When it comes time to build, there are so many things to consider. And quite often things like the building warranty take a back seat to your more immediate concerns. After all, you’re worried about design, location and, of course, cost. Won’t all builders offer a similar warranty, anyway?
No, they don’t. Not by a long shot.
Instead of being the same, the warranty protections you could receive from a prospective builder vary as much as the designs themselves, sometimes even more. So, before you choose a builder for your new pole barn or out building, here are four questions you need to ask.
1. Do you offer a structural warranty?
Remember what we said about the varying value of warranties? Sometimes that warranty can go all the way down to zero. Never take it for granted that every single builder will offer you a comprehensive warranty in some shape or form. This simply isn’t a given.
When considering warranties, the first thing you should look for in a builder is one that offers you a structural warranty on your building. This is different than a workmanship warranty. While workmanship warranties are required in many cases, a workmanship warranty only offers you protection in the event some actual aspect of the workmanship was performed incorrectly. Structural warranties provide you comprehensive coverage, peace of mind and support should your building fail under the snow and wind loads for which it was designed.
2. What other warranties do you offer?
In addition to your structural warranty, ask prospective builders about smaller component warranties such as a painted steel, treated lumber and doors and windows. While not as vital as a structural warranty, these warranties are essential to round out your coverage.
3. How long do your warranties last?
While the existence of a particular warranty is paramount, the length of the warranty is nearly as important. Longer warranties are better so look for builders that will support their work long term, particularly the structural warranty.
At Lester Building Systems, for example, our structural design warranty is guaranteed for the owner’s lifetime of the building (or 50 years for any owner that is not a natural person such as a corporation or a church) and you should expect the same from any other builder. Lester designs each building for specific wind and snow loads governed by the city or county in which you live. If your building suffers any damage from a storm or inclement weather and the wind and snow did not exceed the loads for which your building was built; rest assured, it is covered under our lifetime structural warranty.
In addition to our lifetime structural warranty, Lester also carries a 50-year warranty on treated lumber, a 40-year warranty on painted steel, a one-year warranty on workmanship and a warranty on roof leaks — which varies based on local dealers or territory manager.
When you are comparing warranty options for your project, apply the list above to every builder to see if they too offer a warranty in each of these categories and for how long each of these warranties is applicable.
Finally, inquire about your ability to transfer a warranty with your prospective builder. At Lester we may allow an owner to transfer their building and its warranty to a new owner. If both parties submit a letter requesting this transfer to us, we’ll review the situation and potentially transfer the warranty to the new user. Don’t be afraid to ask other prospective builders if they will do the same.
4. Will you be around to cover my warranty?
The previous question brings us nicely into our final warranty question, and it relates to dependability. After all, if a warranty issue arises, you want to know your building company is willing and able to discuss your options with you.
Workmanship issues are often handled by the local builder, but structural issues are warrantied by the building company itself. The importance of this warranty makes the building company you choose all the more vital. Look for long-standing companies that will be there to support you and your structural integrity, paint and treated lumber warranties even if the local builder who did the work has since retired. A warranty is only as good as the company that supplies it, and you should look for a vendor who stands the test of time.
At Lester Building Systems, we’ve been around since 1947 and can’t wait to help you with your current project or any other project you have down the road. Contact us today to learn more about warranties available on any of our projects and to see what’s truly important to your warranty needs.