The Who’s Who of Subcontractors

As much as many of us like to have close control of a project that’s been handed to us from start to finish, it’s not always realistic, which is why many construction companies hire subcontractors.

Subcontractors can provide the time and expertise to fulfil certain aspects of jobs large or small, such as fitting windows, or bolster a team which is otherwise thin on the ground.

There are two types of subcontractors, and your insurance checklist will change depending on which you enlist.

Bona-Fide subcontractors (BFSC)
Also known as supply and fix subcontractors, BFSCs provide their own materials, tools and equipment, and crucially, their own insurance. Insurers are unlikely to extend your public liability insurance to include their actions, as the BFSC should have employers’ liability and public liability in place, along with contract works and professional indemnity insurance if necessary.

The only occasion that your public liability would link to your BFSC is if they were to make a legal claim against you. This might happen if a problem on your site led to their injury, or damage to their equipment, for example.

What to look out for: Indemnity limit. Make sure that whatever public liability your BFSC has in place, their indemnity limit – that is the ceiling amount paid out by the insurer, matches yours.

Labour only sub-contractors (LOSC)
When taking on the services of an LOSC, this is when you need to look more in depth at your insurance. LOSCs will be working directly under your supervision and likely without their own tools and materials, apart from the odd hand tool, perhaps.

Because they’re working under your management, they’re treated in the same way as your employees, as far as insurance coverage is concerned. This means that by law they need to be included under your Employers’ Liability Insurance.

What to look out for: Regardless of project timescale, you need employers’ liability cover for any LOSCs. It’s the law to have this in place for employers and without it you could face a charge of £2500 per day.

Our team at Rollinson Smith Insurance Brokers can help you get to grips with your subcontractors and the projects they’re working on; seeking out the right insurance cover depending on their role, both as part of the team and the work that’s required of them.

Click here to fill out a form for a free subcontractor quote and one of our experts will be in touch.

If you have any general questions about your insurance, feel free to get in touch. Call 01952 607600 or email