Are the houses in Moreton Way Cippenham (SL1 5LS) non- standard build?  

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CB87
 CB87
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15/10/2018 4:46 pm  

This is my first time so really sorry if I get it wrong. To be quite honest all this is going a bit over my head. I have never heard of a prefabricated home so it is all new to me.

I have been looking at buying a house that is perfect for my family the estate agent has said it is possible a non-standard build. 

Is anyone able to help please?

 

Thank you


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Admin
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15/10/2018 10:19 pm  

Hello CB87

Warmest of welcomes.

I’ve taken a quick look at the properties in the location provided and I believe that these houses are known as Wimpey No Fines construction.

The wimpey no fines isn’t a prefabricated house but it is of non standard construction, meaning not made from traditional brick or stone.

Take a look at this page here and if you have any more questions please let me know.

Regards

Marc

 


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CB87
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16/10/2018 7:47 am  

Hi Marc

Thank you very much for your quick reply.

 I know even less about this type 🙁 I will have a read up.

 

thanks again 


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Admin
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16/10/2018 12:30 pm  

Hi CB

In essence, these houses were built using a specific type of concrete called No Fines concrete. No fines, simply means concrete that does not contain any fine particles such as sand vs standard concrete, which does contain sand. The mix of the concrete would typically be 1 part cement to 10 parts aggregate (gravel).

Normal concrete mixes do vary according to the desired strength, but a typical mix of 1 part cement,  3 parts sand, and 3 parts aggregate would create standard concrete.

The idea was that by removing fine sand or (Fines) from the mix, the newly formed concrete would contain very small air holes that would aid thermal insulation. This did help to insulate the houses to some extent but compared to today’s higher insulation requirements, the No fines house is not considered to be very efficient in thermal terms.

Traditionally built houses would often have a cavity that could be filled with insulation. The no fines houses do not have a cavity at all which makes it harder to add more insulation, although today, many homes can now be fitted with external insulation which helps to reduce heat loss.

The good news is that hundreds of thousands of these houses have been built across the UK (330,000+) and unlike many other types of poured concrete house, they have never been classed as defective under the housing act. This is mainly because the no fines house never used steel reinforcements inside the concrete walls, which in other forms of construction, often resulted in adverse chemical reactions and a breakdown of the concrete which is often referred to as concrete cancer.

In general this type of construction has fared very well when compared to other forms of construction and generally, due to the fact that they are classified as Non Standard or Non Traditional construction, they also tend to be a little cheaper than a like for like traditional brick house.

This difference in price isn’t because the house is any better or worse than a standard brick house but simply because the UK housing market has always favoured traditional brick/ stone over Non Traditional forms of construction. The fact that some forms of Non Traditional Construction have performed very badly since the War, certainly hasn’t helped to raise the profile of this type of construction in general.

The UK is quite unique in this view toward Non Standard Construction, especially considering that in the rest of Europe and the US, Non Traditional Constructions can often outweigh traditional ones.

I will add a couple of reports below for you.

The first report are comments taken from an actual survey of a No Fines Houses. It’s not very in depth but it does mention a few valid points.

The second report is a little more technical as it is an study into the No Fines concrete itself. The report was conducted by the Glasgow Caledonian University which you may also find useful.

Bare in mind also that Wimpey no fines houses were built from 1945 to 1964 onward. During this time the overall designs and structure did change quite significantly, especially in regard to wall thickness and the use of reinforcements.

The main build variants/ changes took place in the following periods;

1945-1952 

1957 onward 

1964 onward

 

 

 


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Admin
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16/10/2018 12:32 pm  

Comments from Surveyors report

Wimpey no-fines houses

“No Fines In-situ Concrete”, usually built by Wimpey Homes and understood to be under their own patent.

The houses were built mainly for Local Authorities, all over the country because of the
speed of construction and a shortage of skilled bricklayers after the Second World War,

Most houses were built between 1947 and 1977. This form of construction tended to die out when cheap high insulation blockwork became readily available.

Foundations

Previous investigation of this type of house revealed that the foundations are of conventional design.

External walls and central party wall

Formed in in-situ concrete with an overall thickness including plaster and render of around 13″. The concrete is called ‘No Fines’. This means that the concrete is formed with cement and aggregate; there is no sand. The mix is 1:10 with 1-part cement to 10 parts, 20mm aggregate. The purpose of this form of construction was to reduce costs and leave the wall aerated to aid insulation. The walls are not reinforced and rely on their mass for strength.

The concrete was formed in-situ usually from a batching plant on site and the formwork used to frame out the wall was removed after the concrete had set. It is normally the case that “No Fines” construction in domestic dwellings does not have a cavity.

It is common for external walls and central party walls to also be constructed from ‘no fines concrete’, with the external face of the walls rendered to increase weather protection.

General points

  • It can be difficult to replace the render. The render achieves an excellent key with the Because the concrete has no sand, one can often break away sections of the same when removing existing render. The same applies to plaster internally (if not dry lined).
  • There is usually no cavity, therefore the walls can be affected by leaking gutters etc., particularly if the external render is not weatherproof.
  • Insulation properties of this form of construction did not live up to expectations. Dry lining and extra render tended to solve this to a certain extent.
  • The method of construction was unconventional. Some people can be prejudiced against the same. However this form of construction is not classed as defective under the Housing Defects Act 1984.
  • Alterations and repairs to walls sometimes prove more difficult than conventional

Although these properties are of non-conventional build, previous contact with Local Authorities in general, report no significant issues with this type of construction.


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Admin
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16/10/2018 12:37 pm  

The Glasgow Caledonian University report PDF file.


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Admin
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16/10/2018 1:03 pm  

Lastly, one in depth report into No Fines houses that looked at the feasibility of performance upgrade costs (refurbishment) from a Local Authority/ Social Housing perspective. In short, it looked to see if it was worth investing large sums of local Authority cash to bring the properties up to modern day standards of performance.

The report does conclude with a negative view toward refurbishment due to costs and other factors, however, from a homeowners perspective, a typical No Fines house can be externally insulated for around £9 – £10k which is considerably less than what some Local Authorities end up paying. So the report may be a little biased in that perspective.


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CB87
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17/10/2018 9:22 am  

Thank you so very much for help.

Most of what i have read on the no-fines has been very positive. My biggest concern now really is whether the house will not be  worth anything when we come to sell it. I would like this to be our forever family home so wouldn’t look to sell for 40ish years.

I don’t want to leave my children with a worthless house.

The house is perfect for us but it is just our luck that there is a spanner in the works. It’s never plain sailing.

The house does need work  it is quite dated and it is up for sale for £360K so not cheap.

The worries 🙁

 

 


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Admin
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17/10/2018 12:14 pm  

Hi CB, I completely understand your concerns.

My role here is to present the reported facts about each property type and to highlight any defects or issues that may be present.

The No-Fines houses in general is a good performing structure, albeit with underperforming thermal efficiency by current/ modern standards.

If you are seeking a forever house that will perform well and hopefully offer a guaranteed return in the future, then I would suggest that you may be better off to invest in a traditional brick built property.

Not because it’s necessarily any better, because a traditional brick property can have or develop its own faults over time, but simply because the market prefers this type of construction and in general. Traditional brick properties also tend to sell quicker due to ease of mortgageability.

Remember also, that there are far fewer mortgage providers in the Non Traditional lending market than the traditional and lenders such as Santander and Halifax do require quite an in depth survey on these properties, which can also slow the sales process down or raise issues that you may not be prepared for.

It’s also worth considering too, that should a Traditional brick house develop a fault, for example subsidence or severe cracking to a wall, fixing the issue shouldn’t be a problem, simply because there are legions of builders and surveyors who are familiar with traditional construction, whereas finding someone who is familiar with a non standard construction can sometimes be challenging.

In a nutshell, if you want to limit the potential risk and have an almost guaranteed return on your future investment, then a traditional brick house may be the better option for you but ultimately it’s your choice.

£360k is a huge investment whichever way you look at it and naturally you want to make sure your investment is sound.

My advice would be to gather as much information as you can and then make a list of all the pros and cons. Try and speak to some of the homeowners nearby to gain their opinion on these houses, dig a little deeper and find out what they particularly like and dislike about their homes and how easy or difficult it was to purchase.

Hopefully, this will help you to reach your own, well informed decision regarding your next move.

I sincerely wish you well whichever option you take.

Marc

 

 

 


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