Types of Non Traditional Houses

Types of Non Traditional Construction

Don't detay call our surveyors todayAfter World War I most the the buildings that were built were built following a non traditional construction.  This period of construction produced four different types:-

1.  In-situ concrete

2. Pre cast concrete

3.  Timber frame

4.  Steel frame

Many different types of Non Traditional Construction

There are many different types of non traditional construction which we list below, the list is not exhaustive but includes many of the types found across the UK.

Airey Houses

The Airey House was developed by a Leeds builder Sir Edward Airey using concrete to design a house based on reinforced concrete columns.  Airey used a system whereby the concrete columns had steel reinforcement tubes this method of construction had the steel tubes extending at the ends of the columns which allowed ground and first floor columns to be cowled together and then the roof doweled to the first floor.  The Airey house had columns clad with reinforced concrete which were arranged in a ship-lap design and lined in a variety of materials.  The lining materials included wood wool, brick on edge, nut concrete clockwork, fibrebook with plasterboard being the most common.

Airey House Construction Problems

The Airey House had concrete columns which stood on a damp proof course where as the columns had a steel reinforcement they became prone to corrosion.  Wind driven rain forcing through the cladding and condensation in the cavity wall gathering on the damp proof course caused the corrosion.  Furthermore the concrete columns were were so slight meaning that corrosion to the steel could occur at any point.


Airey House Layouts

Due to its ease of joining sections together the Airey building system was used to create many styles of house layouts. The most popular layout design was the North Aspect and South Aspect (rural) Airey house which were semi-detached, two storey and three bedrooms. The roofs varied in cladding materials with the roof style of the rural design having plain gables and the urban design having a hipped roof.

Do you own an Airey House or are you thinking of buying an Airey House?

Airey Houses were built from 1945 to 1955 and many remain today although often requiring repair or renovation. A free phone call to us today 0800 298 5424 where our experienced non traditional construction expert Surveyors will be happy to put your mind at ease and help with your questions to enable you to make the right decision and save money too.

Arrowhead steel framed houses

Arrowhead houses were built using a steel structural frame albeit lightweight.  Arrowhead homes often had cladding at the front of the property.

Boot Houses - Boot Beaucrete and Boot Pier and Panel

South Yorkshire born, Henry Boot, founded his construction company Henry Boot Limited in 1886, which later became Henry Boot PLC building non traditional houses named after Henry Boot between the end of WW1 and beginning of WW2.  The Boot houses were built from precast reinforced clinker concrete columns dueto the shortage of bricks with an estimated fifty thousand built across the UK. 

British Iron and Steel Federation Houses BISF

After the war in the 1940's the Government was under pressure to build thousands of new houses swiftly and efficiently. As an effect of the lack of building materials and lack of skilled workforce prefabricated and part prefabricated houses were built. Architects and designers were invited by the Government to come up with designs for new houses all scrutinised and finally chosen by the housing review team. The British Iron and Steel Federation sponsored house designed by architect Sir Frederick Gibberd and engineer Donovan Lee was chosen with three prototypes being built in Edward Road, Northolt which were then known as Types A, B and C all semi-detached in style.

BISF Type A and Type A1

The house design that went into mass production nationwide was Type A1 which was a development from Type A with the adding of a bathroom window next to a landing window in the side elevation.

Today many of the BISF houses remain although not always as recognisable as when they were first built with brickwork surrounding the lightweight structural steel frame.

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.


Dorlonco style non traditional buildings 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

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


Gregory style of building is built using pre-cast concrete, storey height columns with ring beams. These have mansard roofs to first floor level.

Hawthorn Leslie

Hawthorn Leslie properties have a mixture of both a metal frame and a timber frame.


We have come across quite a number of Howard style non traditionally built properties in our surveys. This uses a lattice work of metal beams.

Laing Easyform

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

Lowton Cubit

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


Myton buildings are constructed using concrete panels.


Steel framed buildings called Newland are also non traditional buildings


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


Parkinson properties are built with concrete column construction with a render or pebbledash finish externally.


Hollow panel construction is used in Reema style properties. These are structural concrete columns and beams cast in situ. 

Reema conclad

This is a good example of a large panel concrete house the Reema conclad style.


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

Swedish timber dwelling

Built with a timber frame is Swedish timber dwelling style.


Pre-cast concrete panels with first floor ring beam forms the Tarran style of non traditional building. The panels are very wide.


Cast iron panels bolted together are used in the Thorncliffe non traditional builds.

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 form the Wates style of build.


Wessex style build are constructed using 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 forms the Wimpey No Fines style of building


Whistle-stop tour of the non-traditional housing market

This is a brief overview of some of the styles of 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 and characteristics.