“Deemed inadequate” are two words farmers never want to see side-by-side after an insurance adjuster reviews a claim on losses or damages to a farm building.
Which is why insurance specialist Glenn McGregor says that farmers who think building code exemptions work in their financial favour should call their insurance broker before turning the sod on any construction project, be it new, a renovation or an addition.
McGregor is vice-president, prairie region, with Wawanesa Insurance in Manitoba. He says insurance can be denied if certain standards are not met, regardless of whether provincial building codes legislate those standards. Claims may also be declined in cases where construction practices or a lack of safety features are found to be inadequate after the fact.
Before anything else, he says, building codes are all about the quality of construction and meeting certain standards, because safety is the number one concern.
While insurers won’t visit a construction site to review standards, “the quality of construction of buildings plays a role in whether insurers are willing to insure them,” notes McGregor. Protection against disasters like fire or collapse, and properly constructed rafter systems, are among the features insurers are interested in, he says. Insurers can also ask that items like back-up generators and smoke detectors be in place before insurance is approved.
“As a general statement, not building to code is not recommended,” adds McGregor.
While he can’t speak to insurance issues, Bill Hawkins, Saskatchewan’s chief building official, recommends farmers build to code even when it’s not required. As he sees it, crop production and animal husbandry operations are commercial ventures, regardless of scale.
From that perspective, he says, building to code is one more decision that can help the dollars you invest serve you well.