Different types of Non-traditional Construction



If you are thinking of buying a Non-Traditional House please call us on 0800 298 5424.  We provide independent help and advice with regard to independent valuations, property surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, defects surveys and structural surveys matters.

We have carried out surveys on many different types of non-traditional construction.

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What is a non traditional construction house?

Firstly, let us explain what a non traditional construction house is.  We would emphasise the word construction.  This is a system of building houses that effectively means the buildings can be mass produced.

After the war years we had to build fast and we used many new forms of construction techniques.  Often it involved innovative construction such as structural frames and cladding.  The structural frames can be metal, concrete or wood.

non traditional

Non traditional construction house

Other surveying articles that may be of interest

We suggest that once you have read this article you look at some other surveying articles that we have written on non-traditional construction:

The History of Non Traditional Building
Non Traditional and Traditional Properties - what are they?

Different types of non-traditional construction

Non traditional constructed houses have many different names, here are some examples below, although we do not list all types of non traditional construction by any means.

Airey Houses

These have a concrete plank externally supported on a pre-cast concrete frame with steel tube reinforcements.

non traditional
non traditional

Airey houses were made up of concrete planks and are now generally being knocked down and rebuilt as they are not habitable

Street view.

They were named Airey houses after the Member of Parliament that was involved with them rather than the fact that the wind blew through them and they suffered badly from condensation.


Steel structural frame albeit that it is lightweight.  They tend to have cladding to the front of them.


Believed to be named after the contractor of that name.  Built on a concrete frame with more traditional brickwork or render typically found externally.

British Iron and Steel Federation House known as a BISF

These are relatively common although they are now very well disguised with brickwork being built around them.  They are a lightweight structural steel frame.

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non traditional

British Iron and Steel Federation House (BISF)

Asbestos roof on BISF house

Cornish Unit

Although they are called Cornish Units, we have found them all over the country.  They come in various makes and models as do the other houses that we mention.  They were traditionally constructed with a concrete frame.  The unusual feature was the mansard roofs that ran all the way down to the first floor level.


They have a very well hidden structural metal frame.


These were pre-cast concrete panel buildings with a concrete ring beam at first floor level with a timber frame internally.

Dye Construction

These were concrete panels which were a storey height secured by metal angle brackets (believed to be steel) with concrete beams forming the first floor.


This is pre-cast concrete, storey height columns with ring beams.  These have mansard roofs to first floor level.

Hawthorn Leslie

This is a mixture of both a metal frame and a timber frame.


We have come across quite a number of these in our surveys.  This uses a lattice work of metal beams.

Laing Easyform

Comes in both solid and cavity wall forms built from a no fines concrete.

Lowton Cubit

Possibly named after the contractor.  Again this is a steel framed building.


These are concrete panels.


Steel frame.


A feature of these is that they may have a flat roof with an asphalt finish.


These are concrete column construction with a render or pebbledash finish externally.


Hollow panel.  These are structural concrete columns and beams cast in situ.

Reema conclad

This is a good example of a large panel concrete house.


This is pre-cast reinforced concrete frame with concrete panels, two storeys in height.

Swedish timber dwelling

Built with a timber frame.


Pre-cast concrete panels with first floor ring beam.  The panels are very wide.


Cast iron panels bolted together.

Unity and Butterly

Pre-cast concrete column, metal plated beams.  An unusual external finish of a small looking concrete panel.


Believed to be named after the contractor of that name.  Pre-cast reinforced concrete panels with ring beams at first floor level.


Pre-cast reinforced panels.

Wimpey No Fines

In situ mould type no fines concrete with a variety of different thickness of walls depending upon the age and type.

Whistle-stop tour of the non-traditional housing market

This is a brief overview of some of the non-traditional houses.  There are many, many different types.  We have surveyed ones where there are only a few thousand ever produced and we have also surveyed other types of non-traditional houses where there are many thousands produced.  In our experience as Chartered Surveyors they all need their own individual survey as they have their own unique problems.

Independent surveyors

We feel our surveys are quite unique, as they are written to your level of knowledge.  The surveys include photos and sketches and definitions.  The survey will also include an action required section and an estimate of costs in the executive summary.  We are more than happy to meet you at the property whilst carrying out the survey to discuss any specific issues you may have or have a general chat about what we have found at the end of the survey.  Please contact 0800 298 5424 for a Chartered Surveyor to give you a call back.

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a Chartered Surveyor, or a Chartered Building Surveyor and are particularly interested in carrying out work on a non traditional property or if you are buying a non traditional property please look at our survey examples.

We can email you examples of our structural surveys

If you are interested in having a Structural Survey we can email you examples of our structural surveys please call us for a friendly chat on free phone 0800 298 5424.

We would also be happy to email you some examples of our tailor made reports, Schedules of Condition, Structural Surveys and Property Reports.  We have carried out surveys on many different types of non-traditional construction.

non traditional

We can talk and talk about property

We hope you found this article on Non-Traditional Housing of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have included is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The content of the website is for general information and entertainment only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions.  Appropriate independent professional advice should be taken before making such a decision Free phone on 0800 298 5424 for independent surveying advice.

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