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Is My Property a Non-Standard Building?

24 February 2017

News Category 1

Non-standard buildings are those that deviate from standard buildings. Standard buildings are made from brick and mortar or stone, with a slate or tile roof. Non-standard buildings, therefore are made from materials that don’t conform to the standard, and are built from materials such as prefabricated concrete, steel frames, timber frames, and wattle & daub.

Non-standard buildings often use outdated and old-fashioned construction methods and materials, such as wattle and daub. Some types of non-standard building are specific to the region in which they were built, as utilise the materials found in that area.

You will need to know whether your property is a non-standard building as non-standard properties can cause implications with mortgages, insurance and selling. There are difficulties associated with maintenance of these types of homes, and the cost of maintenance and insurance can be higher because the use of non-standard materials increases risk.

The most common types of non-standard buildings are made from:

Timber Frames

Timber frames were popular in the 15th century, and only 8% of homes are constructed with timber frames in the UK today. Often timber frame houses can look like standard properties, as they are hidden beneath brick and mortar. Timber frames are durable and energy efficient, but can be prone to rot if not maintained.

Steel Frame

Steel frames were most commonly used in the 19th century and offer flexible design options and are resistant to rot and decay. However, they conduct heat and the cold, making it difficult to preserve energy in steel-framed property.

Wattle and Daub

Wattle and daub uses mud and straw and were used to construct homes more than 6000 years ago. Likewise, cob homes are prehistoric and are built using clay, sand, and straw. There are still tens of thousands of cob homes still standing in the UK as they are flexible and regulate temperature. These types of non-standard property do however need protection from the elements and require specialist repairs when damaged.

Prefabricated Concrete

There are more than 1.5 million concrete prefabricated homes in the UK. They were constructed after the Second World War to provide emergency affordable housing to those who lost their homes. However, concrete does not last as long as standard materials like brick and stone, and crumble and crack more easily. The steel frames which support the concrete are also susceptible to corrosion, leaving the home with a compromised structure.

An alarming number of UK homes carry these non-standard traits and are labelled as ‘designated defected’ under housing defects legislation. It is crucial to consult a chartered surveyor to assess whether your building is non-standard, and they can also offer you advice on the structural integrity of the building and lifespan of the property. So, if you are unsure as to whether your home is non-standard, contact Allcott Associates today.

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