Should a carpenter have products liability insurance?

Discussion in 'Tradespeople' started by Carpenter28, Jul 1, 2015.

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  1. Carpenter28

    Carpenter28 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Hi there I'm a self employed carpenter and I have public liability insurance but it's just occurred to me about whether I should have products liability too.

    I do get enquires with regards to making items such as gates, doors, bunk beds, and have recently had someone request a quote to make a landing stage for the river.

    If this is something I should look into how expensive are they roughly?

    Many thanks
    Posted: Jul 1, 2015 By: Carpenter28 Member since: Oct 12, 2014
  2. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    8,354 3,236
    There are special deals for small companies and I believe that Simply Business are one of the cheapest in PL and product liability for SMEs.

    That said, many UK companies tend to be over-insured. Only you can work out to what extent you run a real risk of incurring severe liabilities as a result of a product failure and match that against quotes from insurance companies.
    Posted: Jul 1, 2015 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  3. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Full Member

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    It's a good question, not sure doors and gates are so important, as long as they are fit for purpose.

    A landing stage for a river would need to be designed by someone who is experienced and insured for such work. You are then following their design and spec.

    I design lofts and extensions, I am insured to practice as an Architect and structural engineer. So any liability for a design or spec fault stays with me.

    Your a chippy, normal practice is for you to work to someone else's design and specification. Then if the work falls under the remit of building control, they inspect to ensure you have carried out the work correctly.

    Designing and building a landing stage for a river, sounds like you taking on a lot of responsibility and risk.
    Posted: Jul 1, 2015 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
  4. consultant

    consultant I Can Help Your Business

    5,341 741
    If you supply the product being fitted, probably yes!

    However, when getting insurance, make sure it covers all of your risks. I know of one person, an electrician, who told me he got a great rate on his insurance, cheaper that anyone else, online. How did he feel when it was revealed he was not covered to use a ladder!
    Posted: Jul 1, 2015 By: consultant Member since: Jan 21, 2008
  5. Simon.P

    Simon.P UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    502 54
    i think most policies have a clause over 2 metres (which is where you are supposed to use platforms or scaffolding for a permanent work)
    Posted: Jul 1, 2015 By: Simon.P Member since: Dec 4, 2009
  6. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Full Member

    12,126 4,217

    Over 2000mm on a ladder and you need 'special' insurance.
    Posted: Jul 1, 2015 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
  7. bigsie

    bigsie UKBF Contributor Free Member

    61 8
    We use Gleaming Insurance which covers goods being worked on, so as a cleaning company this is a must. Only down side is the first £250 is not covered !
    Posted: Jul 1, 2015 By: bigsie Member since: Jun 16, 2013
  8. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,740 917
    If you have a rubbish policy, then yes. This is the trouble with generic policies that try to imagine and consider too many risks. My ten million quid PLI is perfectly happy with me climbing ladders - VERY tall ones as it happens. I go up and down the things all the time, because in my industry (entertainment) we frequently need access where anything other than a ladder is impossible. We work on platforms that have no edge protection, and we routinely do activities that many policies shudder about - heat guns, soldering irons, electricity etc etc. The safety record in our area is pretty good and therefore PLI to cover these risks is not expensive.

    It's all about real risk and perceived risk. If you build landing stages, before you do the insurance (and to be honest, product insurance may be no good- because it is a self-constructed item, and therefore there won;t be any test data available) you should consider the risk.

    To the layman (me) what are the likely problems? It could sink, it could pull away from the land if tugged, but the real likelihood is rot. The broads authority in my area build these things all the time, often with quite unskilled labour. They have a limited lifespan anyway, so it's probably not much different from building a shed for someone. Practical worst case is it floats away. The expensive absolute worst case is somebody stands on it, falls through it and it sinks with them attached. Is this possible? They'd sue you. If it was considered your fault it will cost. Is this a risk you can stand, or not? Lottery chances?

    I build numerous small devices to do useful jobs. Often these get left in customers venues. There is a small chance somebody could use one inappropriately. I don't see a need for product insurance.

    As with all things insurance, it's a personal insurance based on your own personal feelings.

    I suspect that as a non-professional carpenter, if somebody asked me to build a landing stage, (and I wanted to do it) then it's really down to everyday c construction skills, scaled up a bit, with some research and a decent hire equipment budget.
    Posted: Jul 2, 2015 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  9. Simply Business

    Simply Business UKBF Enthusiast Full Member - Verified Business

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    Hi @Carpenter28, check your policy as lots will include product liability with the public liability, so you may already have it without knowing!

    However, if you don't and you're potentially supplying goods, then you may want to look into adding it on! It may also be wise to let your insurer know if you're potentially looking to start adding new activities to your business :)

    Thanks for the mention @The Byre :)
    Posted: Jul 9, 2015 By: Simply Business Member since: Dec 1, 2009
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