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Risks faced by Self-Employed Builders

Rhino Trade Insurance 04 April 2023

Tradesmen and women working as sole traders or running a limited company contend with various risks associated with their work. The trade industry is a hazardous endeavour, and professionals will encounter many dangers on any given day. 

Few other industries face the same level of risk as the construction industry. Rhino wants to focus on some of these risks, how to manage them, and how best to minimise your business's exposure to accidents and damage. 

The risks associated with building work

Construction sites can require various tradespeople to be on-site at any given moment, from Bricklayers to Electricians, to Plasterers and Decorators, all working on their own unique area of a project. Managing this type of work can be complicated for a building contractor due to the risks associated with the various trades. 

You have to factor in supplies, materials, equipment, the weather, public members and more. As such, you need to be aware of specific areas that can pose a threat to your business:

Design work

Trades businesses often follow designs and plans, which can lead to errors or omissions from the work. As a result, your business could find itself in a legal dispute  stemming from neglect, oversight and general malpractice. Your business may have to pay the necessary damages should you be deemed responsible.

No matter how experienced you are, mistakes can always be made, especially when dealing with complex drawings, measurements and blueprints. To be sure that your business could survive a legal dispute and potential costs  stemming from errors of judgement or mistakes, you should hold a good level of Professional Indemnity Insurance. This projects against financial loss to the client due to a significant error in your work. We will discuss all of our insurance options later in this article. 

Health & Safety

As stated, building sites can be some of the most dangerous workplaces around, so being aware of your health and safety commitments is paramount. Risks can include:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Handling/ moving awkward objects
  • Working at height
  • Working with dangerous machinery
  • Using power tools
  • Exposure to dust and harmful particles
  • Working around foundations and uneven ground

Accidents and damage can happen on building sites, no matter how much care you take. Sustaining an injury could be dealt with there and then or require more intense treatment. Likewise, damage could be fixed on the job or need more attention and Insurance to save the day. 

When starting a project, conducting a full risk assessment is always best to keep your business, staff members, clients, and others safe. This will include ways to prevent specific risks and how to act if an accident does happen. 

Find out more about staying safe on-site here. 

Other risks

Various other risks can cause havoc to a trade project. These include inflation, public objections to planning, environmental factors and project management. 

As the costs of supplies, labour, equipment and more continue to rise, a trade business must factor in rising costs to their work. On top, you can also wrangle with employer turnover, especially if you deal with subcontractors. Depending on your relationships, you may find inexperienced staff or work diaries that are so busy that the work on your project takes longer than expected. 

Moreover, modern building legislation requires your business to actively control your environmental footprint. A tradesman or woman needs to identify any risks affecting the local environment and conduct a risk assessment to stamp these hazards out. This will help your business further down the line as the industry strives towards a greener society. 

Finally, all trades businesses need to project management effectively. Ensuring a safe, compliant, and manageable site takes skill and organisation. Risks can include:

  • Compliance with contract stipulations
  • Internal conflicts
  • Delays
  • Lost paperwork

It's always important to keep communication clear and manage proactively for a smooth and seamless working site. But how else can you protect yourself as a construction professional?

What Insurance can protect a Builder?

When hired to build an extension or improve a customer's home, you are ultimately held responsible for what goes on during that project. You, therefore, need to maintain the correct level of Insurance to ensure your business can carry on if an accident happens. Without the correct Insurance, you and your business could face reputational damage and financial ruin. 

Rhino Trade Insurance focuses entirely on the trade industry and has experts who design all of our policies based on the needs of each individual trade. In the situation where you need to make a claim, we can provide tailored cover for almost every aspect of your work:

Public Liability Insurance

Your core cover should start with Public Liability Insurance. This insurance protects your business should you cause damage to a customer's property, injure a client or member of the public and even accidental death - all of which are due to the work you are carrying out. 

Rhino can offer businesses a range of cover options, and you can decide to take out Public Liability from £1 million, £2 million and £5 million. Find out more about how our Public Liability Insurance can help you today

Employers' Liability Insurance

Building upon your Public Liability, you can add a popular piece of Insurance to protect your employees. Employers' Liability Insurance covers your business and employees in case they suffer an accident or illness from the work you have laid out for them. For all UK businesses that hire staff, you legally must hold this Insurance up to a level of £5 million in cover.

Your trade business can face fines of up to £2,500 for every day you operate without this Insurance. You must also display your Employers' Liability Insurance certificate in an area where all staff members can read what your cover is. 

Professional Indemnity Insurance

As mentioned above, Professional Indemnity Insurance will safeguard your business should a client take action against you if you are deemed to have given poor advice, design or service. Without this insurance, your business could have to pay out compensation if you are deemed to be in the wrong. 

Your business takes a major risk without this cover as claims can rack up to the tens or hundreds of thousands. Rhino's cover is there to defend you against any allegations of wrongdoing and ensure you will be covered financially up to your chosen level of coverage. This is a fundamental insurance policy for most trade businesses. 

Find out more on Professional Indemnity Insurance here. 

Tool Insurance

Insuring your tools is vital in today's world. With tool theft on the rise, ensuring that your most important equipment is protected makes absolute business sense. Rhino's policies also offer cover for loss and damage to your tools up to £10,000 in cover. 

Our policies include cover for when your tools are loaded/ unloaded from and temporarily stored in your work van. We wrote a comprehensive article on why insuring your tools is business-critical, which you can read here

Personal Accident Insurance

A popular addition to any tradesperson's insurance policy is Personal Accident protection. If you have ever wondered how you would cope if you were ill or injured and couldn't work, you can now cover yourself in this situation. If you are prevented from working, this Insurance provides financial help through a lump sum payment to cover business expenses and salary payments. 

On top, it even covers you for accidents, injuries and illnesses outside of your trade work. Find out what Rhino Trade Insurance can offer your business here

Contractors' All Risks Insurance

A policy of this nature will protect builders, electricians, plumbers, plasterers and other tradespeople from risks associated when the building works are in progress. This Insurance covers any financial complications stemming from re-doing any work as part of the contract, as well as the cost of tools, plant and machinery to do the job. For any professionals working in construction, this cover is essential to your business. 

Rhino can offer various levels of Insurance starting at affordable prices; get a quote for this Insurance today

Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

If you have been considering your trade insurance options, why not call Rhino Trade Insurance at 0116 243 7904? Our experts can help you with any policy questions you have and can provide a complete package that won't break the bank. 

Alternatively, if you would like to explore what cover options you have for your trade, why not take a look at our website for more information? From there, you can use our simple online insurance shop and get a quote in just 60 seconds. 


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