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A Guide to Non-Standard Construction Houses

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Non-standard construction houses are, as you might imagine, buildings that are built differently from more traditional built homes.

But what are the considerations when buying or selling a property of non-standard construction? Let’s take a look.

What is a non-standard construction house?

A non-standard construction house is a house that does not follow the conventional brick-and-mortar or timber-frame building method.

These properties may have been built with a variety of materials and techniques such as concrete, steel, or even prefabricated components.

Understanding the type of construction of a building is important as it impacts everything from structural integrity to your mortgage options.

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Types of non-standard construction houses in the UK

In the UK, properties of non-standard construction come in several forms. The most cited are:

  • Concrete houses: Often built post-World War II, these homes were built quickly to address housing shortages.
  • Steel-framed houses: These properties use steel frames instead of traditional wooden ones.
  • Timber-framed houses: Although now more common and considered standard, some older timber-framed houses might still be classed as non-standard due to outdated building techniques.
  • Prefabricated houses: Also known as prefab homes, are manufactured off-site and assembled on-site, offering a quick and cost-effective building solution.

Challenges when buying

Buying a property that isn’t of standard construction comes with its challenges. These often include but are not limited to:

Getting a mortgage

Getting a mortgage on these types of properties might, in some cases, prove tricky. Lenders lend based on risk, so it might end up being directed to a more specialised lender.

Speak to your mortgage broker as soon as you can as they have experience with various lenders’ appetite (or not) for risk.

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Getting insurance

In some instances, this might be more challenging and/or expensive. The more unique and different a property is the more expensive and time-consuming it can be to fix if something goes wrong. It could also mean that specialist trades are required too. All of this means it’s becoming more expensive for the insurer, resulting in higher premiums.

Like lenders there are specialist insurers out there who will lend on non-standard builds, just be sure to shop around.


These properties can be harder to sell, simply because you narrow your pool of potential buyers.

Having a good estate agent representing you will help here; their expertise and connections can be invaluable. They can help by leveraging their knowledge, network, and negotiation skills.

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How to tell if a house is of non-standard construction

This information should be on the title deeds of the property, or you can search the local area archive.

As well as to review any property documents like property records, building permits, and previous surveys.

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Should you buy a house of non-standard construction?

Buying a non-standard construction house requires careful consideration and thorough research. But don’t let it put you off if you’ve found a property that ticks all the boxes.

If you go in with your eyes wide open and are aware there may be a few challenges, these homes can offer unique living spaces.

Top tip: ensure the property undergoes a detailed survey to assess its condition and value. This can reassure lenders of the property’s viability.

By working with specialised lenders and knowledgeable estate agents, you can navigate the complexities and make an informed decision about investing in this type of home.

Last Updated: May 22nd, 2024