Non-traditional Construction Types

The Housing Defects Act of 1984 is a Parliamentary legislation that allows grants to be given to unsuspected buyers of houses built between 1950’s and 1960’s. Houses built during this time were generally poorly constructed and have lots of structural issues. Dwellings and other building types are built following a set of standards and rules. If buildings are deemed substandard, they will be listed as statutory defective. The role of the act is to protect buyers who purchased these defective properties unknowingly and provide a 90% grant towards repair value. The buildings listed are:



Cornish Unit (1)

Cornish Unit (2)

Dorran (1)

Dorran (2)







Reema Hollow Panel

Schindler & Hawksley SGS



Tarran (1)

Tarran (2)


Unity & Butterley (1)

Unity & Butterley (2)



Wessex (1)

Wessex (2)



Most of the buildings built after World War 1 follow a non-traditional construction. This type of construction is divided into four classifications: The In-situ Concrete, Pre Cast Concrete, Timbre Frame, and the Steel Frame. Though non-traditional construction gained unfavorable image during the pre-war years in the U.K., what are applied nowadays are better.

 Types of Non-Traditional Construction

  • Pre-fabricated Buildings- Pre-fabs (as how they are commonly known) consist of manufactured parts assembled on site to complete a housing unit. A lot of people are enticed to buy such property because they typically cost less than traditional houses.

Many of the houses in UK during the early 1940’s are pre-fabs. They are used by the Englishmen as temporary housing to answer housing shortage after the war. Nowadays, such type of housing is still used in various areas in the U.K., although with better quality.

  • Concrete Panel Systems– Concrete panels can fall under pre-cast and in-situ concrete types, depending on how they are made. For pre-cast concretes, they are basically factory-made and transported into the site while in-situ concretes are made in the construction site by pouring in liquid concrete.

In-situ concrete is the most common type of construction system used for building structure foundation and are supported by reinforced bars.

  • Steel Frame Buildings– These usually refer to the framing of structures using steel bars to act as skeleton frames (vertical steel columns and horizontal T-beams). These construction systems made skyscrapers possible and provide stronger building foundation.
  • Straw-bale Construction– Another type of non-traditional construction is a building method that uses bales of straw. Some of the common materials used would be wheat, rice, rye, and oats straw.  The earliest date documented regarding its used would be 400 years ago in the African plains and Northern Europe, making it the oldest construction method.

Sometimes, the straw is mixed with mud to provide better building insulation. This type of construction is popular among rural areas since they can cost a lot less.  Bale walls are pinned together with bamboo, rebar, or wood.

These non-traditional construction methods are generally used by most of today’s commercial buildings and housing. The principles used behind these methods are applied to a more modern way of construction applied not only in the U.K. but anywhere in the world.

Image by: SXC