Airey House Information – Structure & Asbestos

Airey House

Airey House Information

  • Manufacturer: W Airey & Sons
  • Construction Type: PRC
  • Architect/Designer:  Sir Edwin Airey
  • Period Built: 1945-55
  • Number Built: 26,000
  • AKA: Improved Duo Slab

Airey House – Classified as defective by the Secretary of State under Part XVI of the Housing Act 1985 England & Wales.

The Airey House design was developed by Leeds-based builder, Sir Edwin Airey in the aftermath of the Second World War.
It was built on Sir Aireys’ earlier experience with concrete housing. He had designed and used the Airey Duo slab system in the 1920’s. In common with some other concrete house designs of the period. The 1940’s Airey house (Dubbed the new improved duo slab) was intended to use the minimum amount of imported material and be erected with minimal use of heavy plant, using unskilled labour from the depleted labour sources of the time.

Almost 80 years on, many non improved Airey properties are suffering from material degradation making it difficult if not impossible to obtain a mortgage on one. Improved properties will normally have been structurally repaired in one way or another, sometimes by replacing much of the original concrete with brickwork and insulation, or insulated panels sometimes faced with brick, thus adding a much needed layer of insulation to the properties. The finished work should result in a much warmer and structurally sound home, that may also be acceptable to some mortgage providers.

The Airey house features a frame of prefabricated concrete columns reinforced with tubing recycled from the canvas tilt frames of military trucks. A series of shiplap style concrete panels, tied back to the columns, form the external envelope.

Airey House
Airey House Exterior Surface

Airey – External Walls

The Airey house structure consists of precast concrete, storey height columns clad with concrete panels in a ship-lap arrangement. Columns are at 18″ centres and panels are 3’0″ long and about 1 1″ high. They are attached to the columns by loops of twisted copper wire which pass from hooks on the rear face of the ends of the panels, behind the adjoining columns to similar hooks on the adjoining panels. Columns are exposed in the window openings where they serve as mullions and reveals.
The critical element of the design, is the columns. They are exceptionally slender and are reinforced with steel tube, rather than bar reinforcement. The reinforcement tube extends to the ends of the columns.

airey House Frame Exposed
Airey House Internal Frame Exposed

Jigs with projecting prongs were used to locate the columns during construction. The ground, first floor and roof structure columns were dowelled together. However, columns with steel tube exposed at the end were stood on a damp proof course to form the ground floor walls.
With no cavity insulation and cladding that was not reliably weather-proof, water has been found to condense in the cavity, or enter through driving rain causing it to accumulate around the column feet, causing corrosion of the reinforcing tube.

A further factor leading to decay, is the small dimension of the column section, approximately 2″ by 4″. The tube is 1″ external diameter, so there is very little concrete protecting the steel.  The thin gauge concrete was made with small aggregate which has a higher water demand than standard concrete. Consequently, the tube reinforcing an Airey column is liable to rust, both where it is in contact with any water on the DPC and at any point in its height where carbon dioxide has neutralised the alkalis in the thin concrete covering.

Airey House Structure

Floors
The ground floor is of solid concrete construction.
First floor joists are sometimes timber, but are more commonly fabricated beams akin to the modem Metsec range. These span from front to rear over a spine wall structure.

Roof
Roofs are traditional pitched timber rafter/purlin construction, with a plain gable. The main roof is clad with either interlocking or plain tiles on felt and battens. Gable apexes are typically clad with plain tiles, although timber or PVCU boarding is occasionally used.

Gable pikes are tile hung or timber clad. The Airey house type is susceptible to column reinforcement corrosion which can cause the columns to split in two.

Other
The party wall comprises similar columns to those used for the facade, clad with plain panels.
The wall consists of two leaves similar to the outer wall placed back to back. The internal spine wall (running parallel to the front elevation) is of concrete columns with plasterboard lining.
At eaves level, this construction ceases, and the roof space party wall is formed from either 4 1/2″ brickwork or 3″ clinker blockwork.

The loadbearing spine wall partition to the ground and first floor consists of similar PRC columns to those used for the façade. Non-loadbearing partitions are formed from timber stud framing. Partitions are lined with either plasterboard or fibreboard, as are the ceilings.
The chimneys are of masonry construction.

Airey House Asbestos Locations

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT ALL POST WAR TRADITIONAL & NON-TRADITIONAL DWELLINGS MAY CONTAIN VARIOUS FORMS OF ASBESTOS.
THE PRESENCE OF ASBESTOS IN DWELLINGS IS NOT PURELY LINKED TO PROPERTIES OF NON-TRADITIONAL CONSTRUCTION.

Airey House – Improved 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses

Airey House

DO NOT VENTURE UNDER FLOORS OR INTO EXTERNAL WALLS – CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL OR HOUSING PROVIDERS ASBESTOS ADVICE TEAM

All textured coatings are to be presumed to contain asbestos unless a full up to date survey has been carried out, please contact your local council’s housing/asbestos team for further advice.

Key: AIB – ASBESTOS INSULATING BOARD A/C – ASBESTOS CEMENT

ITEMELEMENTRISK
FLOOR TILESTILESMED/LOW
FIRE BREAKS BETWEEN FLOOR VOID TO EXTERNAL WALLSPANELHIGH
ASBESTOS DEBRISFLOOR VOIDHIGH
ASBESTOS DEBRIS & PACKERS TO CEILING JOISTSFRONT AND REAR WALL VOIDHIGH
ROOFTILESMED/LOW
GARAGEALL ELEMENTSHIGH
SOFFITSSOFFITSHIGH
HOT TANK CUPBOARDFLUEHIGH
SINKSINK PADMED/LOW
BATH PANELPANEL A/CMED/LOW
TOILET CISTERNTOILET CISTERNMED/LOW
FLUEFLUEHIGH

Airey 1 Bedroom Improved Flats

Airey flat improved

DO NOT VENTURE UNDER FLOORS OR INTO EXTERNAL WALLS – CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL OR HOUSING PROVIDERS ASBESTOS ADVICE TEAM

All textured coatings are to be presumed to contain asbestos unless a full up to date survey has been carried out, please contact your local council’s housing/asbestos team for further advice.

Key: AIB – ASBESTOS INSULATING BOARD A/C – ASBESTOS CEMENT

ITEMELEMENTRISK
BALCONYCEILING PANELHIGH
FLOOR TILESTILESMED/LOW
SINK PADSINK PADMED/LOW
BATH PANELPANEL A/CMED/LOW
TOILET CISTERNTOILET CISTERNMED/LOW
STORE CUPBOARDCEILING PANELHIGH
FIRE BREAKS/DEBRIS BETWEEN FLOOR VOID TO EXTERNAL WALLSPANELHIGH
ASBESTOS DEBRIS & PACKERS TO GROUND FLOOR FLAT CEILING JOISTSFRONT AND REAR WALL VOIDHIGH

Airey – Unimproved 2, 3, 4 Bedroom Houses

Airey House

DO NOT VENTURE UNDER FLOORS OR INTO EXTERNAL WALLS – CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL OR HOUSING PROVIDERS ASBESTOS ADVICE TEAM

All textured coatings are to be presumed to contain asbestos unless a full up to date survey has been carried out, please contact your local council for further advice and instruction.

Key: AIB – ASBESTOS INSULATING BOARD A/C – ASBESTOS CEMENT

ITEMELEMENTRISK
FLOOR TILESTILESMED/LOW
FIRE BREAKS BETWEEN FLOOR VOID TO EXTERNAL WALLSPANELHIGH
FIRE BREAKS/DEBRIS BETWEEN FLOOR VOID TO EXTERNAL WALLSPANELHIGH
ASBESTOS DEBRIS & PACKERS TO CEILING JOISTSFRONT AND REAR WALL VOIDHIGH
ROOFTILESMED/LOW
GARAGEALL ELEMENTSHIGH
SOFFITSSOFFITSHIGH
HOT TANK CUPBOARDFLUEHIGH
SINKSINK PADMED/LOW
BATH PANELPANELHIGH
TOILET CISTERNTOILET CISTERNMED/LOW
FLUEFLUEHIGH

Airey – Unimproved 1 Bedroom Flats

Airey Flat

DO NOT VENTURE UNDER FLOORS OR INTO EXTERNAL WALLS – CONTACT YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL OR HOUSING PROVIDERS ASBESTOS ADVICE TEAM All textured coatings are to be presumed to contain asbestos unless a full up to date survey has been carried out, please contact your local council for further advice and instruction.

Key: AIB – ASBESTOS INSULATING BOARD A/C – ASBESTOS CEMENT

ITEMELEMENTRISK
BALCONYCEILING PANELHIGH
FLOOR TILESTILESMED/LOW
SINKSINK PADMED/LOW
BATH PANELPANEL A/CMED/LOW
TOILET CISTERNTOILET CISTERNMED/LOW
STORE CUPBOARDCEILING PANELHIGH
FIRE BREAKS BETWEEN FLOOR VOID TO EXTERNAL WALLPANELHIGH
FRONT AND REAR WALL VOIDASBESTOS DEBRISHIGH

Airey House Gallery

Airey House
Original Condition
Airey House
After Refurb
Airey House
Original Build
Airey Flat
Airey House
Row of Airey Flats
Airey House
Airey Rural Non Traditional Construction
Airey House
Original Build
Airey House
Airey PRC Construction
Airey House
Airey PRC Construction
Airey House
Interior of Airey Construction
Airey House
Airey House Flats Variant
airey flats
Airey PRC Variant Flats
Airey flats
Airey Flat
Airey House construction
Airey House Construction Chingford
Airey House
Original Build
Airey House
Original Build
Airey House
Airey House
Original Build
Airey House
Refurbished
Airey House
Original next to Refurb
Airey House
Refurbished
Airey House refit
Refurbished
Airey House
Original
Airey House
Original
Airey House
Original
Airey House Diagram
Airey Diagram
Airey House
Extended
Airey House
Airey House
Refurbishment
Airey House
Original Condition
Airey House
Support Stanchion
Airey House
Refurbishment
Airey House
Original Painted
Airey House
Framework
Airey House Model
Airey Demo Model
Airey House
Refubishment
Airey House
Original
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Airey House
Original Condition
Airey House
Refurbished

Video Demolition of Airey House

Responses

  1. People need to be aware of the risk of asbestos in these properties. There’s not a single mention of asbestos on this page which I find worrying especially as it’s common to be found to the external wall cavities and behind the concrete cladding as an example used as firebreaks, within the mmmf versil wall cavity insulation and the black bitumen sealing the panelling to the concrete frame / columns. Let alone to the rest of the property. Obviously variations do occur but from most I’ve seen always there.