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Homeowners warned to ensure their property is adequately insured

Home rebuilding costs in Galway soared by at least €30,000 in the past year, according to figures released by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI).

The minimum base cost of rebuilding a 3-bed semi-detached home in an estate is now €257,348 in the Galway region, up 14%.

Enda McGuane, President of the SCSI and former managing director of Winters, based in Liosbán in Galway, said it was imperative that homeowners check they are adequately insured to take into account this leap.

The SCSI has a free Home Rebuild Calculator which provides an accurate reinstatement figure. The rebuild figures are based on estate type houses; people with one-off homes or period properties are advised to contact their local chartered surveyor to get a replacement calculation.

Now working with the Land Development Agency in Dublin, Mr McGuane said consumers regularly mix up valuations with rebuilding costs.

“A market valuation is the expected amount another person would pay for your property, the sale price, if it was placed on the open market. The rebuilding cost is the cost or price of building or replacing the dwelling.  The SCSI says these figures are very different so it’s important that the SCSI calculator is not used for valuation purposes so that consumers are not over or under insured.”

Homeowners often don’t fully appreciate the dangers of under insurance. If they are not adequately insured, they may be penalised under their policy and have to pay a certain proportion of the reinstatement costs out of their own pocket.

“Where the insured sum is only 80% of the total reinstatement cost, you will only receive 80% of the agreed cost of reinstatement, whether the claim is made for partial replacement or total loss. For example, in the case of a house insured for €280,000, where the actual total reinstatement cost is €350,000, the insured party will receive only €280,000 to reinstate the house in the event of the total loss. In that situation the insured party will be obliged to provide the balance of €70,000.

“Similarly, if there is a partial loss, which costs €100,000 to repair, the insured party will only receive €80,000 and will have to provide the balance of €20,000. This is something many homeowners may not be aware of. It’s also important that homeowners reassess their cover to take account of any changes such as home office extensions or garden offices. These have become very popular in recent years with more people now working from home, but they need to be included in the house insurance.”

The minimum base cost of rebuilding a 3-bed semi, which includes demolition and site clearance, is €2,626 per 98sqm – or €257,348 in Galway. That’s an increase of €31,360 here over the past 12 months. In the Galway region the increase ranges from 12% for a terraced 3-bed townhouse to 14% for a semi-detached or detached house.

Chartered Quantity Surveyor Kevin Brady said the continuing hikes are a direct result of the shortage of construction labour across the sector combined with high levels of demand for builders.

“The construction market is extremely busy, and this means it can be difficult to source labour or subcontractors for any type of build, particularly electrical, plumbing and heating.

“Material prices have started to stabilize for certain materials, however concrete products are still experiencing price increases as are insulation products, windows, and plumbing products and these are some of the key material cost drivers.

“Rebuilding a property is not the same as building new houses on a green field site. It requires specialist skills relating to demolition and supporting neighbouring properties. It is almost a niche market and there can be difficulty sourcing contractors to take on rebuild projects. This will naturally be reflected in tender prices for such projects.”

The increases does not necessarily translate into pro-rata premium increases. Homeowners are advised to shop around when seeking insurance cover for their homes.

The House Rebuilding Calculator and the 2023 Guide to House Rebuilding Costs is available free at  A list of chartered quantity surveyors who carry out assessments is also available on the SCSI website.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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