Innovative methods of construction
Things have moved on quite a lot from the 11th Century when houses were made of Cob (mud houses) and today we're more conscious than ever of the environmental implications of buildings new homes.
As surveyors, when we look at properties we consider how they are constructed as part of the inspection. This helps us to build a bigger picture about the condition of the property, what future maintenance needs or repairs may be necessary and how much demand there may be for the property.
Some of the most common types of construction we come across in our work are outlined below:
This type of property is usually built of brick or stone, although it may be used as a general category for properties that do not fall into any of the categories which follow below:
Timber properties range from lightweight framed and clad structures, to more substantial timber framed structures with masonry walls. Modern timber frames are made of softwood timber framing which can be clad in numerous materials or have masonry external walls built around the frame.
Historic properties are normally constructed with a Hardwood frame which is much more resilient than softwood. Examples of this would be Medieval houses with an exposed timber frame with infill render panels.
Timber framed properties built in the early to mid 1900's are likely to be a basic form of softwood frame and cladding. This form of construction can be difficult to secure a mortgage upon.
As the name suggests these properties are constructed with steel components. With modern properties the components are coated to protect them against rust, but in older properties the coating may have worn away through age and so increases the risk of deterioration. In many cases, particularly with framed constructions, then components may be completely hidden from view, so if there is deterioration it may be hidden by cladding.
Properties of in-situ concrete construction can be built with solid or cavity walls and may potentially have steel reinforcement. This can be commonly found in the construction of flats, but has more recently been used in individual house construction. Common forms include permanent formwork which is then filled with poured concrete to form the main structural walls.
Precast reinforced concrete
Precast reinforced concrete (PRC) constructions have been used since the 1920s. Several forms of this construction were Designated Defective under the Housing Act 1985 and are unmortgageable with main stream lenders unless they have been improved to an acceptable standard.
There are new forms of Precast Reinforced Concrete methods of construction which are being developed as innovative buildings. This is an existing material and form of construction which is being used as a Modern Method of Construction.