Consider risks before camp renovations begin

As camp activities begin to wind down between seasons and the weather is still nice, you might be eager to break out your camp's construction plans and get to work. But take a moment to make sure you have your risk exposures under control before you start swinging hammers.

Your camp's general liability, umbrella liability and workers' compensation policies should be reviewed with your insurance representative before construction begins. Be sure to consider the use of an architect, a general contractor, subcontractors and volunteer labor, or a combination of all four.

The architect

If your camp building project is large or complex, hiring an architect should be the logical first step. 

In addition to providing you with blueprints, an architect can help safeguard your project by interviewing potential general contractors. An architect also can determine a contractor's:

  • Compatibility with the scope of the intended project

  • Adherence to building codes

  • Insurance coverage requirements

  • Price estimates and bid specs

  • On-site construction administration

The general contractor

Using a general contractor doesn’t mean your camp is protected from loss throughout the construction project. A qualified general contractor will provide the expertise for the building construction, but there is no guarantee the contractor will obtain adequate insurance coverage to protect against property, liability or workers' compensation losses related to your building project.

Before signing a contract with a contractor or general contractor:

  • Request references and contact all references.

  • Ask about contractor safety records and OSHA citations.

  • Review all contracts with your attorney or construction consultant before entering into an agreement or signing a legal document.

  • Review construction contracts for insurance responsibilities and requirements of all parties involved in the building project. 

  • Obtain certificates of insurance from the general contractor with proof of adequate XC&U (explosion, collapse and underground damage to property), liability, products and completed operations and workers' compensation insurance.

  • Review contracts for hold harmless or indemnity clauses that can release a contractor from liability or waives subrogation rights.

  • Request to be named as an additional insured on a contractor’s general liability policy.

  • Request proof of indemnity bonds from general contractors.

    1. Bid bond. This bond is issued as part of a supply bidding process by the contractor and provides protection should the selected contractor refuse to enter into a contract or withdraws an awarded bid.

    2. Performance bond. This provides protection if the contractor does not complete or fails to complete the project as specified in the terms of the contract. A performance bond does not provide protection against a subcontractor or suppliers who have not been paid.

    3. Payment bond. This provides security to subcontractors and material supplies and ensures payment for their work, labor and project materials.

Self-managed projects

Some organizations elect to appoint a knowledgeable member or volunteer to serve as the project manager. This person hires the various contractors on behalf of the organization.

An appointed project manager eliminates the cost of a general contractor but increases the camp's responsibility, insurance risk and cost of insurance.

Prior to managing a building project on your own:

  • Consult your insurance representative to discuss adequate insurance coverage.

  • Consult your local building or zoning office in your area.

  • Buy a builders' risk policy.

  • Purchase workers' compensation coverage for employees hired by your organization.

  • Obtain current certificates of insurance from all contractors for proof of liability and workers' compensation coverage.

Volunteer labor

If your organization decides to use volunteer labor during construction:

  • Provide skilled leadership and assign duties based on a volunteer’s ability and experience, especially with electrical and plumbing needs.

  • Provide adequate supervision.

  • Determine who is responsible for stolen tools or other property used by your volunteers during construction. Consult your insurance representative for proper coverage needs.

  • Consult your insurance representative and/or Department of Labor if you provide room and board for volunteers during construction. They might be protected by state workers' compensation laws.

Builders' risk insurance

For most building projects, builders risk insurance should be purchased to cover damage to the building under construction, protect against theft of building materials and provide general liability coverage.

Builders' risk insurance can be added by endorsement to an existing multi-peril policy, or as a stand-alone policy. In some cases, the general contractor can buy builders risk coverage on your behalf. Contact your insurance representative to discuss the type of insurance and policy limits that best fits your needs.

We’re here to help! For additional questions, contact Church Mutual Insurance Company’s Risk Control Central.

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Church Mutual Insurance Company
P.O. Box 357 | 3000 Schuster Lane | Merrill, WI 54452-0357
Telephone (800) 554-2642 or (715) 536-5577

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