Deficiencies in Homes of Unconventional Construction

Homebuyers and lenders often raise concerns with non-standard homes due to the defects...

Homebuyers and lenders often raise concerns with non-standard homes due to the defects they are usually prone to and which building surveyors ordinarily flag.

Home Construction in the 20th Century

More cost-effective building techniques were sought out during the 1900s with system-built homes emerging after WWII. It was only in the 1970s that poor design and bad construction began to emerge and the resulting defects related to insulation, noise, condensation and cladding failure. The Housing Defects Act of 1984 identified such properties as defective and provided the relevant funding for repairs.

Unconventional Construction

Non-traditional property departed from the norm of brick or stone walls and slate or tiled roofing in favour of metal or timber framed systems as well as pre-cast reinforced or in-situ concrete, but these also posed unique challenges and defects.

Timber Framed Systems

Although timber framed houses have been around for centuries, those built between the 1940s and 1960s often developed issues relating to moisture such as condensation and wood rot, particularly if cavities were fully insulated. Buildings which have brick cladding experience other problems such as differential movement between the timber structure and brickwork.

Concrete Structures

Concrete buildings consist of pre-cast reinforced and solid in-situ structures, but it is difficult to identify these properties after refurbishment. Concerns include the carbonation of concrete and which leads to metal corrosion resulting in compromised structural integrity.

Steel Framed

The British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF) developed steel-framed homes and were not classified as defective under the Housing Defects Act 1984. Still, challenges arose due to corrosion in corner sections and reduced thermal efficiency. Asbestos roofing on BISF homes was also installed.

Mortgage Approval

You may experience difficulty in securing a mortgage for an unconventional home due to requirements set by lenders. Even houses without defects may face hurdles if they have non-standard construction features and so mortgage approval issues are commonly found with:

  • pre-cast reinforced concrete properties lacking certified repair schemes;
  • timber framed houses built between 1945 1970; or
  • houses with fully insulated cavities regardless of age.

Pre-fabricated homes include a variety of house designs with many showing issues and significant flaws. Despite some houses performing well others might need repairs or renovations and so buyers and lenders should thoroughly assess the construction style, potential defects, and eligibility for mortgages prior to purchase by appointing a building surveyor.