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What is non traditional housing

What is Non Traditional Construction?

Construction techniques that utilise systems of building that are focused on speed and economy of construction is what is generally classified as non traditional construction.  When a large development of housing is required quickly non traditional construction techniques are often found so it is often used by local authorities to mass build and today is sometimes used by commercial construction companies and developers.

Types of Non Traditional Construction


The categories of non traditional construction can be divided into:-


1.  Metal frame

2. Concrete frame

3.  Timber frame

4.  Concrete panel construction

5.  Structural insulation panels

6.  In situ concrete

7.  One offs


The last category covers a multitude of designs and techniques still being devised today and no doubt in the future too.

non trad metal frame

What exactly does the term non traditional construction mean?

Chartered Surveyors, building Surveyors, and Valuers use the term non traditional construction although it might be better if the term non typical construction was its alternative.  When considering how houses and flats are traditionally built you think from the Victorian era they are built of either brick and tile or brick and slate or stone and slate or possibly render and tile or render and slate all much dependent upon where in the country the dwelling is built.  Traditional construction and construction materials are often as local as the town or county you live in for example in south Norfolk typical traditional building materials include flint, plaster, timber, clay lip, soft red bricks, black or orange pantiles and thatch.

The term non traditional construction where does this derive from?

There is no clear definition as to where the term non traditional construction came from although we believe it originally was used by mortgage companies as no doubt Chartered Surveyors would be far more specific than such a general term.  The mortgage companies used the term non traditional construction as they wanted to establish the construction of the vast majority of residential buildings and thereby the term non traditional construction appeared.


 When did non traditional construction begin and why?



After the Great Wars more houses were needed

During World War I and World War II in the United Kingdom much of our housing stock had been bombed leaving houses unsafe and many were demolished thereby leaving the country with fewer houses.  Over the war years there had also been a lack of maintenance as the skilled workforce who carried out the building work were away at war.  With the war coming to an end and the armed forces returning houses were needed and needed fast.  This gave rise to various methods of non traditional construction during the 1940's, 1950's and 1960s.

Property construction boom years

The property market is an ever changing market and therefore during the boom years of the early 1970's and the ;ate 1980's non traditional construction methods were adopted to satisfy the increasing demand for more housing stock.  The high demand for more housing created a need for building quickly which is possible with many of the non traditional building methods although there are variations to the methods and quantity of building used across the UK.


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The way the structure of a building works

When looking at non traditionally constructed houses you find yourself asking is it the way the structure works that makes the building traditional or non traditional construction?  In essence any building that is not built using traditional building methods and materials can be deemed to be non traditional.  Traditional property was built with a solid wall or cavity wall construction with masonry either bricks or stone or blocks and mortar comprising of lime or cement.  Today the modern methods of construction could be argued to be non traditional construction as many are built using fast track on site or off site construction techniques.  In the future these building methods may become the norm and thereby become traditional!

This is where non traditional construction becomes confusing

Some non traditional construction techniques look very similar to traditional construction methods and can only truly be identified by the trained, experienced eye of a specialist Surveyor.  Call us today on free phone 0800 298 5424 and we would be more than happy to discuss any questions you may have.

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0800 298 5424

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Email us for examples of our structural surveys, property reports, specific defect reports and tailor made surveys.  We have surveyed all types of non traditionally built properties over the years and will email you an example of a property we have surveyed similar to yours.





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