Discussion:
Your thoughts on build standard of 1950s council houses
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Mike Mitchell
2003-08-08 12:49:46 UTC
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As I am currently in such a property, and it is another of those
"built like a brick outhouse" properties, would people recommend them?
(They are selling like hot cakes around here, as soon as they come on
the market.) Mine has solid walls throughout. It's got a driveway and
a decent-sized garden front and rear, in a quiet road. Just not where
I want to live any more. So perhaps a similar house in my preferred
area...? They don't look much from the outside, but there is not a
trace of MDF in them (other than the bits I've added, like the
worktop). They seem to be very solidly constructed and are excellent
value for money. I even like the slimline Crittall windows!

MM
Andy Hall
2003-08-08 13:26:28 UTC
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On Fri, 08 Aug 2003 13:49:46 +0100, Mike Mitchell
Post by Mike Mitchell
As I am currently in such a property, and it is another of those
"built like a brick outhouse" properties, would people recommend them?
(They are selling like hot cakes around here, as soon as they come on
the market.) Mine has solid walls throughout. It's got a driveway and
a decent-sized garden front and rear, in a quiet road. Just not where
I want to live any more. So perhaps a similar house in my preferred
area...? They don't look much from the outside, but there is not a
trace of MDF in them (other than the bits I've added, like the
worktop). They seem to be very solidly constructed and are excellent
value for money. I even like the slimline Crittall windows!
MM
Why not keep the current one and use it as an investment property, and
then purchase your choice of house in another area......

.andy

To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Christian McArdle
2003-08-08 14:04:02 UTC
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Post by Mike Mitchell
As I am currently in such a property, and it is another of those
"built like a brick outhouse" properties, would people recommend them?
They are very variable. Sometimes they are excellent, sometimes they are
terrible, built with crumbly concrete, or those blocks made from straw.
Sounds like you have the former. Local knowledge, a good surveyor, or a good
eye for constructional detail are required with viewing.

Christian.
Andy Hall
2003-08-08 20:26:10 UTC
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Mine's coalboard not council but same thing. Solid poured concrete
walls - very very solid. Had some problems with them taking it to mean
pre-fab when it's not.
Walls are square and at right angles to each other, original roof in
good condition, reasonable front/back garden, drive, space for garage,
good sized rooms.
The only problem I've found is the years of bodging by previous owners
and the general state of things that need bringing up to todays
standards.
The shell of the house is fine but the fixtures and fittings all need
replacing.
As regards selling like hot cakes any round here that go on the market
are sold within a week or two at most.
You are hard pressed to find housing you can afford that has off road
parking never mind anything else from looking round.
Mark S.
BTW, did you manage to remove your roof tank, Mark?




.andy

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Mark
2003-08-09 12:52:25 UTC
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Post by Andy Hall
Mine's coalboard not council but same thing. Solid poured concrete
walls - very very solid. Had some problems with them taking it to mean
pre-fab when it's not.
Walls are square and at right angles to each other, original roof in
good condition, reasonable front/back garden, drive, space for garage,
good sized rooms.
The only problem I've found is the years of bodging by previous owners
and the general state of things that need bringing up to todays
standards.
The shell of the house is fine but the fixtures and fittings all need
replacing.
As regards selling like hot cakes any round here that go on the market
are sold within a week or two at most.
You are hard pressed to find housing you can afford that has off road
parking never mind anything else from looking round.
Mark S.
BTW, did you manage to remove your roof tank, Mark?
.andy
Still there at the minute... I'm not going in the loft at the moment -
it's hotter than hell up there. ;-)


Mark S.
Mark
2003-08-09 23:01:59 UTC
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On Sat, 09 Aug 2003 20:36:31 GMT, "ARWadsworth"
Mine's coalboard not council but same thing. Solid poured concrete
walls - very very solid. Had some problems with them taking it to mean
pre-fab when it's not.
Walls are square and at right angles to each other, original roof in
good condition, reasonable front/back garden, drive, space for garage,
good sized rooms.
A lot of these in my area were built using a red shale as a base for the
concrete floor and the old NCB were wise in selling them to the council as
now many of them need the floors ripping up and replacing.
Adam
I dug the top skim off, sealed it and self leveled it. I know it's a
"bodge" but it one I'm living with as I seriously cannot afford the
time/effort/hassle/money to dig out the downstairs floors to relay
them when and if I re-sell no one would question the under floor
arrangements.

Anyone had a buyers survey done where the carpets/flooring were even
touched nevermind lifted?

Mark S.
Andy Dingley
2003-08-09 23:10:15 UTC
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Post by Mark
Anyone had a buyers survey done where the carpets/flooring were even
touched nevermind lifted?
When my parents sold their '30s semi, the survey suggested that there
was rot in the downstairs floorboards. Except that it was a solid
concrete floor...
Mich
2003-08-10 07:36:01 UTC
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Post by Andy Dingley
Post by Mark
Anyone had a buyers survey done where the carpets/flooring were even
touched nevermind lifted?
When my parents sold their '30s semi, the survey suggested that there
was rot in the downstairs floorboards. Except that it was a solid
concrete floor...
Tell me about it!
I bought a house and the surveyor said that
a) it had mains drainage and gas.

The top of the septic tank was clearly visible in the garden and there is
no gas within ten miles of here!

b) he said it was built in the 1930's.
It was built in 1960 ( and we had all the planning apps and plans to prove
it)

c) he said an extension at the far end was wood framed and 1980's.
It was early 1970's and was brick and block construction.

It fact there was so little he got right I wondered if he had actually
surveyed the right house!.

The same company surveyed my 1950's ex council property too.
Similar catalogue of mistakes .

I had a b*gger of a job selling the house btw. It was poured concrete and
built like the proverbial ( rock hard) but because it was "non traditional
build" buyers had difficulty getting mortgages.
That coupled with the surveyors report which said wrongly that it had a
corroded frame. There was nothing wrong with the "frame" and to boot there
wasnt any evidence of there being anything wrong with its structure either!

Be aware.
Mich
2003-08-10 07:55:03 UTC
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Post by Mich
I had a b*gger of a job selling the house btw. It was poured concrete and
built like the proverbial ( rock hard) but because it was "non traditional
build" buyers had difficulty getting mortgages.
That coupled with the surveyors report which said wrongly that it had a
corroded frame. There was nothing wrong with the "frame" and to boot there
wasnt any evidence of there being anything wrong with its structure either!
Be aware.
Having said all of that. In my experience most of the council houses built
in the 1950s are very well built and my house was lovely. large rooms and
garden and in a good location ( one of the best in town).

It was a good all round genuine house with no construction or finish
problems.
Certainly a far better buy than those new houses you get now.
Mike Mitchell
2003-08-10 10:32:09 UTC
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Post by Mich
Having said all of that. In my experience most of the council houses built
in the 1950s are very well built and my house was lovely. large rooms and
garden and in a good location ( one of the best in town).
It was a good all round genuine house with no construction or finish
problems.
Certainly a far better buy than those new houses you get now.
Hey, you took all those words right out of my own mouth!

MM
Lilly ozzy1942
2021-01-13 19:15:02 UTC
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Ca I I fill in the the air vents in my 1950s council built house to help with cold wall
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Andrew
2021-01-14 13:57:58 UTC
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Post by Lilly ozzy1942
Ca I I fill in the the air vents in my 1950s council built house to help
with  cold walls
You get so much hot air from Home Owners Hub, your walls should
be roasting
Martin Brown
2021-01-14 17:52:06 UTC
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Post by Lilly ozzy1942
Ca I I fill in the the air vents in my 1950s council built house to help
with  cold walls
You can if you want but it won't help the cold walls and will probably
give you additional condensation problems to contend with.

Cavity wall insulation might help if it isn't already installed.

Some cowboys doing cavity wall insulation in the late 70's early 80's
managed to use dodgy material that is now absorbing water and bridging
the air gap and penetrating damp to the inner wall. Might be worth
seeing if that is the problem.
--
Regards,
Martin Brown
Brian Gaff (Sofa)
2021-01-14 20:39:49 UTC
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Many houses did not have cavity walls,certainly the council ones built in
the next road to me are exactly like mine with no cavity.
Brian
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Post by Martin Brown
Post by Lilly ozzy1942
Ca I I fill in the the air vents in my 1950s council built house to help
with cold walls
You can if you want but it won't help the cold walls and will probably
give you additional condensation problems to contend with.
Cavity wall insulation might help if it isn't already installed.
Some cowboys doing cavity wall insulation in the late 70's early 80's
managed to use dodgy material that is now absorbing water and bridging the
air gap and penetrating damp to the inner wall. Might be worth seeing if
that is the problem.
--
Regards,
Martin Brown
Mike Mitchell
2003-08-10 10:31:26 UTC
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Post by Mich
I had a b*gger of a job selling the house btw. It was poured concrete and
built like the proverbial ( rock hard) but because it was "non traditional
build" buyers had difficulty getting mortgages.
I don't think we have poured concrete council houses down here (home
counties). These houses on this estate are standard block/brick
construction and, like I said, they are very sought after because they
are considered to be so solidly built, roomy, and often have quite
large gardens. Plus, the stigma makes them an affordable buy for
first-timers when even a terraced house can command a higher price (go
figure!). I reckon when the Londoners were moved here after the war
they must have felt like they were entering some kind of Shangri-la.
So I have absolutely no worries about selling mine when the time
comes.

MM
Philip Stokes
2003-08-10 10:59:38 UTC
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X-No-Archive: Yes
In the process of buying a 1930s/40s ex council house. Not mortgage
company involved, so we employed a "friendly" builder/NHBC inspector to
take a look around. He has suggested that the concrete floor should be
replaced, simply because "they didn't use a damp proof membrane in those
days - though it looks fine at the moment". Doesn't sound like a hugely
expensive job, but will mean (if we decide to do it) a couple of weeks
living with the parents :-/
Might be worth a localised investigation before you go to the expense of
ripping up the whole floor. I had a concrete floor replaced in my
similarly aged house after knocking two rooms into one, and finding the
floor levels were different in each room. The original floors had a
"DPM" of bitumen between the base and top screed.

OTOH, even if it has none, if it's not damp, why bother to touch it?
--
Phil
Andy Dingley
2003-08-10 11:40:35 UTC
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On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 00:59:51 +0100, Martin Angove
He has suggested that the concrete floor should be
replaced, simply because "they didn't use a damp proof membrane in those
days - though it looks fine at the moment".
Damp proof membranes have been used since the Victorians (slate, blue
brick, bitumen). They weren't stupid, even if they didn't have
convenient rolls of plastic stuff to use.

If it looks dry, then leave it alone. If it's dry, then chances are
there's a layer of bitumen poured underneath there somewhere.
dg
2003-08-10 15:12:05 UTC
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Council houses sell well not because of the quality of construction,
but rather that you can get them relatively cheap and be able to make
a tidy profit at sale time.

Condensation and [lack of central] heating tend to be the main
concerns. However the BRE has noted a number of construction problems
with the majority of system built properties.

In the few thousand that we manage, lifestyle and location (ie north
facing main elevations or direction of prevelent winds) can have a
dramatic impact on internal comfort and problems.

Bracing to roof trusses, movement in raft foundations, movement in
concrete wall panels, and internal box gutters are other commen
problem areas.

dg
Post by Mike Mitchell
As I am currently in such a property, and it is another of those
"built like a brick outhouse" properties, would people recommend them?
(They are selling like hot cakes around here, as soon as they come on
the market.) Mine has solid walls throughout. It's got a driveway and
a decent-sized garden front and rear, in a quiet road. Just not where
I want to live any more. So perhaps a similar house in my preferred
area...? They don't look much from the outside, but there is not a
trace of MDF in them (other than the bits I've added, like the
worktop). They seem to be very solidly constructed and are excellent
value for money. I even like the slimline Crittall windows!
MM
Mark
2003-08-10 22:01:50 UTC
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Permalink
Post by dg
Council houses sell well not because of the quality of construction,
but rather that you can get them relatively cheap and be able to make
a tidy profit at sale time.
Condensation and [lack of central] heating tend to be the main
concerns. However the BRE has noted a number of construction problems
with the majority of system built properties.
In the few thousand that we manage, lifestyle and location (ie north
facing main elevations or direction of prevelent winds) can have a
dramatic impact on internal comfort and problems.
Bracing to roof trusses, movement in raft foundations, movement in
concrete wall panels, and internal box gutters are other commen
problem areas.
dg
Front is northish facing but hey who wants the sun shining into the tv
room all day. ;-) Much better onto the patio in the back...

Roof trusses are probably twice the thickness of new stuff, no panels
to move as it's a foot thick of solidish concrete, gutters are abestos
but hindsight is a handy thing. :-)

The last new house I was in I watched with some amusement as the owner
accidental fell into a wall while carrying a pc and punched a nice
hole through it (plasterboard)...

Mark S.
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