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Wimpey no-fines house

The Wimpey No-fines House is a house design by the George Wimpey company and intended for mass-production of social housing for families. They were built in large numbers in the United Kingdom following the Second World War, and are now one of the most common building designs in Britain. "No-fines" refers to the type of concrete used called "no-fines concrete" (concrete with no fine aggregates).




A rapid increase in the birth rate compounded by the loss of city centre housing during the Blitz meant demand for accommodation in Post-war Britain was particularly intense. Skilled labour and materials were in short supply and commanded high prices. Local government around the country commissioned large building projects to meet the demand, and innovative designs like the no-fines house gave private contractors like George Wimpey Inc a compelling proposition to give the state. Wimpey's houses could be produced rapidly and cheaply, minimising the need for in-demand skills like bricklaying. An example of no-fines concrete construction, Wimpey's design was particularly successful and many thousands were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In the late 1950s, the empasis for public housing moved to high-rise accommodation. Most are still occupied today, and some still house the original tenants.


By the 1980s, political opinion had swung against social housing, and those living in it seemed to experience a relatively low quality of life and poor health. There were also concerns about the long-term structural soundness of the houses due to their novel construction. Parliament commissioned a report into the design of the houses and its impact on the occupants [1]. It found that the health issues were due to poor windows and poor heating; the relatively poor insulating properties of the no-fines walls was also identified as a possible contributing factor. It concluded that the buildings were structurally sound. Subsequent improvements to windows and heating facilities have brought the houses broadly up to modern living standards and the design is now seen as largely vindicated. Some examples now enjoy additional exterior insulation, which can be readily identified from its distinctive design. The novel nature construction is still a residual concern and many lenders make restrictions on mortgages against no-fines houses. Wimpey no-fines houses are no longer in active construction.


No-fines houses were made of no-fines concrete (concrete with no fine aggregates) cast in situ. Huge reuseable moulds were held in place as the concrete for the entire outer structure was poured in one operation. The ground floor was also concrete; the first floor was made of wooden floorboards. Interior walls were a mixture of conventional brick and blockwork construction.


The no-fines house focusses on functional design for family life. There are only a handful of variations in the no-fines houses built and typically all variants are found on each estate.

  • 2-bedroom semi-detached and terraced houses, usually with a gable in each party wall
  • 3-bedroom semi-detached houses of which there are two styles
    • a gable end at both sides of the house
    • a sloping hip end at both sides of the house
  • Short terraces of 4 or 6 houses, each of which either
    • 3-bedroom end or mid-terrace
    • 4-bedroom mid-terrace with integral ginnel for rear access

Many examples are accompanied by a single-storey brick-built outbuilding, either in semi-detached arrangement set behind the house, or linking one house to the next.

By today's British standards the houses are set in large plots of land intended to allow the occupants to engage in domestic vegetable production. This was achieved through siting in low-cost locations.


The regular, grey finish of the houses has led some to criticise the estates as having a bleak, concrete jungle aesthetic. This is accentuated by the layout of the pronounced geometric structure of many of the estates on which they were built. In more recent years (particularly since many were sold into private hands following the 1980 Housing Act) no-fines estates have taken on a more varied look with most examples being painted (often in light pastel colours) and modified with porches or extensions.


No-fines houses were typically built in estates of a few hundred separeate dwellings. Examples are found throughout the UK, and include

  • Hesters Way and Rowanfield in Cheltenham
  • Innsworth and Elmbridge in Gloucester
  • Abbeydale in Redditch
  • Milton in Glasgow
  • New Addington in Croydon
  • Edinburgh
  • Leicester in Rowlatts Hill, Beaumont Leys, Braunstone Frith.

See also


  • BR153 Buildings Research Establishment (BRE): The structural condition of Wimpey no-fines low-rise dwellings, 23rd October 1989, BRE Press
  • BR160 No-Fines houses (1989), BRE Press
  • BR318 The structural condition of cast-in-situ concrete high-rise dwellings (1996) [Only published electronically, not printed] Includes: Allbetong, Laidlaw-Thornton, MWM, Prometo, Sectra, and Wimpey No-Fines, BRE Press
  • Wimpey Houses, Milton - Glasgow City Archives, Department of Architectural and Civic Design [1]
  • parliamentary questions and debates on 23rd October 1989,
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Wimpey_no-fines_house". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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