Mortgage lenders favour homes built using standard building techniques – typically involving brick, block or stone walls topped by a slate or tiled roof. If yours is a non-standard construction – such as a Cornish unit house – you could face more of a challenge securing a mortgage.

What are Cornish construction homes?

Mortgages for homes of unusual construction present many mortgage lenders with a problem – chiefly, a concern that recovery of the mortgage advance may be compromised by the potentially poor resale value of such a home.

If you default on the loan repayments, the lender’s repossession of the dwelling may realise insufficient funds to recover the original advance.

Since this might be a case in point, what is a Cornish construction house?

The website Non-Standard House (NSH) Construction explains that the Cornish Unit House is immediately recognisable by its distinctive oversized and hipped Mansard roof – a dwelling designed by A E Beresford and R Tonkin in response to the country’s urgent need for quickly-built, affordable housing in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Around 30,000 of these homes were built by Selleck Nicholls & Company and the Central Cornwall Concrete & Artificial Stone Company up until about 1956 – with slight variations between Type 1 and Type 2 versions of the same design and a further subdivision into types A and B.

The boom in post-war housing construction anticipated temporary homes that would last little longer than ten years, although many of them – including Cornish construction homes – are still around today. Like many of the other “temporary” housing units built during this period, Cornish construction homes were designated as “defective” under Part XV1 of the Housing Act 1985 – in this case, mainly because of the erosion and deterioration over time of both the concrete cladding panels and the concrete pillars supporting them.

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Cornish unit – a form of construction

Cornish construction homes were built using precast reinforced concrete (PRC) panels around a concrete frame to construct the first floor. The second floor was entirely taken up with the mansard roof made from clay tiles hung on almost vertical timber trusses for the most part, but then a final section of a less steeply pitched roof. This completed the iconic and immediately recognisable appearance of the mansard-roofed Cornish unit.

Can I get a mortgage on a Cornish house?

As we’ve mentioned, mortgages for unusual construction homes can prove a challenge – and this applies to Cornish construction dwellings.

There are companies specialising in the renovation of these particular non-standard construction homes. Building works typically take between four and five weeks, culminating in a PRC Certificate of Works typically accepted by many mortgage lenders as making good any former defects in the building.

Some methods, for instance, involve the removal of the concrete cladding panels on the ground floor and rebuilding in standard twin-course brickwork. Acrow props (adjustable steel props) are installed throughout the house to replace the former concrete pillars and columns.

Several local authorities have also trialled replacing the original clay roof tiles with Metrotile lightweight steel roof tiles.

With the appropriate renovations completed (brick walls in place of the concrete panelling on the ground floor) and a PRC Certificate of Works issued, many lenders will consider a Cornish construction mortgage.

However, your choice might be limited by the smaller pool of willing lenders, so you might want to consult experienced brokers – such as ourselves here at – to help identify those that recognise an approved scheme of refurbishment and repair.

What is a non-standard construction mortgage?

Let’s recap on some of the issues if you’ve asked, can I get a mortgage on a Cornish unit house?

The answer is “yes” – qualified by the fact that you will almost certainly need a certificate from a reputable builder that repairs and refurbishes the original concrete cladding and framework have been completed per an approved programme of works.

It may be worth reiterating the wide range of dwellings of non-standard construction since Cornish construction houses are just one example. The range of possibilities includes:

  • homes with thatched roofs – like that picturesque country cottage you’re interested in buying;
  • homes built around steel or timber frames;
  • houses built with just a single course of brickwork – only twin courses provide the degree of insulation required in modern homes;
  • homes built using prefabricated concrete panels;
  • flats in high-rise blocks;
  • listed buildings – including buildings of historic or architectural interest; and
  • many others.

Next steps

You will likely find it more than a usual challenge to secure a mortgage for a non-standard construction home. For instance, if you are looking for a Cornish PRC mortgage, the pool of willing lenders is likely to be relatively small.

For that reason, you might want to consult experienced experts – such as ourselves here at – so that we can help to identify those lenders currently prepared to consider Cornish unit house mortgages and assist you in the formal process of application.

Damian Youell

Feel Free To Start WhatsApp Chat With Us...

How We Work

1: We contact you and take down your details, income outgoings, name, address etc.

2: We will research the whole market and email you a detailed quote as well as a list of documents to proceed.

3: You upload the documents and information needed via our channel our online portal.

Feel Free to Contact Us

FAQs – Mortgage for Cornish Unit House

Can I get a mortgage on a cornish-unit house?

Yes, you can get a mortgage on a cornish-unit house but you may need to understand a few things first.

Cornish Unit Properties are not usually considered as first time purchase properties due to their age and condition. However, they do make excellent investment opportunities. If you are considering purchasing a property which has been constructed using non-standard materials, then you should speak to a specialist mortgage broker who specialises in this type of loan. You can contact us today to discuss your requirements.

What is meant by a cornish unit house?

A cornish unit house is a type of building where the structure is made up of two or three layers of concrete block or similar material. This means that there is no internal wall between rooms. There are also no windows or doors.

Why would someone buy a cornish unit house instead of a standard house?

There are several reasons why people choose to buy a cornish unit property over a traditional house. These include:

  • the lack of maintenance costs associated with these types of properties;
  • the lack of noise pollution (as there are no walls);
  • the ease of conversion into flats;
  • the ability to add extensions without having to demolish the existing structure; and
  • the fact that many of these properties are listed buildings.

How much does it cost to build a cornish unit house compared to a normal house?

The cost of a cornish-unit house depends on the size of the property. In general, the larger the property, the higher the price. You may need to contact an expert builder to determine the exact cost of constructing a cornish-unit house.

About The Author

mortgage broker damian youell

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Damian is an experienced mortgage broker, founder of Ltd and company director. With over a decade working as a mortgage broker he has a strong understanding of hard to place mortgage cases. With hundreds of 5 star client reviews. hundreds of repeat clients his work speaks for himself.

He started as a one man band with the philosophy of putting clients needs ahead of his own. This ethos of offering excellent customer service has helped the business grow over the years. He gets satisfaction on getting cases pushed through to offer stage where other mortgage broker and companies have failed.

Throughout his time as an adviser he has carved out a niche area of advice helping clients with their business protection requirements too. Having helped hundreds of client with Relevant Life Policies, Shareholder Protection Insurance, Keyperson Policies and other important protection requirements of large to small businesses.

At home he is a family man and likes to spend his time with his four children and wife Lisa. He enjoys going on holidays spending time with friends and going for walks.