We look at how non standard construction can impact your home insurance

What is non standard construction?

A standard property is defined as the walls being made from either stone or brick and the roof being tile or slate. Any materials outside of these are generally considered non standard construction by mortgage and insurance providers. However, lots of properties are built using materials that fall outside of this norm. Unfortunately, non standard construction mortgages tend to be harder to obtain. Many standard insurers can also be reluctant to provide cover for anything that is a little bit different.

non standard construction materials

Insurers generally class homes made of brick/stone walls and slate/tile roofs as standard. The use of other materials are generally classed as non standard.

Examples of non standard construction

Steel frame being constructed for house

Steel framed:

Steel frame houses are characterised by their ease of building, their lightweight nature, and their affordability. However, steel frame constructions can be both difficult and costly to insure. This is because they can be very expensive to repair if things do go wrong. They are seen as not being very flame resistant, meaning if there is a fire the heat can cause the steel beams to warp. Such damage can cause big issues for the whole property structure.


BISF steel frame property of non-standard construction

BISF Construction:

BIFS houses are steel framed houses built by the British Iron and Steel Federation from 1946. There are around 50,000 across the country. This was mostly in pairs but there were terraces. There are a number of issues that can make insurance for BISF properties difficult. This includes the fact that BISF house roofing contains asbestos which is extremely dangerous to health. These properties can also suffer deterioration at the base of the steel structure, window surrounds and in rooms with humidity such as bathrooms and kitchens. BISF is a common non standard construction property type.


Timber frame property on non-standard construction

Timber Frame:

Many mainstream insurers often view a timber-framed home as a complex or ‘non-standard’ property. The result is an increase in their prices to cover such a risk. This is especially true when looking for insurance for an old timber framed home. There are a number of reasons for this, including a wooden frame’s susceptibility to fire.

Modular property components of non-standard construction property


Prefabricated homes are largely built off-site. Prefabricated houses largely came into use after the Second World War. Following the devastation of the Blitz they were built as temporary homes. Due to their nature of construction, they can be costly to repair if damage occurs. This is because whole sections of the property’s structure can need to be replaced. Dependent on the materials used there are mainstream lenders who will provide a mortgage on properties of this non standard construction type.


Concrete property of non-standard construction


Concrete homes often also fall into the category of prefabricated buildings. This is because concrete is the most common material used in their construction. However, some properties are constructed from concrete blocks rather than preformed slabs, making them a slightly different risk. Generally speaking, non-standard construction concrete block properties will be easier to obtain a mortgage and insurance on than a prefab home.


Cob construction house


Cob building is a traditional construction type consisting of a natural building material made from subsoil, water, fibrous organic material (typically straw), and sometimes lime. To form a malleable material these are then mixed together. The construction method has barely changed in the history of cob houses.

Unsurprisingly, insurance for cob homes can be difficult to find as it is very different to a standard brick and tile property. However, cob construction has proved to be very sturdy. The oldest recorded building still standing is over 10,000 years old. Therefore, we aim to provide competitive quotes for cob construction insurance.


House built of clunch construction


Clunch is another traditional building material that is made of chalky limestone rock. It is not often used in modern buildings and is considered a non standard construction. There are still some historic homes that are of clutch construction. Clunch buildings can be seen to be less durable than those made from standard building materials and for this reason, can be tricky to mortgage. We are able to provide cover for Clunch buildings dependent on condition and year of build.


Row of houses made of bungaroosh non standard construction


Bungaroosh construction uses lots of different materials such as whole or broken bricks, cobblestones, flints, small pebbles, sand and pieces of wood. This construction type is most common among properties in the south-east, particularly Brighton. It was common in these areas from the late 18th to late 19th century. One of the drawbacks of Bungaroosh construction is that is it has poor resistance to water.


Wimpey No fines

As a form of prefabricated concrete construction, it can be difficult to obtain insurance for your Wimpey no fines home. Many standard insurers don’t want to cover them due to the susceptibility of these buildings to damage. This style of housing owes its name to the George Wimpey Construction company that developed it. The ‘no-fines’ element of the name refers to the type of concrete that is used in the constructions – concrete that doesn’t contain any fine aggregates.


Protect yourself against underinsurance

In the event of a claim you must ensure you have represented your non standard construction home correctly. Underinsurance can result in economic losses to the policyholder due to the level of indemnity initially requested being lower than the actual level required to fully indemnifying the policyholder. Whilst a person underinsuring their insurance needs could potentially achieve a cheaper premium, the likely financial losses when it came to a claim may far exceed any marginal savings in insurance premiums.