Laing Easiform houses are one of the most popular types of non-standard construction properties found in the UK. The construction type of your home can affect how easy it is to maintain, mortgage and sell in the future.
So, what is a Laing Easiform house?
Easiform is a type of non-standard construction house built from cast-in-situ concrete. The system of building was developed by John Laing plc. Over 90,000 Easiform houses were built in the UK from 1919 until the early 1970s. There are two different construction types: Easiform Type I and Easiform Type II.
Our complete guide answers the top six most popular questions homeowners, sellers and buyers have on Easiform houses. We cover everything from how they’re built to getting a mortgage.
I also give you my recommendations for the best ways to sell a Laing Easiform house based on what you prioritise the most: time or money.
Not sure how to sell your Laing Easiform house? Our free quiz can help guide you in the right direction:
1. What is a Laing Easiform house?
Easiform is a type of non-standard construction concrete house developed by John Laing plc.
Laing Easiform houses were designed to be simple and quick to build. This was necessary, as there was a shortage of housing and materials following WWI and WWII.
The houses are built from cast-in-situ concrete (more on this below). This removed the need for skilled bricklayers, who were also in short supply after the First and Second World Wars.
Over 90,000 of these houses were built in the UK from 1919 until the early 1970s.
The Easiform construction method was used to build more than 25 basic types of houses, flats, and maisonettes. The system allowed for bay windows, porches of different designs and a variety of exterior finishes.
2. How are Laing Easiform houses built?
The way a Laing Easiform house is built depends on the construction type and year it was built. There are two construction types of Easiform houses: Type I and Type II.
We’ve put together a handy table showing the different construction methods based on the type of construction and year it was built.
Let’s take a look at each construction type in a bit more detail below…
2.1 Easiform Type I
The original Easiform houses (aka Type I) were built with 8-inch-thick solid concrete walls. The external walls were made from no-fines clinker concrete.
“No-fines” refers to the type of concrete mixture used, which contains no sand or other small particles.
Approximately 2,100 Easiform houses of this type were built from 1919 to the mid-1920’s.
2.2 Easiform Type II
From the mid 1920’s, a new type of cavity walled Easiform construction was introduced.
The structural system of the Easiform Type II house is essentially the same as that of a traditional cavity-walled brick house.
The floor and roof loads are taken directly to the foundations via the loadbearing inner skin of the external walls. The inner skin is stabilised and stiffened by wall tie connections to the outer skin.
Metal shuttering (or moulds) were used to cast the concrete cavity walls on site.
The thickness of the external cavity walls varied in the Type II Easiform houses depending on the year it was built:
- 1925 – 1945. The external cavity walls consist of an outer wall of 3-inch normal dense gravel aggregate. The outer wall is reinforced with ½ inch diameter steel horizontal bars. A 2-inch cavity separates the outer wall from the 3-inch inner skin, cast using clinker aggregate concrete.
- 1945 – early 1970’s. The external cavity walls consist of an outer wall of 3 ½ inch natural aggregate concrete. A 2-inch cavity separates this from an inner leaf of 3 ½ inch open texture concrete. Reinforcement is present in both the inner and outer skins.
Roofs were built using more traditional timber trusses and concrete tiles. Some roofs are hipped, and some are gable, depending on the design.
3. Can you get a mortgage on a Laing Easiform house?
Generally, you can get a mortgage on a Laing Easiform house. However, some mortgage lenders will not lend on Easiform properties built pre-1945. There will be fewer providers to choose from because of the “non-standard” construction type. This means you may have to accept a mortgage with less favourable terms.
Here are some of my tips for securing a mortgage on a Laing Easiform house:
- Find out the build year. Some mortgage providers will not lend on a Laing Easiform house if it was built pre-1945. A good place to start will be to find out the year the house was built.
- Speak with a mortgage broker. I would recommend speaking with a mortgage broker if you’re struggling to find a suitable lender. They’ll be able to introduce you to providers who are happy to offer mortgages on Laing Easiform houses.
- Lower your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Mortgage providers categorise non-standard properties as “higher risk”. This is why they’re sometimes more hesitant to lend. If you increase your deposit amount, this will bring down the risk for the lender.
There are other factors that will affect your ability to get a mortgage, not just the construction type! Lenders consider things such as your credit history, any existing debt and employment status to name a few.
4. Problems with Laing Easiform houses
Here are some of the problems you may encounter with a Laing Easiform house:
- Asbestos. Lots of Laing Easiform houses will contain asbestos. For example, the soffits were originally made from asbestos cement boarding. Other common places include the loft hatches and the under-stair cupboards. Remember that any asbestos must be safely removed and disposed of under the Health and Safety Executive guidelines.
- Poor insulation. Laing Easiform houses are not very thermally efficient in their unmodified form. Improvements can be made by adding external wall insulation, loft insulation and new windows.
- Corrosion of the embedded reinforcement. Some Easiform houses may suffer from corrosion of the embedded reinforcement. This can cause cracking in the external walls. Generally, the cracking tends to be minor in any Easiform houses built after 1946.
- Fewer mortgage providers to choose from. Depending on the build year and the lender’s criteria, it can sometimes be tricky to get a mortgage on a Laing Easiform house. Not all mortgage providers will be willing to lend on a non-standard construction property.
- Can be harder to sell. Some buyers wrongly assume that Easiform houses are defective or not structurally sound. It can be difficult to dispel these myths. Other buyers simply avoid all non-standard construction properties altogether. So, it can take a while to find a willing buyer.
If you’re considering buying a Laing Easiform house, I would recommend that you get a full structural survey (aka a Level 3 Building Survey). This should be carried out by a qualified chartered surveyor.
A full building survey will offer you guidance on:
- Build type
- Structural integrity, and
- Maintenance issues.
The report will flag any problems with the property and give you an estimate of any costs of repairs.
5. Can I sell a Laing Easiform house?
The good news is you can sell a Laing Easiform house. However, it can take longer to find a buyer due to the non-standard construction type. Many buyers avoid non-standard construction properties altogether. This can be because of the associated stigma, difficulties getting a mortgage or worries about future saleability.
To avoid common mistakes or wasting time when selling your Laing Easiform home, take our free quiz to get personalised advice:
Here are some of my tips to help improve your chances of selling a Laing Easiform house:
- Research mortgage lenders for your buyer. Depending on the year it was built, some Easiform houses can be difficult to mortgage. Do a bit of homework to find out who is willing to lend on Easiform houses. This can put buyer’s minds at ease and increase the likelihood of them putting in an offer.
- Pick the right estate agent. If you decide that selling with an estate agent is the right option for you, make sure to spend some time finding the right one for the job. If possible, try and find an agent with experience selling Easiform properties. They’ll be able to dispel myths to buyers and have a great understanding of how Easiform houses perform in the area.
- Consider alternative selling options. If you’re struggling to find a buyer on the open market, be open to considering alternative selling options. There are alternative ways to sell a Easiform house that may be better suited to your goals and circumstances. If you want to explore alternative selling options, you can follow this link to get a direct referral to my #1 Leading Auction House. You can get a free auction appraisal and have all your auction questions answered in the next 24 hours.
Let’s look at those alternative selling options in more detail below…
6. What is the best way to sell a Laing Easiform house?
The best way to sell a Laing Easiform house will depend on what you prioritise most: time or money. If you have the luxury of time, then selling with a good, local estate agent should get you the best price for your home. If you prioritise speed and certainty, then auction is your best option.
I’ve set out the pros and cons of each option below, so you have all the information you need to make the right decision for you…
6.1 When to sell your Laing Easiform house with an estate agent
If you want to achieve the best price possible for your house, then selling with a good, local estate agent is the best option for you.
Just be prepared that it might take a long time to sell your Laing Easiform house this way.
According to a 2022 study by Zoopla, it takes around 25 weeks on average to sell a house. Remember that this is an average. Non-standard construction properties, like Easiform houses, tend to take even longer to sell.
Another disadvantage of selling with an estate agent is that buyers can, and often will, pull out of a sale.
Our research has revealed that a massive 31% of all house sales fall through at least once before completion!
Unfortunately, non-standard construction homes also carry a lot of stigma. Buyers might get cold feet after speaking about the property type with misinformed friends and end up pulling out.
If you don’t have the luxury of time, then selling your Laing Easiform house by auction might be a better option for you…
6.2 When to sell your Laing Easiform house at auction
If you want a balance between speed and price, then consider selling your Easiform house by auction. Selling by auction can also be a great plan B if you’re struggling to sell with an estate agent.
Generally, selling by auction is much faster than selling with an estate agent. Sales can be agreed in as little as 6-8 weeks!
You will also have a much higher chance of achieving a sale. Less than 1% of sales agreed by traditional auction fall through. By comparison, 31% of all house sales fall through at least once before completion if sold on the open market.
Auctioneers tend to have more experience dealing with non-standard construction properties than many estate agents. This can be important when selling a Laing Easiform house as you don’t want misinformed agents putting prospective buyers off!
Auctions also have a higher success rate of 78% (compared with estate agents at just 51%).
Get free Easiform home sale help
If you think auction might be right for you (and if you want to save a lot of the homework, headaches and guesswork), I can help. Take the short quiz below to check auction's right for you.
If auction's a good fit for you, I'll connect you with my #1 Leading Auction House. You can get a free auction appraisal and have all your auction questions answered (for free) in the next 24 hours.
By Matthew Cooper, Co-Founder of Home Selling Expert