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Identification of Non Traditional House in Taunton Somerset  

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Hi,

I am trying to identify the construction type of a property in TA1 2AF in Taunton, Somerset.

I have completed an FOI request but the council did not have the records of the method of construction. I do know that the property is Cast in Situ and constructed between 1924-1927. The walls are 200mm thick concrete with no noticeable cavity. 

The ground floor has concrete partitions and brick/ block on the first floor. The property is semi detached and the chimney rises centrally to the dwelling. The property has been since externally renovated and there are no issues getting a mortgage on it so presumably non-defective.

Pictures can be found here. https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/detailMatching.html?prop=41986288&sale=79756158&country=england

Thanks,

Tom

3 Answers
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Hello Tom, I have spent several hours trying to identify your exact property type but sadly I have been unable to find a suitable match.

My own TDBC records also show the property listed solely as, 'Concrete Construction'.

lambrook road

Unfortunately the external upgrades have obscured identifying features that may have been present, however it is possible to see what appears to be an exposed ring beam, running horizontally around the perimeter of the building, just above the ground floor windows. I suspect this to be a cast concrete beam that may help tie the structure together and/or provide support for the rather hefty, exposed ceiling joists that I see on several interior images posted online.

The fact that you state the wall is around 200mm ( Approx 8") thick and of solid construction, leads me to suspect that the structure is most likely a type of no-fines construction.

The earliest known houses of this type were built by Coro lite Construction Co Ltd in Scotland in 1923.
Further houses were built in various parts of the United Kingdom by a number of companies including, Unit Construction Company, Wilson Lovatt and Sons Ltd, the Scottish Special Housing Association, Wimpey and several others.
The system consists of solid concrete external walls cast-in-situ using a variety of aggregates. Roof and
first floor construction will vary and will depend on individual requirements. 

Foundations varied between manufacturer but typically below the damp-proof course, the solid external walls usually consist of mass concrete foundation walls cast onto conventional concrete strip footings .

The no-fines external walls are commonly 8 or 9 in­ thick. The walls are of cast-in-situ concrete using
clinker, foamed slag, Whinstone, gravel or blast­ furnace aggregate between 1/8. in and 1/2, in -gauge and
were cast in two lifts.

The external walls of Unit houses for example, contains two 1/2 in·diameter mild steel bars which are
carried continuously around the external walls and provide support above ground-floor window and door
openings. Similar reinforcement is provided below window openings and extends for 12 to 18 ins beyond
reveals.

A few more details (courtesy of  the BRE) but please remember that this is just one example of a number of possible variations depending upon the manufacturer/ build name.

PARTY WALLS
Party walls are of a similar construction to the external walls but may contain fine aggregate.
INTERNAL PARTITIONS
The cast-in-situ concrete partitions are commonly 2in or 4in-thick and may be keyed into external and party walls by metal hoop ties grouted into cored pockets.
CHIMNEY BREASTS
The chimney breasts and stacks are usually constructed using cast-in-situ clinker concrete.
GROUND FLOOR
The ground floor may be either suspended timber or solid construction.
FIRST FLOOR
The first floor may be either traditional timber, light steel joists finished with timber boards or reinforced
concrete construction.
ROOF
The roof structures are generally of traditional timber construction, although reinforced concrete and light
steel truss construction may be used.
WALL FINISHES
The walls are rendered externally and hard-plastered internally.

no fines

This does not mean, (as many people often assume) that these houses are what many people call Wimpey No-Fines houses. 'Wimpey', just happens to be one of the more well known builders who specialised in building with no-fines concrete. 

The no fines concrete itself was poured into timber shuttering which formed the walls of the building. Additional pre-cast or reinforced concrete was also commonly used to provide additional support when required. No-Fines, in simplest terms means that no fines or rather no fine particles such as sand for eaxample. was used in the mix during the production of the concrete.

The below images depicts a No-Fines Construction by Unit Construction Co Ltd. 1927-57.

no fines diag

The good news is that No-Fines constructions are generally viewed positively by providers of non-traditional mortgages and these properties are not classified as defective. 

This is of course not a firm conclusion and only a full structural survey will provide a definitive conclusion as to the exact form and structure here. However, even after this is carried out, the surveyor may or may not be able to identify the exact named provider of this property.

I hope this helps.

Marc (Admin)

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Many thanks for you detailed response Marc.

Tom

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You're very welcome Tom

It's nice to actually receive a reply as sadly, many of those who seek our help, don't always bother.

Good luck and best regards

Marc

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