If you are not a property expert it can be difficult to tell what type of construction your home was built to. The housing stock of the United Kingdom is highly diverse and it can be useful to know what kind of construction your house was built to, particularly if you are looking at selling or need to know about the construction of a house for the purposes of getting a mortgage.
In this article we will discuss the main methods of construction that make up the UK’s housing stock.
Brick and block
This is a traditional method of building in which the walls are built in two leaves. In brick and block construction there is an internal blockwork wall and an external wall which is typically made from either brick or stone. These walls combine with internal blockwork walls to support the structure of the house.
The majority of houses and bungalows in the UK are formed of brick and block construction. Before 1930-1950 solid wall insulation was common, however, after this period, cavity walls tend to predominate.
It is likely that there are more types of construction in the UK than in almost any other country in the world. In the field of property, the term "non-standard construction" is often used to describe any construction outside of traditional brick and block builds. For example:
This usually denotes to housing systems built between 1918 and 1980. This term refers to houses that are:
In situ concrete
The phenomenon of prefabricated housing was precipitated by a population boom after the Second World War, whereby there was an urgent need for affordable housing that could be built quickly to shelter the country’s growing population.
It is estimated that around 1,000,000 prefabricated dwellings were built in the UK with the majority being intended to provide long-term accommodation. The non-traditional housing of the post-war era often involved innovative construction methods such as structural frames (formed of metal, concrete or wood) and cladding.
While most prefabricated homes performed well from a structural point of view, unfortunately, a number of these non-traditional housing types were deemed defective under the 1984 Housing Defects legislation. These defective types are frequently over-clad or show signs of significant remedial works. For more information on non-traditional housing types visit BRE Group
Modern Methods of Construction
This term refers to properties composed of parts, made either off-site or on-site, from the mid-1990s onwards. The term can encompass a wide range of building styles and can refer to complete factory-built housing systems or new site-based technologies.
Other types of non-standard construction
As non-standard construction refers to basically any type of construction outside of the brick and block method, it can include a wide variety of property construction types including:
Mortgages and non-standard construction
You may have concerns over the likelihood of securing a mortgage for a property of non-standard construction. While this is a concern, it is often possible to secure a mortgage for non-standard property.
For lenders, the issue is not only new construction types, but also the older types which may not have performed as well as was intended.
If you are concerned about whether or not potential buyers will be able to secure a mortgage in order to buy your home, you might consider selling at auction to encourage cash buyers or getting in touch with a property-buying firm rather than listing your property on the conventional housing market.
How can I get a mortgage for a non-standard construction property?
There are no guarantees when it comes to whether or not you will be able to get a mortgage for a non-standard construction property. With buildings constructed in an unusual fashion, lenders are concerned about future value or the potential for buildings to become irreparably damaged in the future.
If you are successful in securing a mortgage on a non-standard construction property it is likely that the purchase will require a large deposit and you may not be able to access competitive mortgage rates.
Before starting the process of applying for a mortgage for a non-traditional property, it might be a good idea to ask a local surveyor if they have ever approved a similar property for lenders in the past. This can help you to see whether or not you will be successful in securing a mortgage for the property in question.
If in doubt, call in the experts
When it comes to property, there is no substitute for a specialist opinion. If you are not entirely sure what type of construction a property was built to then it’s a good idea to solicit further advice from a property expert.