Howard Steel Framed House  


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02/09/2017 11:34 pm  

Howard House

THE HOWARD HOUSE (British) John Howard & Co. Ltd., Civil Engineering Contractors, Imperial House, Dominion St., London, E.C.2. Architect : Frederick Gibberd, F.R.I.B.A., A.M.P.T.I.

The Howard house was designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd who also designed the BISF House.

The steel framed designed was privately promoted by John Howard & Company.

The Howard House had a more industrial aesthetic design, and Gibberd was more adventurous in his use of innovative materials and technologies of the time.

Asbestos cement cladding panels are clearly expressed with metal flashings over a base course of foamed slag concrete panels, with windows and doors fitting within the module set up by the cladding. The recessed mid section was adventurous in its design, giving the outward feel of a building style more reminiscent of continental homes of the time.

Unlike the BISF House, this house proudly displays its lightweight prefab nature, but there are also technical advances that set the Howard House apart, for example the pre-cast concrete perimeter plinth that supports a suspended steel ground floor.

The Howard House was amongst the first in the country to be built on a large scale. In total, 1,500 Howard Houses were built.

The living space was approximately 20sq ft with the kitchen and utility room contained within the recessed wing on the ground floor and the Bathroom and toilet located directly above on the first floor of the house.

At the time, these houses garnered great interest both in the building techniques and planning methods that were employed.

The steel frame itself was structurally simplistic in its design and the large living room which spanned from front to back of the building, enabled easy access to the rear garden, with 4 access doors in all. Two being at the front and two at the rear. Sometimes a screen was placed at the front of the property which was sometimes converted into a covered veranda or more permanent extension to the kitchen area.






Further Description.

This house embodies two very interesting features :

(a) The house is divided into two distinct sections—a working unit and a living unit.

(b) The living unit is based on a 10 feet standard grid with deep lattice girders between the stanchions which carry floor and roof.

There are therefore fewer framing units in this structure than in other types. The system is thus built up around a standard house and planning is limited.


Mild steel angles spaced at 10 feet centres form the stanchions which carry the deep lattice girders supporting floor and roof. As these girders are under or over the windows the fenestration is left free. A beam is placed in the centre of the house to carry the 10 feet prefabricated floor units, and it is supported by a central column. The lattice girders are welded from light rolled sections. Roof trusses are also of steel.

External Cladding.

Asbestos sheets are screwed to the frame. In the house illustrated these sheets have a Tyrolean rendering. They are in 4 feet square panels (the depth of the lattice girder is based on this dimension) but it is intended to use a single sheet of asbestos 20 feet x 4 feet.

Internal Lining. Asbestos fibreboard, wood wool. The wood wool is cemented to the fibreboard and the whole stiffened with a wood frame, and the joints covered by cover fillets.

Party Walls. Three inch wood wool slabs faced with asbestos on one side and asbestos fibreboard on the other.

Partitions. Fibreboard on wood wool slabs.

Floors. Ground floor of solid concrete. Timber units 10 feet long are prefabricated and laid directly on the steel frame.

Roof. Corrugated asbestos sheets.

Ceiling. plasterboard.

Windows. Standard metal windows.

Remarks. This house is one of the most satisfactory designs produced in this country.

Traditional, Non-Traditional, Manufacturer, Sponsor or Builder.
Date and Place of Origin.


Materials Used. 3. Steelframe, foamed slag.

Description.  4. U=0.29 (min. in panels). Fire rating under 1/2 hour. A post and beam type of steel frame. Columns at 8’0″ to 12’0″ centres. Space below and above windows acts as floor bearing beam. Cladding is generally of asbestos cement. Fixed in advance to the framework. Internal lining is prefabricated in storey high units.

References: “Post War Building Study No. 23”, H.M. Stationery Office, London, England.



PeeJay23 liked
New Member Registered
Joined:7 months ago
Posts: 1
11/06/2018 2:58 pm  

Great to find these photos, plans and info in one place. A real help. Thanks!

PeeJay23 liked
Prominent Member Admin
Joined:8 years ago
Posts: 752
13/06/2018 11:03 pm  

Thanks Oxfordjon and warmest of welcomes to you.

I do hope to post more information in due course but with so many different build types of non-traditional housing, it’s become a bit of a challenge.

Good to have you here




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