As laptops in my house appear to be disposable items at the moment with the 3rd going kapput in 3 years
You need to figure out what you are doing with them that's causing so much damage.
Something to consider - more expensive laptops (such as this Lenovo) have a metal frame inside, that helps to stop the laptop flexing when you handle it and pick it up by the sides etc. This flex can cause tiny cracks in things and end up damaging it. The heavier the laptop the worse this is.
Also - they may be getting overly hot somehow. Your house may be especially dusty or something, or you use them where they can't be properly venilated like on a duvet say.
What do you mean by 'kaput' anyway?
piece is software from hell
Just because it's new, doesn't mean it's bad. Get used to it and you will have one less problem. It works fine.
As I want the next one to last are there any manufacturers or models that are generally accepted as a better standard
No, but there are different standards within each manufacturer's range. But they aren't that good at telling you which ones are the well made ones. I'd guess that the more expensive ones are the ones with the metal chassis, which should be more durable.