SWG CGL: Outdoor Woodworking Deck Contractors

Jun 2020

Deck and fence contractors design and build custom outdoor decks and patios. These professionals are typically called upon for large-scale or complex as well as simple projects – decks large enough to accommodate large groups or multiple areas (e.g. for dining and lounging), partially partitioned or covered for privacy or seasonal purposes, multi-tiered decks, patios with hot tubs and other water features, patios with outdoor kitchens, and more.

It’s a professional deck contractor’s job to know all the safety and liability concerns involved in each project – not just to satisfy their clients but also to ensure each design is built properly and safely. Including all required permits.

This is where insurance brokers come in. More than just essential insurance coverage, deck contractors need savvy brokers who can help them mitigate risk of lawsuits and build their reputation so their business can thrive.

Advising Contractors on How to Protect Their Business

  1. Contractors need to know their clients:

To avoid allegations of negligence, or for being held liable for damages, contractors should get on the same page with their client on what the client wants, what options the contractor can offer, and the budgetary expectations. It’s good practice to ask, for example:

  • What would the client do if they had their ideal space?
  • What does the client intend to use the outdoor space for?
  • Would they host gatherings on this patio? How many people?
  1. Contractors should know the local building codes:

Every area has zoning bylaws. In Toronto, for example, a building permit is required for solariums, porches and decks, as well as structural or material alterations such as enclosing an existing deck, porch, or patio of any size. (1) Other types of codes cover everything from fire and flood codes to how close you can build to the edge of the property line. It’s up to the contractor to discover the building codes and zoning issues as they relate to a property.

Bylaws generally cover the bare minimum of building requirements to prevent injuries and lawsuits, so contractors would do well to exceed those standards or safety and durability wherever possible. In addition, contractors should not go forward with a design they perceive could lead to injury. It is very important that the contractor does not proceed with, build or complete (another contractors) project, unless all projects/builds comply with and have the necessary permits and do not breach any by-laws and meet all building code requirements.

  1. Communicating with architects and interior/landscape designers:

To make a project successful, contractors should share their expert knowledge with the design professionals, meeting with both the designer and the client to go over ideas and design plans to discuss building and budgetary requirements before the start of the project. This will ensure that the finished product is as durable and long-lasting as it can be.

SWG CGL – Commercial General Liability

As careful as contractors might be, there are unforeseen events that can happen to every business. CGL insurance coverages can be customized to protect contractors against the unique risks and exposures they face. SWG CGL – Commercial General Liability insurance is designed to protect the products or services of small and large businesses from financial loss should they be liable for property damage or personal and advertising injury caused by their services, business operations or employees. It covers non-professional negligent acts for which they might become responsible.

Coverage Highlights:

  • Our policies include contractual liability
  • Cross liability
  • Contingent employer’s liability
  • Product Completed Operations coverage (Broad Form)
  • Our policies are on occurrence form, we can however also offer claims made option
  • Our policies can offer enhancement coverage to include, Faulty Workmanship, Product Recall coverage, Employee Benefit, Employer’s Comprehensive Bodily Injury Liability, Sub-limits for Errors & Omissions, and Employment Practices Liability
  • Limits up to $10,000,000
  • Deductibles start at $1,000 and can be customized to the size of the business or type of operation

SWG CGL covers a broad range of risks, so contact us if you don’t see what you are looking for in the list below.

  • Auto Parts Machine Shop
  • Cosmetics
  • Excess & Umbrella
  • Fireworks
  • Manufacturers
  • Paintball & Laser Tag
  • Processors
  • Pyrotechnic Displays
  • Recycling and Sanitation
  • Remediation
  • Retailers
  • Landscaping Contractors
  • Masonry work and repair i.e. retaining walls, residential walkways

Visit our website for more details.

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.


  1. https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/building-construction/apply-for-a-building-permit/when-do-i-need-a-building-permit/