What is non-standard construction?
Generally, if materials other than brick or stone are used to make the outer walls of a property, insurers will label it as non-standard. Anything other than slate or tile on the roof will also make your property non-standard. Bricks and tiles are the standard materials to use when building a house in the UK. However, lots of properties are built using materials that fall outside of this norm. These properties are often just as sturdy and stable as traditional builds. Unfortunately, non-standard construction mortgages can be harder to obtain. Many standard insurers can be reluctant to provide cover for anything that is a little bit different. We cover one of the widest ranges of non-standard construction types on the market.
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.
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.
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.
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 construction type.
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 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.
Clunch is another traditional building material that is made of chalky limestone rock. It is not often used in modern buildings. 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.
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.
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.
Non-Standard Property Risks
If you have plans to conduct a home renovation project, you will need to consider changing your standard home insurance policy.
You may be awaiting a sale or probate, or be planning an extended trip abroad which means your home is unoccupied. 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 are more susceptible to damage caused by weather and burglaries. Excess water can pool on flat roofs when there is a large downpour of snow or rain. This can cause the roof to sag and eventually leak into the property.
If subsidence has ever been an issue for your property, you will know that it can cause a number of cracks to appear in the brickwork and 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 insurer. Many will avoid offering a quote for such risks.