What is non standard construction?

Generally, insurance companies label a residential property as ‘made of non-standard construction’ if the outer walls are built from any materials other than brick or stone and the roof is covered with anything other than slate or tile.

Although bricks and tiles are the standard materials to use when constructing a house in the UK, a large proportion of properties are built using materials that fall outside of this norm. These properties are often just as sturdy and stable as traditional builds but unfortunately, non-standard construction mortgages can be harder to obtain and many standard insurers can be reluctant to provide cover for anything that is a little bit different. We aim to cover one of the widest ranges of non-standard construction types on the market. Detailed below are some of the non-standard construction insurance policies we offer and we have also provided some details on identifying non-standard construction within your property.

Home insurance for non-standard construction properties

  • Buildings cover up to £1.5million
  • Contents cover up to £150,000
  • Personal possessions up to £40,000
  • Trace & Access cover up to £5000
  • Damage caused by theft or attempted theft
  • Malicious damage cover
  • Structural damage from subsidence, heave or landslip
  • Cover against flood and storm damage
  • Damage caused by escape of water or oil
  • Legal cover Included as standard
  • Public liability cover included as standard
  • Average call centre answer time under 1 minute




Types of non standard construction houses


Steel framed:

Such materials are still being used to this day within the building of modern, state of the art homes. Whilst they are characterised by their ease of building, their lightweight nature, and their affordability, 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 regarded as not being very flame resistant, meaning that if there is a fire the heat can cause the steel beams to warp and give way, causing substantial damage to the entire property structure.


Steel frame being constructed for house

BISF Construction:

BIFS houses are steel framed houses built by the British Iron and Steel Federation from 1946. Approximately 50,000 homes were built across the country, predominantly in pairs but there were terraces. There are a number of issues that can make insurance for BISF properties difficult, such as the fact that BISF house roofing contains asbestos which is extremely hazardous to health if disrupted. 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 house insulation can also result in condensation. Carrying out rectification work would need to be done with the neighbouring property which can be difficult.


BISF steel frame property of non-standard construction

Timber Frame:

Many mainstream insurers often view a timber-framed construction as a complex or ‘non-standard’ property. The result is an increase in their prices to cover such a risk, especially when seeking insurance for an old timber framed home. There are number of reasons for this, including a wooden frame’s susceptibility to fire. Any wood frame building is susceptible to fire damage given the nature of the materials used during construction. Lightweight in density, timber homes in many instances are built with little or no foundations at all. With such implications in mind, shallow foundations can lead to cases of subsidence, whereby you may experience cracks in your external brickwork and internal plasterwork.

Timber frame property on non-standard construction


A prefabricated home is a form of home that has been largely manufactured off-site and is transported to a different location for assembly. Prefabricated houses largely came into widespread use after the Second World War, being erected as temporary accommodation following the devastation of the Blitz. Due to their nature of construction they can be costly to repair if damage occurs as whole sections of the property’s structure can need to be replaced. However, they are generally considered to be relatively robust and dependent on the materials used there are mainstream lenders who will provide a mortgage on properties of this construction type.


Modular property components of non-standard construction property


Concrete homes often also fall into the category of prefabricated buildings, as concrete is the most common material used in the construction of these. 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 but they can still be perceived as being a higher risk property type. This is because they can be more susceptible to water damage to the foundations and the steel foundations that are usually used in such builds can corrode and give way.


Concrete property of non-standard construction


Cob buildings is a traditional construction style consisting of a natural building material made from subsoil, water, fibrous organic material (typically straw), and sometimes lime. The materials are then mixed together, often by foot, in order to form a malleable material. The construction method has barely changed in the history of cob houses.

Unsurprisingly, insurance for cob houses can be difficult to obtain as it is very different to a standard brick and tile property. However, cob construction has proved to be very sturdy, with the oldest recorded building still standing at over 10,000 years old. Therefore, we aim to provide competitive quotes for cob construction insurance meaning no matter how your home was made you can make sure it is protected.


Cob construction house


Clunch is another traditional building material that is made of chalky limestone rock. Unlike cob buildings, it is not a construction type that is often used in modern buildings but 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 more difficult to obtain and mortgage on an insure. We are able to provide cover for Clunch buildings dependent on condition and year of build.


House built of clunch construction


Bungaroosh construction uses an assortment of materials such as whole or broken bricks, cobblestones, flints, small pebbles, sand and pieces of wood. These are then placed in hydraulic lime and poured it between shuttering until it has set. This construction type is most common among properties in the south-east, particularly Brighton. It was prevalent in these areas from the late 18th to late 19th century, meaning lots of older houses in this area are made from this material. One of the drawbacks of Bungaroosh construction is that is it perceived to have poor resistance to water, once again making houses of this type difficult to mortgage or insure due to the non-standard construction problems that can arise.


Row of houses made of bungaroosh non standard construction

If you own a property made from one of the non-standard construction types mentioned above, or a different material, and are looking for home insurance then CoverBuilder are here to help. With an online quote system providing an instant decision, as well as competitive pricing on a variety of construction types, we’re here to help you protect your unusual home.


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 can be reluctant to provide cover due to the susceptibility of these buildings to damage, as well as the expense of trying to repair such problems. This particular 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.


Non-Standard Property Risks


Insurance for non-standard construction homes

Many insurers will only look to cover the common or standard methods of construction usually brick of stone. For most customers, this is appropriate and covers exactly what they need. However, there are many customers who need specialist cover due to the unusual building materials used in their property construction.


Examples of complicated specialist risks


If you have plans to conduct a home renovation project, you will need to consider revising your standard home insurance policy to ensure that you are protected from any damages caused by building work.


Empty and unoccupied white room with cardboard box on the floorThere may be a number of reasons why your home is left unoccupied during the year. You may be awaiting a sale or probate, or be planning an extended trip abroad. If this is the case, you will need to consider revising your household policy and inform your insurer if your property is vacant for more than 30 consecutive days.


Flat roof properties are deemed to be higher risk due to their susceptibility to damage caused by weather and burglaries. When there is a large downpour of snow or rain, there is a tendency for excess water that is not drained from the roof, to pond and cause the roof to sag and eventually leak into the property.


Brick wall with two cracks through the brickwork due to foundation subsidenceIf subsidence has ever been an issue for your property, you will know that it can cause a number of cracks to appear in the external brickwork and internal plasterwork of your home. Properties that suffer subsidence offer require underpinning to ensure its future stability. A previously underpinned property can raise alarm bells with most mainstream insurers, with some being reluctant to provide cover at all.

Homes come in all shapes and sizes and whilst it’s good to have a property that is aesthetically and structurally different to the norm, you may experience difficulty obtaining home insurance. Insurers are dubious of the structural soundness and materials used during unusual construction. Non-standard construction can include examples such as Timber and steel frame properties.

Non-Standard Construction Buildings Insurance

no cancellation feeAs a specialist provider of Home Insurance, CoverBuilder offers cover for properties of various and unusual build and material types. We offer competitive rates where other insurers are either unable to cover or only at an inflated cost. All are quotes can be done 100% online with an instant decision and price.

Our Home Insurance Benefits include;

Get a quote now or search below for more information on the types of property build we cover.




Need a little help quoting?

We have insurance experts ready to help if you want to ask a question. Our average call answering is under 1 minute so give us a call on 0333 358 3359 or chat with us online via our livechat option (bottom right).

100% online quote feature

Our website is designed to be able to quote for over 40+ types of non-standard insurance without the need to call us and go through the details over the phone. We ask all the questions we need online to be able to provide you with a price. Get your quote now, or read on about the specialist risks we cover below.

We like the extraordinary building construction

At CoverBuilder we work with a number of insurers who specialise in offering home insurance policies to those who, unfortunately, fall into a non-standard construction category. Our enhanced risk coverage means we can firstly, offer you a policy where others might have turned you away and secondly we can offer you a policy without penalising you on price.


builders standing outside non-standard construction property

Non-Standard Construction Mortgage issues

In the same way that insurance for a non-standard property requires a specialist insurer, like us! often mortgages will need to be sourced from an accommodating lender. For many of the same reasons, there is generally a reluctance to offer funds to mortgage a property of non-standard build often because the investment cannot be easily accounted for.

For example, if you were to have your home repossessed due to non-payment it could be more difficult for the lender/debt manager to shift the property off their liability to recoup the money. There is also the maintenance and on-going specialist upkeep of non-standard properties. Often more complex and needing continuous care and attention, non-standard properties, for example, a thatched roof, generally require more expensive and regular maintenance from a trained service provider. Therefore poor upkeep can cause issues with the property valuation further down the line.

The danger of underinsuring yourself and your property


The definition of underinsurance

An inadequate representation of the insurance risks and covers being requested by the intended policyholder. In the event of a claim, 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.

Withholding vital information – the moral hazard

Some customers might feel if they don’t reveal all the details about their situation then they can ‘get away’ with an everyday policy. The unforeseen issue that comes back to haunt such customers at the point of claim.

Example: A person deliberately withholds information about previous subsidence at the property on a new insurance policy. During the new policy term, the subsidence reoccurs causing severe damage to a load-bearing wall. As part of the claim, an assessor will be sent by the insurance company to verify the damage and root cause. A claims assessor can identify the age of the problem and any previous subsidence. This could lead to the insurance revoking the policy and refusing the claim, leaving the person to foot the costly bill to repair the property.

non-standard construction house



Confidence when you need to claim

We know the reason people buy any insurance is to feel safe that if the worst should happen then you have someone to turn to help make the situation right. Our question set is designed to ask you all the questions we need to understand you and your property. So long as you answer fully and to the best of your knowledge then this makes the claiming process really straightforward with no nasty surprises.