What is a Professional Consultants Certificate?
A Professional Consultants Certificate is a document issued by a chartered architect or surveyor on a new build or newly converted property that vouches for the quality of the build for six years from the issue date.
This professionally appraised document can then be used to raise finance such as a buy-to-let or remortgage on the new dwelling or converted house.
It’s also known as an ‘Architects Certificate’, and although this term is still commonly used, Professional Consultants Certificate is the correct term, and is the one preferred by UK Finance (the entity that replaced the Council of Mortgage Lenders).
If you need an PCC to raise finance on your new property, Lapworth Architects have the expertise to draw one up for you – with a fast turnaround. But before that, let’s explain exactly what this certificate actually does.
What does a PCC cover?
Up to 15 units
Six years’ cover
Cost-effective and affordable
Why do I need a PCC?
A Professional Consultants Certificate is the minimum your lender needs to to raise a mortgage on a property completed in the last six years, as banks and building societies usually only provide finance for the property if it’s vouched for by either the Professional Consultants Certificate, as backed by UK Finance, or a National House Builders’ Council (NHBC) warranty. The PCC acts as technical certification of build quality if you’re looking to sell, mortgage or refinance a property built in the last six years.
By way of an example, if you have a new build or newly converted property and:
- You want to raise a Buy-to-Let mortgage;
- You’re selling and your buyer needs a mortgage or;
- You need to re-mortgage the property and release the property’s equity;
A PCC is widely accepted by lenders as it is backed by the consultant’s professional indemnity insurance, and attest to the structural quality of the dwelling. If you know you’re not going to sell in the next six years, then you don’t need one – but it pays to be safer than sorry further down the line.
Professional Consultant Certificate FAQs
They’re very similar. UK Finance has created the PCC on behalf of banks and building societies to standardise the certification of newly built or newly converted residential property.
The UK Finance standard PCC certification needs to be administered and signed off by a professional consultant such as an Architect (who must be registered with the Architects Registration Board – ARB).
It was formerly known as an Architects Certificate, and this name still persists, but it no longer applies.
If you’re looking to raise finance on your new build, then a Professional Consultants Certificate is all you need, as it covers structural defects and ensures construction quality.
NHBC/Structural Warranties offer a much greater level of protection as they are insurance policies and look to cover every eventuality. As such they’re not always necessary.
It certainly is – it can be transferred into the name of the new owners for a period of six years after the date of issue.
If you’ve not started the build, then you will require a monitoring service. This is where we make a total of five inspections during the course of the works.
A monitoring service can provide you with interim (or stage) certificates, which can be used for ‘draw down’ payments from the banks.
If your build has been completed, then you will require the retrospective service as we can only make one inspection after the build is completed.
You will be quoted an “all-inclusive” price meaning there are no extras. Your quote includes all the necessary pre-visit checks, five site visits and post-visit administrative work, VAT, and disbursements and costs to certify the property.
Our services for providing PCCs start from £1600 +VAT, and we will provide you with an exact quote when we have all your details.
Bear in mind that an NHBC/Structural Warranty will likely run into tens of thousands of pounds.
What does a Professional Consultants Certificate cover?
The PCC confirms to the mortgage lender that an experienced and professionally accredited consultant (such as an ARB-registered architect) has been involved in the project, and can either be monitored or retrospective.
With a monitoring service, the consultant oversaw the construction of the property through several site inspections, and then signed off on the structural quality of the build. With a retrospective PCC, the consultant has thoroughly inspected the new build or conversion and can vouch for the adherence to building regulations and building contract instructions from the information available.
In addition, the PCC also guarantees that the named consultant remains liable for any structural issues to the first buyers and their lender (and any subsequent purchasers and lenders) for six years from issuing of the certificate. It guarantees that the consultant:
- has appropriate experience in construction design and/or monitoring, as well as residential conversions, and
- will keep a level of professional indemnity insurance to cover their liabilities under the certificate.
It’s worth remembering that a PCC is a ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ certification by a qualified and accredited professional – it’s not an insurance policy. An architect can reasonably be expected to spot issues such as structural faults on every visit and ensure they are rectified and that’s why they must carry personal indemnity insurance. An architect cannot reasonably be expected to be liable for latent minor defects and issues that arise further down the line.
Bottom line: the PCC can bring you a lot of peace of mind and is an essential investment to help you raise finance.
What's the advantage of a PCC?
Professional Consultants Certificate operates as a viable way to secure funding for smaller scale projects as many developments in this country are done by self builders or small developers who complete relatively few projects.
They are accepted by 95% of lenders in the UK Finance Mortgage Lenders’ Handbook (here’s a list) and, if needed retrospectively, can be turned around in just a few days if you have all the right documentation – no waiting round!
What’s more, a PCC can also be used at an interim stage in the build as an authorisation to draw down funds from the bank in the form of stage payments – a lifeline in the complex lifespan of a construction project. This facility can either be included in your fee in advance, or we can also provide the PCC for an affordable processing fee.
As the PCC is a certification rather than an insurance policy, there is no premium element compared to a structural warranty or latent defects insurance product, as these are rarely needed on smaller projects, so PCCs are also often a lot cheaper than an NHBC warranty. It’s worth mentioning that a PCC is not suitable for larger, mixed-use developments.
With a PCC, small developers or self builders can save over 50% on certification cost while still meeting the lender’s requirements for raising finance.
Another use for PCCs is in projects where a warranty has been granted, but the provider is no longer in business – the PCC is valid to ‘pick up the slack’ to prove build quality.
20+ years of experience vouch for the quality of our work with fast responses all over the West Midlands.
UK Finance Compliant
Our PCCs meet UK Finance Mortgage Lenders Handbook guidelines and are accepted by the majority of mortgage lenders.
We offer great value for money on our PCC service, with discounts available for larger projects.
Quality and speed
We offer fast turnaround times, so you can get your architect-signed certificate in just a few days and keep your finance project on track.
Peace of mind
A PCC gives you the certainty that you can unlock your new property’s potential at any point from issue date – including during the build.
What's the difference between a Professional Consultants Certificate and an NHBC warranty?
The Professional Consultants Certificate is not an insurance policy – and it’s not designed to be. It’s a document to prove to a mortgage lender that the build or conversion is of a suitable quality to raise finance on. It’s not designed to cover latent issues that are common on larger projects.
Smaller development and self-build projects don’t tend to benefit from an NHBC warranty, and so where this cover is not available – for example, if a developer doesn’t meet registration requirements due to their size – a Professional Consultants Certificate is in fact the best way to raise finance.
Although an NHBC warranty might seem a better option, the NHBC usually represents developers on large scale projects. The warranty also involves using the NHBC’s consultants, surveyors and builders – meaning less control for you, greater costs and more barriers to resolving any issues, never mind getting the certificate.
By contrast, a Professional Consultants Certificate can be completed within two weeks – making it quicker and more efficient to move a project along in terms of finance. Another advantage of a PCC compared to an NHBC warranty is that the consultant involved is putting their own reputation on the line as a guarantor of service and build quality. It’s in our interest for PCCs at Lapworth Architects to be done quickly and efficiently for projects around Birmingham and the West Midlands, as they help to push financial and legal processes forward quicker.
Four simple steps to get your Professional Consultants Certificate
Get a quote
Fill in our simple form just underneath and we’ll get back to you with a quote ASAP. Time is money!
Pay your deposit and book your inspection
Give us a call on 0121 455 0032 to pay your deposit over the phone and schedule an inspection with us.
Receive your certificate!
Once we’ve completed the inspection we can email your certificate to you within 48 hours!
How Lapworth can help you with your PCC
If you’re looking to start a small development, have a self-build home or if you’re converting a larger property into flats, then a PCC is the best choice to accredit your project.
With our 20-year experience as chartered architects, we can provide you with a Professional Consultants Certificate to move your project forward. Best of all, once we’ve got all the right information, we can send you the PCC in less than seven days.
In order to process your PCC, we’ll need:
- A copy of the Approved Planning Drawings
- A copy of the Approval Notice
- A copy of the Building Regulation and Structural Drawings
- A copy of the Building Regulations Certificate (confirming Practical Completion)
We’ll also need need confirmation of:
- Date work commenced on site and was completed
- Approximate insurance rebuild cost
- Name of Legal advisor at time of purchase
- Details of contractor
If you need a Professional Consultants Certificate in Birmingham or the West Midlands, then come and talk to us. You can send us your documentation, or give us a call on 0121 455 0032 for your no-obligation consultation.
Get a quote!
Why Lapworth Architects?
Our 20+ years of work mean great design and good relationships with planning departments across the region to give our projects the best chance of getting your planning permission and starting building.
Your budget is tailored to your needs so you’re always on top of your costs. We’re proud to offer excellent value for money for our services, from design and planning right through to build.
Our breadth of knowledge makes us an efficient and sustainable choice of local architect, and we have a real vested interest in improving our own built environment right here in the West Midlands.
At whatever stage you’re at with your project, if you’re looking for honest, quality advice from professionals, chat to us, leave us a message or call us on the number at the top of the page. Let’s talk!