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Identification of a house build in Reading, Berkshire  



My mother recently passed away and I've inherited her house in the Readng Area. Its a semi detached ex council house in poor repair. The problem of non-standard of construction has come up but the initial surveyor was unable to identify the exact build, other than saying it bears some similarities to Laing Flexiform. I was wondering if anyone else on the site can identify it / or any further thoughts? I've got to make a decision about what we do with the house / is it even sell able on the mortgage market but at the moment we are stuck in probate so theres time to investigate a little. So any advice or thoughts gratefully received

The details are as follows

(from the report) 
The property is a three bedroom semi detached house with a number of outbuildings. The
construction is nontraditional, thought to be two skins of narrow concrete blocks with an
air gap between. Approximate year of construction is 1946-1950.
The external walls are thought to comprise of two skins of precast concrete block with a
cavity between the two. The blocks appear to be only 50 to 75mm thick. The internal face of the wall is plastered and there are many layers of wall coverings. Without further investigation it is not possible to see the entire construction but judging by the age and style it is of nontraditional build, although not one frequently encountered. There is no insulation within the cavity and the walls will not have good thermal performance. The party wall between this property and its neighbour is also of concrete block as seen in
the roof space and sound transmission is an issue.

The outer layer looks like large yellow blocks with grouting but we suspect thats some form of cladding rather than actual blocks. I've taken a look inside via the air vents and you can see the gap is quite wide. 

Other than the neighbours house , there are no similar properties in the road or nearby streets. Although my parents bought the house in 1981, the neighbours house was in council hands for many years (upto 2010ish) and at not point did they come in and do substantial building work making me hopeful it was not deemed DD, plus the new neighbours were able to get a mortgage (and their survey stated it was Laing Flexiform).

I've attached a couple of pictures as a guide

IMG 4181
IMG 4176
IMG 4172
DSC00555 DxO


IMG 4179
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4 Answers

Hello ReadingBISF
My sincere condolences at this difficult time. There's often so much to sort out under such sad circumstances and issues with property identification only add to your load.
Thank you for providing a comprehensive description of the structure and several invaluable images.
Property identification isn't always easy and I must admit, that at first, I was a little stumped by the window positioning to the front elevation and the viewable thickness of the external walls. The images you provided certainly did not visibly match any form of Laing Easiform construction that I am aware of.
After several days of in-depth research, I am glad to report that I have been successful in identifying your property type and the good news is, that it is a NOT Designated Defective and therefore should be mortgageable.
The property is of a form of construction known as Clarincrete, possibly built by a company known as Clarincrete LTD, who also developed a range concrete panels used in the construction of a post-war school buildings.
The Clarincrete house was an experimental house design built as part of the governments post-war push to foster and adopt alternative forms of house building construction following the devastation of WWII. The Clarincrete house was one of over 200 experimental new house designs that were submitted by individual building companies to the Burt Committee for consideration in the hope that they would be adopted by the Ministry of Works as part of the 1940's house rebuilding programme. A working party was set up in 1945 along with representatives from the Building Research Station who whittled the submissions down to just 39 potentially viable constructions, with even fewer reaching full widespread production in the UK.
Your particular house was built in 1947 and appears to have been constructed from shallow precast concrete block panels. Sadly though, there appears to be no other written reference available for this particular construction and despite extensive checks through my archives and online, I cannot find any other reference to this particular build.
I have sent a Freedom of Information Request off to reading Council in the hope that they may be able to furnish additional structural or historical information about the house, but the chance of success here is quite slim.
I have tracked down the original experimental design submission document reference for this house, which is listed as EP 181. There may be an original copy of the document stored at the Building Research Establishments library, but at the time of writing I cannot confirm if this is still held.
In summary, it is quite possible that your house and the adjoining property were built as demonstration houses for submission to the Burt Committee/ local council in the hope of securing a much larger contract which sadly did not go ahead. As a result, these two properties may be the only example of Clarincrete houses ever built but obviously, further research would be required to verify this but documented evidence at present appears non-existent.
I hope I have been of some assistance and I look forward to your views.



Just checking to see if my response help you at all?





thanks for your response - for some reason, the reply did not appear when I checked at the time back in December but now I can see it - I'd already been told it was very unlikely to be on the DD list but your extra info is very useful - if your FOI request comes back with more details that would be gratefully received.

Many thanks




The response is in but unfortunately it doesn't really give us any further informatio.

Here's the reply:

Good afternoon Marc,
Thank you for your FOI request in relation to the Clarincrete house
situated in Hartland Road, RG2 8BT. This was a property in the ownership
of Reading Borough Council, however, the property was disposed of a number
of years ago. A check of our records revealed no drawings or documents
relating to the construction of the property.

Kind regards
Trevor Wooldridge

Strategic Asset Manager
Housing Property Services / Directorate of Economic Growth & Neighbourhood Services.

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