Business Connect Magazine recently caught up with Northwest-based multi award-winning ABC+ Warranty. The firm has been supporting the property and construction sector since 1989, with Managing Director Adele Reid leading from the front. The company offers many ancillary services to the sector but specialises in structural warranties and Professional Consultant’s Certificates (PCCs).
Adele – please guide us along your business journey?
“ABC+ Warranty is a national structural warranty provider, with our head office based in Altrincham, Cheshire. We’ve been surveying properties for over 30 years, with a name change to ABC+ Warranty in 2011. Since we rebranded, our business has grown rapidly. Our specialist team consists of experienced warranty specialists, underwriters, chartered building surveyors and claims handlers, our primary focus is to inspect, monitor and certify property ensuring that it has been built to a satisfactory standard of construction.
“Delivering customer excellence is at the heart of everything we do. I’m a big believer of sustainable growth and having the right staff in place at the right time. Currently, we’ve invested in 5 apprentices (2 chartered surveyors and 3 experienced insurance specialists). Each year, ABC+ Warranty provides thousands of satisfied clients with our multi award-winning services and products by monitoring and certifying the construction works to tens of thousands of residential and commercial properties. 50% of our business are repeat customers and referrals from other construction professionals such as solicitors, estate agents, architects and building control – a testament of our reputation and service levels. We offer a superior cost-effective service, with 5 star google reviews speaking for themselves.”
Which areas do you cover?
“Our regional surveyors cover the whole of the UK, and we are the only RICs (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) registered structural warranty company in the country to offer both a 10-year and a 12-year structural warranty, plus a 6-year Professional Consultant’s Certificate (PCC). This sets our inspection standards apart from other warranty providers.”
Tell us about your services?
“We provide a full range of services to assist the builder, developer, and self-builder by offering both a 10- or 12-year structural warranty (also known as latent defects insurance) and a Professional Consultant’s Certificate (PCC). Both types of certificates are mortgage lender accepted, and an essential requirement of all mortgage lenders in the UK, following the completion of works to UK property and buildings. ABC+ Warranty provides a way to claim against major structural defects caused by shoddy workmanship or defective materials which would otherwise be a very costly expense to the end user or homeowner. Our certificates are also suitable for those purchasing their homes under the government’s Help to Buy scheme and are acceptable for Housing Associations.”
How does a structural warranty work?
“A structural warranty (sometimes known as latent defects insurance) is an insurance policy that covers against structural defects in a new build, conversion, or renovated building. In the unfortunate event that damage should occur, you’ll receive financial compensation to help cover the costs of structural damage repairs. The policy is valid for 10 or 12 years and starts from the date on the Building Control completion certificate.”
You also offer a Professional Consultant’s Certificate (PCC) – please can you explain in more detail?
“A 6-year PCC, also known as an Architects Certificate, is a certificate which confirms that the completed construction work adheres to acceptable building standards. It is valid for 6 years from the date of certification and is issued after satisfactory completion of works following a final inspection by a qualified surveyor. Please remember that a PCC is not a warranty – for more comprehensive cover, you should choose a 10-year structural warranty. There is the option to upgrade from a PCC to a Structural Warranty if later required.”
What is a retrospective warranty?
“This is a structural warranty that can be issued when the property has reached a completed stage of construction. It’s a more expensive option than appointing a warranty provider from the beginning of the building work as we won’t have monitored the development from the start of the project, and therefore there is a higher degree of risk to the insurance company who underwrites the warranty. Most mortgage lenders prefer that the warranty provider has monitored the building works from commencement, rather than at the end.”
Can you explain who needs a structural warranty?
“If you’re a self-builder, a developer or a Housing Association and you are about to commence a new housing project or maybe you’re thinking of converting an old barn or even transforming an older property into several flats, you should be considering a structural warranty provider. You may have even completed properties without valid certification; however, you can still appoint a Building Surveyor after building works have been completed. It is a lender requirement to have either a structural warranty or a Professional Consultant’s Certificate (PCC) in place. If you decide to sell or remortgage the property further down the line, you will be unable to do so without any of these certificates in place.”
At what stage of the build would you appoint a structural warranty provider?
“Appointing a structural warranty provider at the outset is more cost effective than appointing one midway through the build or once works have been completed. There is less chance of defective work being carried out as our surveyors are on site at key stages of the build. It’s important to remember that some mortgage lenders will not accept a structural warranty if the warranty provider has been appointed mid-way through building works.”
Why Choose ABC+ Warranty?
“We’re a multi award-winning structural warranty company, providing the most cost-effective warranties in the UK. All types of properties are covered, whether residential or commercial. We’re different from other providers as we have no holding bonds or renewal fees, which gives us a clear advantage over other warranty suppliers like the NHBC, Premier, LABC, Protek, Checkmate, BLP or Advantage Warranty. If you’re on a budget or cashflow is particularly tight, we offer flexible payment plans to help you manage your project efficiently, and we can also issue our certifications within hours, not weeks.”
Congratulations on winning ‘Best Structural Warranty’ provider at the Grafter’s Awards at the end of June, tell us a bit about the awards evening?
“Thank you. It was a great night, with more than 400 construction specialists under one roof. The black tie event was held at the Mercure Piccadilly Hotel on Portland Street in Manchester and was hosted by the lovely Jenny Powell. We were crowned the winners, and managed to beat the likes of, The NHBC, Premier and the LABC. The event also provided a great networking opportunity for the Northwest Construction and Property industry, with over 400 professionals in attendance.”
What does winning the award mean for you as a business?
“It increases our credibility and boosts our profile. It also increases employee morale as it assures our staff that their efforts are being recognised, not just by me, but by the wider industry and our customers, of which I am a big advocate. We have a great work culture and an exceptionally high staff retention rate. Most of our technical team have been with us for more than 8 years with some reaching their 10-year anniversary. Potential employees can see that we are a great company to work for. Even though we are a well-established business, with over 30 years of experience, winning another award is a great addition to our achievements. It increases our exposure and is proof that even after all these years, we’re still working hard, with our clients at the heart of everything we do.”
How important are your ESG goals as a business?
“Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance are the latest buzzwords for ethical business practices that we and like-minded companies have been applying for many years. It’s simply not enough to apply internal changes to your company’s environmental sustainability and guidance towards a more ethical business culture. We have been strongly pro-active in delivering and sharing best practice in our industry. For example, we were one of the first offices in the UK to be COVID secure when the pandemic arrived. We created a set of guidelines that ensured our client services were safe, and the guidelines were then introduced by the UK government for safe office working at a national level.
“We are also passionate about diversity and equality, particularly in a challenging sector like property and construction. I’ve been public speaking on this subject for years at construction events around the UK such as the Grand Designs Live shows, the Home Building & Renovating shows and at UK Construction Week. We’ve also provided insight and advice to the New Homes Ombudsman service. It’s crucial to share our specialist knowledge across our industry, and I’d like to think the sector has made great positive changes over the last 10 years.”
What has ABC+ got planned for the future?
“To build on the fantastic growth we’ve enjoyed, even through challenging times like the Covid pandemic. We are constantly evolving our procedures via automation which includes using artificial intelligence. We’ve invested in a new website with some fantastic new features, and the site will be live from next month. In addition, we’ll soon be able to facilitate developer finance for specialist lending to developers of medium to larger building projects. This will enhance our comprehensive suite of services.”
Whatsapp number: 07729 647493
Professional Consultants Certificate Ltd, Registration Number 07763351. Trading address: 1 Anchorage Court, Caspian Road, Altrincham. WA14 5HH. Professional Consultants Certificate Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Ten Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.