financial probity, and most importantly from a customer’s point of view, all members must be adequately trained in all aspects of Health and Safety.

All SBG members can offer you the security of insurance to back-up their guarantees for timber, damp, wall ties, etc and members of the Specialist Structural Waterproofing Group and Specialist Piling and Crack Stitching Group etc can also offer insurance in their specialist fields supporting their guarantees. This means if the contractor is unable to fulfill his guarantee commitments, subject to the policy document the Insurance Company will stand in his place.

When comparing SBG members with other contractors you must ask yourself who vets those contractors, who determines their technical skills, are they Health and Safety trained and are they good enough to be an acceptable risk to an insurance company?

I notice that the Insurer is based in Gibraltar. Is this a problem?

No. In the UK, the insurance company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) just like any other. You have the right to complain to the Ombudsman as with any other Insurance Company and the Company subscribes to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This means that if the company ever ceases to trade, you are covered up to 90% of any justified claim with no upper limit. In the event of a claim in the UK, this will be dealt with by the Administrator in Buckinghamshire or the Company itself through its London Office.

If I am unhappy with the work or want to claim, who is responsible?

Whilst the contractor remains in business he is responsible for correcting his faults and for dealing with any claims.

What happens if a contractor has stopped trading and I have a claim?

If you are covered by our insurance policy SBG will, on behalf of the Insurer, arrange for an independent inspection and assessment of your claim (a deposit will be required). If the claim is justified, then the Insurer will meet the remedial costs and return your deposit in full (except for any agreed excess).

It is essential that all original documents required are available to ensure that a claim can be investigated and these are clearly listed in the policy document. Please note that photocopied documents are not acceptable.

Other guarantee companies and manufacturers offer 30 year guarantees – your insurance is only for 20 years (where applicable)?

Any guarantee or insurance is only as good as the security behind it.

‘Guarantee’ companies and manufacturers are not regulated and there is no compensation scheme, therefore there is no protection for the customer. Many manufacturers and guarantee companies have gone out of business, leaving customers unprotected.

What happens if the insurance company fails?

All insurance companies in the UK are subject to a very strict financial regime. In the unlikely event that an insurance company has insufficient funds, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme -into which all UK insurance companies must contribute – comes into effect, whereby you will receive 90% of any valid claim.

What happens to the insurance if I sell my property?

The insurance relates to the property no matter who the owner is and therefore neither SBG nor the Insurer need to be informed of any sale and there is no assignment fee necessary. You must make sure that you give the new owner all the original documents, should they need to make a claim.

Please remember that the contractor is responsible for claims whilst he is still trading and his guarantee may require assigning – please check. Failure to assign a contractor’s guarantee does not affect the insurance policy in the event of the contractor ceasing to trade.

What happens if SBG goes out of business?

Your contract is with the Insurance Company not with SBG, so it does not affect you if SBG goes out of business.