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Oast Houses and Property Insurance
Converted Oast houses are a well known feature in the South East of the country as period properties and are highly sought after in some areas as a result. Some new build properties are even built in a style to replicate Oasts as a nod to our hop drying heritage. Because – who doesn’t like beer!
Oast Property Design and Construction
One unusual feature of Oast houses is the nature of their shape, in order to maximise the space within the property furniture often has to be custom made to suit the circular walls and we understand it also makes hanging pictures quite interesting.
They usually consist of a brick or stone main structure with a distinct and unique cone shaped (timber) moveable drying and cooling area which follows the direction of the wind using a weather vane system. Or has cowls a typically hood-shaped covering of a chimney which can be adjusted to enhance the flow of air through it to aid in the drying process and to aid in the draw for the fire in the kiln below.
The unique design has evolved over decades of brewing, including square and octagonal versions but the need for the specific structure was made redundant by the invention of the modern electric fans and the industry was decimated by the importation of cheaper hops from other countries as it was a very labour intensive process.
The Insurance Challenge
From a property insurance perspective they have their unique challenges, like any non-standard construction, both in obtaining an accurate Professional Reinstatement cost in a changing economy where materials and labour costs are up by record percentages and in the nature of their construction which consists of a significant quantity of older Timber (a fire risk) and original open framed structures.
Original converted Oast properties are also often grade listed which often presents further issues for insurers due to specialist expertise required repairing damage. Regular maintenance has an additional layer of complexity and often cost involved as the specialist skills involved are dying out in favour of more modern construction methods. Due to this insurance repair costs following a loss can be considerably higher.
The Insurance Solution
As a local insurance broker Clarke Williams are familiar with all of these challenges and enjoy close relationships with specialist insurers that understand the features that make these buildings such a special part of our heritage and are prepared to offer insurance covers for them.
One of our more recognisable local Oast houses is in fact a client, the Oast Theatre in Tonbridge.
For any advice relating to insurance and specialist property types, please don’t hesitate to give us a call, or email us with a convenient time and we can schedule a call to you to understand your unique property and find an insurer partner that will work with you to provide protection at an affordable premium.
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