It’s important that you have a home warranty insurance policy in place before starting construction on a new home.
There are two key phases for this during a new-home project: construction and commencement.
As a licensed residential builder in B.C., you have several key obligations and responsibilities to your home warranty insurance provider during and after construction of a new home.
As a licensed residential builder, once you have successfully registered and enrolled a new home and have a New Home Registration Form, you can start construction.
Warranty providers may require home warranty inspections for new homes. If that’s the case, as a licensed residential builder you’re responsible for arranging the inspections during the various stages of construction. These home warranty inspections are usually required at the foundation, framing, building envelope and final construction stages.
The warranty providers’ own teams will carry out these inspections. They’re in addition to the local government building permit inspection process.
Sometimes, the warranty team will produce an inspection report. This report remains confidential and privileged to you as the responsible licensed residential builder, and you can use it as a construction guideline.
The warranty inspector will list any items in the report that must be addressed before the team’s next scheduled visit. In some cases, re-inspection may be required to ensure the home has met the warranty program’s construction requirements. You must resolve any outstanding home warranty insurance inspection issues before the home warranty insurance policy starts on a new home.
Make sure you refer to the builder’s agreement that you signed with your warranty provider for information about inspection and re-inspection requirements. It’s your responsibility to be completely aware of these requirements and to abide by them so that the provider doesn’t cancel the home’s warranty coverage registration.
For more information about the consequences of de-enrolling homes from home warranty insurance, consult our regulatory bulletin, De-enrolling Homes from Home Warranty Insurance and the Homeowner Protection Act.
Change of civic or legal address
A municipality or regional district may change the civic or legal address of a new home during its construction. When this happens, as a licensed residential builder you’ll need to give BC Housing and your warranty provider the new details as soon as possible.
Sharing the information promptly has many benefits, including:
- BC Housing and the warranty providers can maintain the accuracy and integrity of the New Homes Registry
- You can avoid possible compliance difficulties.
- You can boost your marketing of the new home. By having the new home displayed correctly on the Registry, it’ll help possible buyers and real estate agents find it and verify its enrolment in a policy of new home warranty insurance.
Once a home is accepted for home warranty insurance coverage, the warranty provider will send you, as the licensed residential builder, a completion certificate. The provider will send a certificate for each new home and any corresponding common property (if applicable). This generally takes place at the time of warranty enrolment.
You must complete the certificate with the homeowner(s) on, or prior to, the day of possession.
The completion certificate is an important document. Warranty providers use it to facilitate issuance of the home warranty insurance policy. The certificate also lists the possession date, which determines the policy start date. This affects when the warranty coverage and the builder’s liability begins and finishes.
Although completion certificate formats vary among warranty providers, they all include a similar walk-through checklist. When permitted exclusions are applicable, you and the homeowner(s) should fill out an exclusion checklist before going through the walk-through checklist.
The walk-through checklist helps homeowner(s) tell builders of any items that need to be addressed. The checklist also helps the builder’s warranty provider identify all outstanding items that still require repair on the possession date. The warranty provider may also use the information to determine future claim issues.
Make sure that you fill out the completion certificate and send it to the warranty provider no later than seven days after you’ve done the walk-through. As a licensed residential builder, you’re responsible for accurately listing all incomplete warranty items on the certificate, as well as including the current civic address and legal description of the property. Both you and the homeowner(s) must sign and date this certificate before you send it to the warranty provider.
Once the warranty provider receives this information, the provider will send the homeowner(s) a homeowner’s package/manual that explains:
- The terms of the warranty (including but not limited to the commencement and expiry dates for each of the 2-year, 5-year and 10-year warranty components)
- Any exclusions and conditions that may be contained in the policy
- The homeowner’s obligations in maintaining the new home.
Staying on time
It’s vital that the completion certificate is completed and signed before the homeowner(s) takes possession of the new home. The document is integral to a licensed residential builder’s liability for the home.
If you’re late sending back the certificate, it could have a bad effect on your relationship with the warranty provider. As a licensed residential builder, it’s up to you to be aware in full of the terms and conditions outlined in your builder’s agreement with warranty providers. Make sure you study them closely.