What is a standard construction home?

If your property consists of materials other than these it’s entirely possible that it qualifies for non-standard construction insurance

A home made of bricks, mortar (concrete) or stone with a pitched slate or tiled roof. If your property includes any sort of frame (IE timber or steel), modular parts or any construction material that is not ‘standard’ (as above) it wouldn’t qualify as standard construction. 

Homes are considered non-standard construction if they are built of anything other than the standard building materials:

For walls:

  • Concrete, or
  • Brick,
  • Stone

For roofs:

  • Slate, or
  • Tiles

Types of Non-Standard Construction

Timber Framed / Timber 

A timber framed and timber cladded home is one of the non-traditional construction types since it doesn’t meet the requirement of standard construction. Older timber framed homes are more vulnerable to fire, which can drive up insurance costs. It is important electric inspections are up to date in timber properties. We also recommend having interlinked smoke detectors alongside fire extinguishers around the home. 

Pre-fabricated or Modular

Rising into popularity after World War 2, prefabricated homes are built off-site and are then transported to their final location to be assembled. These homes can be expensive to repair when damaged or weathered due to the rarity of materials and architecture. So when they need to be repaired or replaced it can often involve replacing whole sections of the structure.

Steel Framed 

A key moniker of steel framed houses is their ease of construction, and how affordable they are. However, steel frame construction can be expensive and complex to insure as they are usually costly to repair and are not considered to be greatly flame resistant, so a fire can cause the steel beams to warp leading to potential catastrophic structural issues for the whole property.

Flat Roof

Flat roof insurance cover usually fits into the category of non-standard construction as the low pitch of the roof along with the fact they’re often constructed of timber frames or concrete. Flat roof homes are often susceptible to leaks, burglars and weather damage due to a lack of drainage. The collection of these factors is why you’ll need specialist cover as you may encounter some additional risks. If the overall flat roof construction is up to 25%, then most standard home insurance products will cover this, anything over 25% will fit into the non-standard construction category.


Many newer builds and extensions integrate sections of glass into the design allowing for ample natural light and connectedness with the outside. Double glazing glass has high manufacturing costs and is usually ‘cut to fit’. Whatsmore, if large sections of glazing is damaged the home has increased exposure to wind and water. 


This variation of steel-framed homes  have been built by the British Iron and Steel Federation from 1946 onwards.  Unfortunately, they feature a number of factors that inhibit insuring them and create problems. A key issue you may face with BISF properties is the fact that they’re built with corrugated asbestos, cement, or steel roofing sheets. Through years of wear and tear, these elements begin to deteriorate and show signs of erosion, therefore, making them hard to insure. 

Wattle & Daub 

Wattle and Daub is a composite building method in which a woven lattice of wooden strips (wattle) is daubed with a sticky material, usually formed of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and straw. This method has existed for over 6000 years and is very durable –  you’ve likely seen buildings constructed using this method that are hundreds of years old. 

As this building technique is relatively rare in modern-day, repairs can be tough – especially for sourcing a specialist.  When the walls are damaged from the weather, or any other hazards, they can be difficult to fix; this  is why they’re often expensive to insure.


Cob is  one of the oldest construction methods available. Formed of natural building materials such as water, subsoil, lime and straw,  Cob is hard-wearing but usually requires specialist knowledge to maintain it. This extra risk of difficult maintenance increases the risk of damage and wear and tear over time. Therefore,  it’s common that Cob construction homes are more expensive to insure.

What type of insurance do I need for non-standard construction?

Non-standard insurance is actually much more inclusive than you might expect, as it usually includes any kind of construction other than the standard bricks and mortar with slate or tile.  

The most common are Timber, Flat Roof & Steel Framed. Many insurers provide cover for a wide variety of non-standard construction types, however, it does usually come at an additional expense to regular home insurance. This is in line with the additional risks that your property can face, and when it comes to your home we understand that peace of mind is priceless.

How Stanhope Can Help

Here at Stanhope we offer coverage for a huge range of non-standard building types including:

  • Timber framed / timber
  • Steel framed
  • Flat roof
  • Thatched roof
  • Barn conversions
  • Cob house
  • Wattle and daub house
  • Asbestos
  • Asphalt
  • Flint
  • Prefab
  • Concrete
  • Glass
  • Fibreglass
  • Bungaroosh

We offer solutions that consider a range of factors such as age, materials, security, value and more so we can provide you with the most accurate cover and pricing – so when something goes wrong you know that we can help you make it right. If you have questions about whether your home is non-standard construction or you’re interested in getting a quote, contact us and our team will be happy to help you understand how it can benefit you.

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Written by Matthew Ashton

I started working in the insurance industry in 2004. Four years later, I left to focus on theological studies, working as a youth worker and then as a ministry director in Seattle, USA. When returning to the UK, I had an opportunity to work for the late Andrew Marchington. I joined his firm as a sales advisor when it had around ten staff members. Within three years, I was Head of Ops with a staff team of over 30 people. After a chance encounter in 2019 with Rachel Living and Will Cooper, I decided to co-start Stanhope and build a high-value home, luxury watch, and jewellery broker synonymous with trust. I love being with Donna, my wife, and four kids when not working, cramming in the odd row, or running when I can. I am fortunate to love what I do and consider it a blessing to grow the Stanhope brand.

Matthew Ashton

Date: Thursday 23rd February, 3:15pm

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