Certificates and Book Keeping for self builders

Warranties are there to help cover you when things go wrong or not to plan during your build. Architects often supervise a building job, and if this is the case it is not always necessary to invest in warranties. I know that seems like commonplace for many of you, but you do have another option. The options rests in certificates. How does this work?

The person who is supervising the job will make progress reports. He or she will take note of everything that is being done. Once a job is completed to the level of satisfactory which is required, that person will issue a certificate.

Lenders are more than happy to do this for a building site. Believe it or not, a lender will take the word of a certificate over the promise of a warranty. Why? Warranties have been known to deliver false promises. Certificates won’t do this. Once you hand out a certificate of progress, you can be sure the job has been completed the right way.


This method will come at a cost. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who will work for free on this. When comparing the cost of this to third-party insurance, they often end up being equal in value.


The other problem lies here. Calling attention to this matter is one thing. Proving the falsehoods of the certifications is another. Most architects have insurance in place for a reason. Yes, the certifications are the better method. What happens when something gets the certification which shouldn’t. This is where the issue of proving it comes up.


Let’s say that part of the design meant using something that would go bad in 5 years time. Let’s say a sealant would lose it’s hold after this period. Does this fault rest with the architect? The designer? Everyone has varying opinions.

The architect who signs off on the certificate is supposed to have this knowledge. Would someone sign off on something, just to get it done and over with? Are they trying to crunch the numbers a little bit? It does happen. This is where it gets difficult to prove, especially when they already have liability insurance in place to protect themselves.


Once the person has signed off with the certificate and the insurance, he or she is taking on that responsibility. It’s their job to make sure the outcome is the way it’s supposed to be. Sometimes it takes less money for certain things to just go away. This comes at a price though. Sometimes those who are supposed to be held accountable aren’t being accountable. This is why you need to keep records.


I know some of you loathe this idea, but keep written records. Even if you feel it won’t be important, write it down. Write done everything from deliveries and supplies to meetings. Write it down so you can’t dispute anything later.

What types of accounts do you need to keep? This is up to you. Make sure you keep both basic and management accounts. Basic files should include things such as expenses, supplies, order and things of this nature.

The management files should include everything from the budget to what was said in meetings. You also need a system in place if the money gets tight. What are you going to do to fix it? Write it all down.

You need to keep all messages both ingoing and outgoing on file. Think of it as backup insurance. This way no one can go back on their word later on.


Managing a site can be challenging. If you have the right insurance and team in place, the rest will take care of itself. Just keep records of everything, even the boring and mundane things. This way you have something to backup your statements and progress later. Have someone sign off for the certificates who knows what he or she is doing. Make sure he or she is on the same team as you are. The rest will fall into place.

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