In the UK, there are various construction types for homes. The way a house is built can affect its price and insurance, so before purchasing a home it’s important to find out its construction type. A survey will provide you with this information and any risk factors associated with it.
In this blog, we take a look at the different construction types in the UK.
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The majority of homes are of traditional construction, whether it be a house, bungalow, or low-rise flats. They have walls made of brick or blocks, and these are either solid or cavity depending on the year of build. If the property was built from the 1800s to around 1935 it will be solid, if they were built from 1935 it will likely be cavity walls. Your surveyor will be able to tell you if you aren’t sure. Traditional construction also has roofs which are sloped.
If the property is constructed of anything different to brick or block, it will be non-traditional. Examples of these alternative constructions are concrete (pre-cast or in-situ), metal framed, and timber framed.
Houses constructed with metal frames can be misleading as they have the appearance of a traditional build. In the UK, there are only 140,000 houses built with metal frames, and a few built with aluminium frames. Most of these were constructed following the second World War as homes needed to be re-built quickly. They are finished with brick, render, or imitation brick to look like a traditional house.
Inside the roof space is what will give away if the house is metal framed. There will often be an unlined sheathed metal framing or metal stud framing which is lined with plasterboard.
Insurance can be a problem with metal framed constructed houses as they are expensive to fix if anything were to go wrong. The metal is subject to warping and is not very flame resistant, increasing the cost of insurance.
In the 1920s, 1950s and 1960s, some homes were built with concrete panels for walls. In the UK there are now around 284,000 homes built like this. Pre-cast concrete houses come in two types, they can either be panel or pre-cast:
- Panel – created in a factory, these concrete panels are transported to the building site. If used as external walls, they either look like concrete or have brick or tile attached to look like a traditional build.
- Pre-cast – concrete frames with in-fill panels. These panels are slotted into the frame and are most often found in properties with two storeys.
More costly than traditional builds, but intended to be cheaper, in-situ concrete was introduced between the two World Wars in the UK. Between the 1940s and 1970s, Wimpey homes were built with in-situ concrete. Both these and other similar pre-fabricated houses can, like pre-cast concrete construction, be harder to insure. For in-situ concrete builds this is because they are easier to damage.
Properties with timber frames began being constructed in the 1920s and between then and the 1970s, around 108,000 houses were built of this type. A decade later, in the 1980s, brick and block constructions increased in popularity, until the 1990s when timber frames made a come back.
Timber framed properties are more susceptible to fire and therefore homes constructed like this will again likely cost more to insure.
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I began writing for Property Press Online in October 2019. Particular areas of interest are housing market news and new developments in the market.