HC Deb 23 October 1989 vol 158 cc303-4W
Mr. Hayes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice the Building Research Establishment is able to offer owners and lending institutions on the structural condition of Wimpey no-fines houses and flats.

Mr. Chope

The BRE's report on 'The structural condition of Wimpey no-fines low-rise dwellings" is published today. I commend this report to the House. Its conclusions are reassuring for owners and lending institutions alike.

The BRE inspected a range of houses and flats built in the 1950s and 1960s. They found most properties were constructed as designed, although minor variations in the type and distribution of reinforcement were found.

The BRE considers that these constructional variations do not materially affect the structural adequacy of the dwellings. In the vast majority of cases reinforcement was in a reasonable condition; where corrosion had occurred, its effects on no-fines construction were no greater than would be expected in traditional masonry-walled dwellings.

Indeed, the structural system of Wimpey no-fines low-rise dwellings is essentially the same as that of traditional solid-walled masonry dwellings: such systems are simple and robust and are unlikely to be significantly affected by minor variations in workmanship or isolated cracking in the concrete.

The report also contains much useful information on no-fines construction which should be particularly helpful to lending institutions and their surveyors when considering mortgage applications, and also to local authorities and private owners when approaching the repair and maintenance of these dwellings.

The report will be distributed to all major lending institutions and to interested local authorities.