A short guide to Professional Consultant Certificates

When a new build property is constructed, lenders will require a new homes warranty, such as the National House Building Council (NHBC) to be put in place on completion of the property. If a warranty is not available then a Professional Consultant Certificate can be acceptable to lenders instead.

What does this certificate mean?

A Professional Consultant Certificate confirms the following:-

  1. A professional consultant has checked the progress of the building work – this includes making sure the property conforms to the approved plans and drawings
  2. A professional consultant will be liable for 6 years
  3. A professional consultant must have significant experience in the type of property being constructed or converted
  4. A professional consultant must have indemnity insurance to cover their liabilities

Who is a professional consultant?

Usually, the professional consultant will be an architect, however, they can also be engineers or surveyors who have professional memberships.

Why would a warranty be preferable?

Warranties often give a greater level of protection as they have longer durations and wider scope of cover. Consultants Certificates do not have warranty-specific insurance and instead, a claim against a consultant would be for negligence and would rely on their professional indemnity insurance. An issue with their insurance is that if they become insolvent the indemnity insurance may lapse

The phrasing of the certificates is also quite vague and uses words such as ‘satisfactory’ and ‘generally’.

Why would a warranty not be available?

A developer may not meet the registration requirements of warranty schemes such as they may not be a big enough firm to qualify. Also, a certificate may replace a warranty where the provider has ceased trading.