RT Contractors
  • Vale of Glamorgan01446 772 272

Non-Standard Housing

The end of World War II saw a surge in demand for the rapid construction of new houses, as well as the need to rebuild those damaged by bombs. Given that supplies of aluminium and steel were easily procured due to their minimal requirement in the war effort, these materials were used in the production of non-standard houses. As a result, approximately 300,000 of these houses -mainly PRC, BISF AND Trusteel- were built.

Unfortunately, in the 1980s fundamental problems affecting the structural stability and durability of some of the steel and concrete houses began to emerge. These problems occurred either because of carbonation or the presence of chlorides in the concrete, which resulted in the corrosion of steel reinforcements and the subsequent cracking and spalling of the concrete.

It soon became apparent that many of the houses contained a wide range of defects, such as corrosion to steel stanchions, reinforcements to concrete sections and cladding units. Many of the properties also needed underpinning. The decision the Council & Housing Associations faced was whether it was economically viable to repair these properties, or to demolish them and rebuild with a better mix of properties.

Our company has carried out numerous repairs of non-standard houses throughout South Wales, including:

Trusteel Houses, Bridgend, South Wales

Contracted by the Valleys To Coast Housing Association (V2C), we worked on 34 properties, inside and out. That is, we worked not just on the immediate property, but on the garden area and its associated spaces.

Upon first inspection of the houses, it was clear that we needed to underpin existing foundations, due to their almost complete deterioration. It was also necessary to jack up the houses to support the roofs and floors. This enabled the external brick skins to be removed, while then enabling the corroded steel stanchions to be repaired by welding new steel legs to the existing ones. In addition, new angle brackets were fitted to existing joist ends, which rested on new pad stones.

New cut-to-size insulation blocks were inserted between steel stanchions, and new face brickwork with insulated cavities was carried out externally. New uPVC doors and windows were also installed.

The properties were fully refurbished with new kitchens and bathrooms, as well as being rewired and equipped with new central heating and full decoration.

PRC Concrete Houses

Over the years, we have repaired Woolaway, Airey, Unity and Cornish houses for the following councils: Vale of Glamorgan County, Carmarthen County, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Neath Port Talbot.

Our company has structurally repaired more of these types of houses -over 500- than any other contractor in South Wales; mostly for the local authorities, but many were also grant assisted. Residents are usually able to go about their everyday lives while their house is undergoing refurbishment.

The basic principle of repair applied to each type of house was the underpinning, or construction of a ring beam, to stabilise the property and extend the foundations. The building is jacked up to take the weight of the external walls, which are then removed and replaced by new face brickwork and insulated blockwork, and new uPVC doors and windows.

Often, we will then fully upgrade the building internally with a new kitchen and bathroom, electrical re-wiring, central heating and full decoration. Once completed, the house will be warmer and more energy efficient.

BISF Houses

These houses, designed and produced by the British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF), were first erected across the UK from 1946. Usually done at the request of the local authorities, we have repaired BISF houses for Carmarthen City Council, Cardiff City Council and Rhondda Cynon Taff Council. Full upgrades are carried out internally to the houses.

This type of house has a lightweight steel structure and is covered with a lightweight Decra Roof, due to the wide spacing of the metal roof structure. Normally the property needs underpinning, or the construction of a ring beam to extend its foundations; the reason for this being that the original foundations are not usually of the required strength needed for the weight of the property.

The outer skin -either made of aluminium cladding or part-concrete panels- is removed, allowing for the existing steel frame to be repaired and altered to fit the window size of the face brickwork. Plywood is then attached to the existing steel frame with an insulated cavity and an outer skin of face brickwork.