Contractors could be left with huge bills and no insurance, if a proposed law is passed

The Civil Law Reform Bill would slash the statutory liability period – the time within which firms can make a legal claim against a contractor – from six years to three, and allow a 10-year long-stop period, after which claims are invalid regardless of when a fault is discovered.

But it would also enable clients to negotiate unlimited liability periods, making it difficult and costly to obtain insurance. Simon Ball, chief executive of insurance firm Coverzones, said: “It is unlikely that insurers would cover firms beyond the statutory period, meaning they could be liable for claims for many years to come.”

The proposals have alarmed the industry. Representatives from bodies including the Construction Confederation and the UK Contractors Group met last week to discuss a response.