Non Standard Construction Types and Materials

A tudor house built in non standard contruction
Non Standard Construction

What does non standard construction mean?

When Insurers refer to standard construction in respect of home buildings, they usually mean property that is built of brick, stone or concrete and roofed with slate, tiles, metal or concrete. Generally speaking to answer the question of what does non standard construction mean?, from an insurance perspective, any building that does not meet the criteria above is deemed to be of non-standard construction and insurers will either; decline cover, want a premium load or impose special terms.

It’s vital that this question is answered correctly on a proposal form as failure to do so could reduce or invalidate a claim. With the vast majority of buildings, it’s fairly straight forward to ascertain how a property is constructed, however when dealing with older style properties such as listed buildings, the task becomes harder and often a professional survey report is required  which should  list the construction materials that have been employed.

Another feature of listed property, especially ones that have stood for a number of centuries, is that over time they become modified. Prior to statutory controls being introduced to protect listed property, it is not unusual to find a home where the original portion is built of entirely different materials from later additions.
One of the most common forms of non-standard construction type is the property that has a flat roof.   In many cases however, if the percentage of flat roof is low, the risk is still considered to be standard and normal terms will be offered. The vast majority of flat roofs are constructed of felt on timber. Felt is layered bitumen impregnated material and is often confused with asphalt. Felt comes is rolls and is laid on a roof a strip at a time, whereas asphalt is poured on a prepared surface and then typically covered with gravel before it cools.

Non standard construction types and materials

You may see any of the following materials used in homes constructed in the United Kingdom especially older style properties

  1. Wattle & Daub– This is a form of wall construction consisting of interwoven twigs plastered with a mixture of clay, lime, water, and sometimes dung and chopped straw.  This is a fairly common material used in old listed buildings and builders were known to mix in any material that was “local” to the construction site.
  2. Lath & Plaster- This is also much used in Listed Buildings and consists of thin narrow strips of wood nailed to rafters, joists, or studding as groundwork for slates, tiles, or plaster.
  3. Rendering– Not usually considered being non- standard on its own as it is a coat of plaster or cement applied to a masonry surface. However, the material below the rendering should always be checked.
  4. Stucco- A durable finish for exterior walls, usually composed of cement, sand, and lime, and applied while wet. Or in can also be a  plaster or cement finish for interior walls
  5. Asbestos- A heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, used in fire-resistant and insulating materials. Uncommon nowadays because of the health risks associated with the product.
  6. Strammit- A brand make of paneling that has been in use for over 50 years, Strammit panels have a high strength to weight ratio and provide good thermal and acoustic insulation and outstanding resistance to fire.
  7. Weather Board– Weatherboarding is the cladding or ‘siding’ of a house consisting of long thin timber boards that overlap one another, either vertically or horizontally on the outside of the wall. They are usually of rectangular section with parallel sides.
  8. Mundic Block– Houses built containing Mundic block are often difficult to mortgage, even if only a portion of the property contains Mundic. Usually mine or mineral waste contained in concrete is used which can cause it to decay as it can easily absorb water.
  9. Cob- Cob is a building material consisting of clay, sand, straw, water, and earth and is often seeing in older style properties such as Thatched Buildings
  10. Pan-Tile- A roofing tile with an S-shaped profile, laid so that the down curve of one tile overlaps the up curve of the next one. Not considered to be non-standard but very popular for covering listed buildings.
  11. Lime Plaster– Lime plaster is type of plaster composed of hydrated lime, sand and water.
  12. Plasterboard- A rigid board made of layers of fibreboard or paper bonded to a gypsum plaster core

We hope you have found this article useful and if you have a property that has any of the above material used in its construction, then Highhouse Insurance will endeavour to provide you with a buildings insurance quotation. We have facilities to quote for buildings of all ages and descriptions and welcome your enquiry.

Highhouse specialise in non standard construction insurance. Our flexible policies are underwritten using only the highest rated insurers and unlike many other listed building and thatch insurance policies we cover a wide range of different listed building categories in the UK including Grade 1, Grade 2* and Grade 2 as well as Grade A, Grade B and Grade C in Scotland. If you require listed building insurance today or at some point in the future then call us direct on 01243 606552 or fill in our quick property quote form.