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Does loft flooring affect my new home warranty? Part 1 – Your Warranty

So you’re getting the keys to your brand new home and starting to think about the task of moving all your things. You don’t have as much storage space as you used to so where will everything go? Perhaps all your grand plans for the garage gym/study/man-cave/Swedish sauna will need to go on hold while you move things there ‘temporarily for sorting later’. (We’ve all been there.) Your warranty might be the last thing on your mind.

Walker Homes New Home
Walker Homes New Build

“What about flooring the loft?” you innocently ask the salesman, gazing at the 900sqft of beautiful, open space. He rolls his eyes and tells you that using your loft for anything at all apart from fresh air will absolutely, definitely, completely invalidate your 10 year warranty. Don’t even go up there, don’t even look at it, I’m not sure why we even gave you an access hatch… 

Home salesman giving tour of house
Floor the loft? Don’t be silly!

This, I’m afraid, is nonsense. You can board your loft for storage – and building regulations actually requires boarding to be laid in a loft which has maintainable equipment needing to be accessed.

Let’s dig into it a little deeper by looking in detail at each of the following key items:

  • Your Buildmark (NHBC) Warranty (this article)
  • NHBC Standards (Part 2)
  • Building regulations (Part 3)
  • The BBA and LoftZone (Part 4)

Your Buildmark new home Warranty

The NHBC (National House-Building Council) is by far the leading provider of home building warranty and insurance cover in the UK. In fact, they provide cover for over 80% of new homes in the UK with their ‘Buildmark’ brand of cover, so this is what we will be looking at. About NHBC.

NHBC and Loft Flooring

Buildmark is a legal agreement between you, the NHBC and your builder. It provides protection for your deposit from exchange of contracts through to completion of the build, then provides a warranty on the building work for the 10 years after completion. For the first two of those years it is the builder’s responsibility to fix any problems which are covered by your warranty. This is often called ‘snagging’ and is common with any building project. After the two years and up to 10 years, Buildmark provides you with insurance to cover damage to your home due to failure by the builder to build your home to NHBC requirements.

What does Buildmark Cover
What does Buildmark Cover

Why is this important? Because apart from detailing what they will cover you for, the policy also details what exclusions they will not cover you for – ‘General Conditions and Exclusions,’ includes an example:

13. Damp, condensation, shrinkage, thermal movement (expansion and contraction as a result of temperature changes) and movement between different types of materials that is not a result of the builder failing to meet the NHBC requirements.

Read more about your policy here: NHBC Buildmark Policy Document from April 2017

The next article considers the specific NHBC requirements and how they relate to loft flooring. Read more here: Does loft flooring affect my new home warranty? Part 2 – NHBC Loft Requirements

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