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What is a PRC (Precast Reinforced Concrete) Home?

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PRC homes were built as a short-term housing solution post World War II but now they are way past their use-by date, and banks are nervous to lend against them.

In this article, we cover practical solutions to sell a PRC house.

Table of Contents

What is a PRC property?

Precast reinforced concrete (PRC) houses are considered a type of non-standard construction housing. This term covers any housing that does not follow the conventional construction methods of brick or timber frame structures.

It includes other methods such as steel frame, cast-in situ concrete, and PRC construction. While steel frame and cast in situ concrete are relatively less problematic, PRC construction poses certain challenges.

PRC stands for pre-cast reinforced concrete.

These properties were built with pre-cast reinforced concrete panels in the 1940s and 1950s due to the lack of materials and skilled craftsmen in the wake of the war. These homes provide ample living space and gardens and were popular with their original Local Authority tenants.

The construction of PRC homes was an answer to the huge demand for housing after the war. As such, these homes were built from prefabricated panels, as the necessary materials and personnel were in short supply.

Precast concrete elements can be joined together to construct an entire structure. It is often used for structural elements such as:

  • Floors
  • Columns
  • Wall panels
  • Beams
  • Staircases
  • Tunnels

This concrete is a reliable choice for these kinds of components, as it is durable and can be designed to fit a variety of needs.

When put together, these components can create strong, long-lasting structures that are safe and efficient.

In this article, we will reveal common problems with PRC homes and how you can sell one.

Do I need a PRC Certificate to sell my house?

Homeowners, purchasers, and investors in the PRC will need to provide PRC certification when they want to sell their property, buy a property, release equity, or obtain financing from banks or building societies.

What Is A PRC (Precast Reinforced Concrete) Home?
Once the buildings have been repaired, it's often hard to tell them apart from those made of brick. This is because part of the repair process involves covering them with a brick skin.

PRC problems

In the early 1980s, a problem arose with buildings bought through the Right To Buy scheme. The temporary structures were made of concrete panels which began to crack, making them unsaleable and unsellable to those who had already purchased them.

Banks, mortgage companies, and building societies would no longer lend on these properties. The government stepped in and offered to buy them back or fund up to 95% of the cost of their structural repair. This funding is no longer available.

Once the buildings have been repaired, it’s often hard to tell them apart from those made of brick. This is because part of the repair process involves covering them with a brick skin.

What is a PRC rebuild?

The general scope of the work includes removing or making the load-bearing concrete elements of the property redundant and rebuilding using traditional materials. There are various repair schemes available for each construction type listed as Defective.

Can I get a mortgage without a PRC Certificate?

Mortgage lenders have a policy of not lending on homes that are considered “defective.” However, they may make an exception if provided with a PRC Certificate, which is evidence that structural repairs have been completed in accordance with an approved PRC license.

What Happens if the PRC Certificate is Missing or Lost
Converting a PRC property to a brick house can take a minimum of eight weeks, so you might have to move out.

Long-term investment opportunity

While these PRC homes represent an investment opportunity to brick them up and sell them on, the reality is that if your neighbouring properties have not been repaired, yours will remain unmortgageable.

With the rising cost of materials and labour, the repair costs are substantially higher.  However, we’d be happy to buy your PRC property even if it is tenanted and not repaired.

What Are The Most Common Types of PRC Construction?

These are the most common types of PRC homes:

Airey

Airey PRC houses are 2-storey, semi-detached homes with external walls made from exposed aggregate PRC panels and vertical concrete posts. To repair these buildings, you must remove the posts and replace them with Thermalite blocks, insulation and a brick outer skin. 

Cornish

Cornish PRC houses come in two types: 

Cornish House Type I and Cornish House Type II. Around 30,000 of these houses were built in England and Wales between 1954 and the mid-1960s, with many of them now having been structurally refurbished. Type I are usually bungalows, 2-storey semi-detached and terraced houses, while type II only includes 2-storey semi-detached homes. 

Hawksley

Hawksley PRC houses are easily mistaken for traditionally constructed buildings, as they have a brick outer layer. However, they are made from PRC beams. These houses are usually 2-storey semi-detached or terraced homes with between two and four bedrooms.

Reema

Reema Hollow Panel houses are built with external walls made from PRC panels. To repair these buildings, you must treat the concrete panels and insulate them with a brick outer skin. These properties are generally bungalows, semi-detached or terraced homes, and common issues include cracked floor beams and cracked and spalled windows.

Unity

Unity PRC properties have external walls made from stack-bonded precast concrete panels and storey-height PRC columns. To repair them, you must remove the external concrete walls and replace them with Thermalite blocks, insulation and a brick outer skin.

Wates

Wates PRC properties are also ‘defective’, as they are constructed with PRC panels. These properties are typically 2-storey semi-detached and terraced houses.

Getting a Mortgage For a PRC House

Mortgages for properties built with pre-stressed concrete (PRC) can be hard to secure since these homes are viewed as high-risk, making them difficult to insure and sell.

To obtain a mortgage for a PRC house, it must have gone through the appropriate repairs and have a corresponding PRC certificate.

Every lender has their criteria for a property to be deemed suitable security for a loan. This usually includes assessing the structure of the building as well as the potential for further issues.

It’s important to note that some lenders may impose additional conditions, such as a higher deposit or higher interest rates.

This makes it unaffordable for an owner-occupier to purchase it.

What is a PRC Certificate
A PRC certificate confirms that a repair system has been successfully completed.

What is a PRC Certificate?

A PRC certificate confirms that a repair system has been completed. Without it, it is unlikely that mortgage lenders will offer a loan against a PRC property.

Many mortgage lenders will not be willing to extend credit for a PRC house unless all the necessary structural repairs have been done and they are in line with an approved PRC licence.

The work must also have been overseen by an approved PRC inspector. Once this has been completed, a PRC certificate will be issued.

What Happens if the PRC Certificate is Missing or Lost?

While some certificates can be lost over time, if the PRC certificate is unavailable, it typically means the document was never issued.

An intrusive inspection of the property must be organised to determine what work has been done and to what standards.

A professional PRC Structural Engineer should carry out the inspection. They will need to uncover certain parts of the home to decide if any repairs have been done. If the work does not meet the necessary criteria for PRC certification, additional work must be completed.

Can concrete houses be repaired?

To minimise the potential hazards of a concrete house, repairs may involve the removal of concrete pillars, blocks, or support beams.

It may be necessary to install insulation to enhance the energy efficiency of the building. In certain situations, it might be recommended to add a brick “skin” to alter the aesthetic of the structure.

What is a concrete house?
You can repair the property to make it suitable for mortgage lending and hope that neighbouring properties do the same.

What is involved in PRC repair?

The work involves removing or making the load-bearing concrete elements of the property redundant and rebuilding them using traditional materials. Obtaining a PRC Certificate with a full repair can be expensive, potentially causing disruptions, and the cost can vary depending on the type of PRC property.

You can repair the property to make it suitable for mortgage lending and hope that neighbouring properties do the same.

If you decide to repair the property, make sure you use a specialist builder to get the job done correctly. If it’s a semi-detached or terraced house, you will need your neighbour’s consent, as the shared boundary will also need to be converted to standard construction.  You will need to draw up a party wall agreement.

Converting a PRC property to a brick house can take a minimum of eight weeks, so you might have to move out.

Selling a PRC House for Cash

Selling a PRC property can be notoriously difficult because of a lack of mortgages. This limits the property to cash buyers only.

You can sell your PRC home for cash to us.  We’ll buy it in any condition.  We’ll buy it, hold it and hope that neighbours repair their homes.

We have lots of five-star reviews, so we are reliable buyers.  Get in touch with us today so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life.

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