Question [Solved] Wimpey no fines
I am very close to purchasing a bungalow in which the Mortgage surveyor has stated the construction is Wimpey no fines , i have read a few articles on here which have been a great help but am i correct in thinking it is basically a solid wall construction with no cavity and externally finished off with a render , When I knock on the external walls though it does sound hollow ??
They used to be military bungalows at RAF Shepherds Grove in Stanton Nr Bury St Edmunds , Suffolk and although they were built approx 1950 they were all modernised approx 2007-2012 the outside render are all exactly the same colour and no one has changed the colour making me wonder why and is this a special type of render ?
Hi Allanh, welcome to the community.
Those "Tobacco house" bungalows certainly do look very sizeable and thanks to their 2006 renovation, they appear to be in excellent condition.
All the data that I can find does indeed refer to these properties as being of Wimpey No-fines construction but I did find one interesting photograph of at least one of the properties being renovated and rebuilt in what looks like concrete block. Now I'm not sure if all the properties here were renovated in the same way but if all of the supporting walls on all the properties were actually rebuilt in this way, then they may well be re-classified as traditional construction if all the original no fines concrete has been replaced with traditional brick/ block-work.
Image source www.ukairfields.org.uk
Copyright Richard E Flagg
I've also located an image of the bungalows taken before refurbishment.
No fines houses were built with solid walls usually around 13" thick and shouldn't really sound hollow. The hollow sound that you now hear could either be due to the presence of hollow concrete blocks, or due to external insulation panels if indeed they were used. Is the hollow sound from the internal or external side of the walls?
I also managed to find a website with many comments from airmen and former and current residents of these house which I found to be an intriguing read. They also discuss the sale and history of the bungalows including a tragic event in March 1962 involving what I believe was an F100 aircraft which had crashed into one or more of the bungalows causing an unfortunate loss of life.
Here an extract of just one of the posts.
Roger Byron-Collins says:
August 23, 2012 at 9:56 am
I read your sad note and please see what I researched on the accident at the Shepherds Grove USAF MQs Stanton in March 1962.
My company have for the past 34 years specialised in the acquisition of ex MOD airfields and married quarters and indeed acquired some 200 ‘tobacco houses’ identical to these at the USAF base at RAF Sculthorpe Norfolk in the late 1990s. I was interested in buying these houses at Shepherds Grove when they were offered for sale as a whole in March this year. On this occasion I was unsuccessful and they were acquired by a David Harris from nearby Hengrave Hall Bury St Edmunds. But on a few of my visits to the married quarters I noticed that by the children’s play area some bungalows have been removed. When I enquired of the security guards they explained about the tragedy and even talked about a ghost that was present on the estate at Shepherds Grove.
Upon returning to my office I made further enquiries of one of the professional societies of which I am a member and I was sent 2 newspaper articles from that time – the first is the Florida based St Petersburg Times of August 24 1962 and the second is a photo of the 21 year girl and her child that were saved from the crash which demolished 2 of the bungalows and the link is below.
The aircraft was involved was a F100D Super Sabre.
I also received recently an observation from a local man, John Stynes who attended the incident and here is his recollection.
AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT RAF SHEPHERDS GROVE – MARCH 1962
At the time of the incident a local man, John Stynes, then aged 19 and a member of 82 Squadron missile crew stationed at Shepherds Grove was accommodated with many others in the fire station building adjacent to the old air traffic control building and in March 2012 wrote his recollection.
To obtain their meals when off duty, they had to travel across to the secure site where the dining room was situated and three of them were in the process of doing this. They had just reached and it and were walking across the main runway when they were suddenly aware of a very low flying F100 aircraft circling above. They were surprised and then startled as they became aware of what they believed was gunfire behind them and could then see a large plume of smoke in the direction of the tobacco houses. (They subsequently discovered that the ‘gunfire’ was the ammunition exploding in the crashed aircraft) The F100 after making several passes above their heads eventually left and they continued over to the missile site.
When they arrived, they were told that there had been a major incident and that an aircraft had crashed into the tobacco houses. All those that were not needed at work were then put into vehicles and taken to the quarters to assist until the USAF could arrive with their own personnel. Unfortunately, in the interests of economy, their own fire engine had recently been withdrawn and they could not provide assistance with the fire but they helped in saving personal possessions from the damaged houses. The aircraft had landed in the road in front of the house and parallel to it.
We were then approached by one of our Launch Control Officers (Flt Lt Stubbs) to assist him with checking the runway to ensure it was clear and we went in his car, stopping to remove any small items from the surface that we thought may constitute a hazard to aircraft. Eventually, a C47 Dakota aircraft fitted out for casualty evacuations landed and taxied up to us, inside was a medical crew including a doctor who we took back to the incident site.
By this time, the fire was out and the aircraft could be approached. Concern was then expressed about the disappearance of Peter Hammond, who most of us knew as he had recently worked at the missile site. The doctor suggested that we should form search parties and look for him, as it was possible that he was in shock and had run away. This was done, but to no avail. We were later told that Peter was eventually found beneath the aircraft. We were also told that Peter had been outside the front of the building (up a ladder?) and had seen the aircraft coming towards him over the top of the house, he had time to enter through the front door and warn the occupants who went out of the back. Unfortunately, Peter went back out the front and was hit by the aircraft that had hit at the rear of the house, skipped over it and landed in the road.
Apologies for veering off topic Alan but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this locations historic events.
Back on topic. So this leads me to wonder if all the properties were refurbished as the image shows above or were only a select number modified?
I would also like to know if the surveyor undertook any invasive measures to actually confirm the structure of your building as it stands today, or did they simply make this assessment on the basis that the property has still retained the appearance of a typical no-fines bungalow?
If the property has indeed been rebuilt and all the original no-fines concrete removed, then it may well actually be worth anything from 10-25% more than what a standard no-fines bungalow would be, which would be good news for you. I think it's well worth digging a little deeper into this.
Did you order a structural or a standard homebuyers survey?
In the discussions on the webpage that I linked above, former residents also mentioned the existence of oil tanks for heating. I have no idea if these are still present or if the properties are now linked to mains gas services.
Please let me know how you get on with this intriguing property, which also happens to be located in what appears to be an idyllic location.
Best regards and good luck