Buying a non-standard construction house: what you need to know

Buying a house of non-standard construction? Find out what this means and how you go about insuring it.

Non-standard construction thatched roof house - A-Plan Insurance

When buying a traditional bricks-and-mortar house, we take it for granted that aspects of home ownership such as insurance and maintenance will be straightforward and nothing to be too concerned about. However, if you are in the process of house-hunting, and open to property-type, it is worth considering that the UK has more types of construction than almost anywhere else in the world – with over one million concrete prefabricated homes registered alone.

If you’re buying a non-standard construction house, there are a few extra considerations. Let’s take a look at what you need to think about if you’re buying a non-standard construction home, or how to ascertain whether or not it is in fact built of non-standard materials.

Can I get a mortgage on a non-standard construction house?

You can still mortgage a non-standard construction house, however you will need to check whether the property you are interested in, particularly if it is an older property built in the 50‘s or 60‘s, is not designated as defective under housing defects legislation.

Non-standard mortgage providers cover an array of properties from thatched roof homes, steel frames, concrete prefabs, listed country cottages, flats in a high rise, single brick, timber frame and more. Every lender will have their own criteria so using a mortgage broker could be a sensible starting point.

Using a chartered surveyor to assess your non-standard construction home is also important, as they can clarify whether it does, or doesn’t, fit into the non-standard category if you are unsure.

What does ‘non-standard construction’ mean?

When we talk about non-standard construction, we refer to homes that have been constructed using alternative methods and/or that have been made from building materials that aren’t the usual stone or brick.

For example, post-war concrete pre-fab homes are classed as non-standard standard construction concrete, as are 1960s steel framed houses. They are a form of non-standard build. But it isn’t just limited to older buildings.

Non-standard construction home with tin roof - A-Plan Insurance

Timber-framed buildings and log cabins are also classed as types of non-standard construction.

The roof counts too, so if the roof isn’t made from tile or slate, that’s also considered to be non-standard construction – so a thatched cottage or house with a tin roof would fall into this category.

Can I get non-standard construction house insurance?

Non-standard construction brings its own sets of risks, which differ from one material to another. Concrete, for instance, may start to crumble over time, while timber framed houses, log cabins or thatched cottages carry higher fire risks.

Non-standard construction log cabin - A-Plan Insurance

They often cost more to maintain, not just because they may need a greater degree of care and attention, but also because of the greater challenge of sourcing the specialist materials and skilled tradespeople needed to carry out the work.

It’s also worth considering the fact that because of these added risks and costs, you may find it more difficult to buy and sell a property with non-standard construction. Demand is typically lower for these kinds of properties, as potential buyers can be put off by the challenges of owning and maintaining such a home.

Because of that – and because of the greater associated risks and the fact that diligent maintenance is necessary for such properties to hold their value – lenders may be more wary of non-standard construction homes, making it harder to secure a mortgage to buy one. You may also encounter extra costs during the purchase process, such as additional surveys and legal costs.

Specialist insurance for non-standard construction homes

Because of the risks and costs associated with owning and maintaining non-standard construction homes, it stands to reason that they require specialist insurance, which may cost more than insuring a regular house.

If you’re thinking of buying a home with non-standard construction, or you own one and want to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your specialist home insurance, talk to our specialist non-standard construction home insurance team.

We’re experienced at finding the right non-standard construction insurance, working with a panel of expert insurers who can offer the tailored cover you need your non-standard construction house. You can contact us by telephone or pop into one of our high street branches. Find your local branch here.

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