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About the Trusteel MKII

Introduction to Trusteel MKII

The Trusteel MKII, also known as Minox or Trusteel, is a model of steel-framed house that holds a significant place in the history of British architecture. Manufactured by Trusteel Corporation (Universal) Ltd, these houses were predominantly built between 1946 and 1966. The Trusteel MKII model was the brainchild of designer C.R.Stapleford, who contributed to the creation of approximately 20,000 of these unique homes. This section will delve deeper into the origins and distinctive features of the Trusteel MKII model, setting the stage for a comprehensive understanding of its design, structure, and significance in the housing industry.

Identifying Characteristics of Trusteel MKII

Stepping into the world of Trusteel MKII, one is greeted by an array of architectural styles, ranging from bungalows and chalet bungalows to two-storey detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses. The medium-pitched hipped or gable roof, covered with plain or interlocking concrete tiles, is a distinctive feature of these homes. The external walls exhibit a variety of finishes, including brick, plain or harled (pebbledash) render, tile hanging, or shiplap boarding, either used throughout or in combination. A unique characteristic of these houses is the visible steelwork in the roof space, a testament to the robust steel-framed construction.

The Trusteel MKII houses are a testament to the versatility and durability of steel-framed construction. Here are some of the key identifying features that set these houses apart:

1. Variety of Architectural Styles: The Trusteel MKII model is not confined to a single architectural style. It includes bungalows, chalet bungalows, and two-storey houses that can be detached, semi-detached, or terraced. This variety caters to different homeowner preferences and needs.

2. Distinctive Roof Design: One of the most noticeable features of Trusteel MKII houses is their medium-pitched hipped or gable roof. The roofs are covered with plain or interlocking concrete tiles, adding to the aesthetic appeal and durability of the houses.

3. Diverse External Wall Finishes: The external walls of Trusteel MKII houses exhibit a variety of finishes. These include brick, plain or harled (pebbledash) render, tile hanging, or shiplap boarding. These finishes can be used throughout the house or in combination, offering a unique look for each home.

4. Visible Steelwork: A unique characteristic of Trusteel MKII houses is the visible steelwork in the roof space. This feature is a clear indicator of the steel-framed construction of these houses, showcasing the strength and durability of the design.

These identifying features not only give Trusteel MKII houses their unique charm but also reflect the innovative use of steel-framed construction during the period they were built.

Important Notes for Surveyors

When surveying a Trusteel MKII house, there are several key factors to consider. These houses, while robust in their construction, can exhibit certain issues due to their unique design and the materials used.

1. Corrosion of Steel Components: One of the most common issues found in Trusteel MKII houses is the severe corrosion of steel lattice stanchions, particularly at the bases. Steel lintels and sill supports can also be affected. This corrosion is a critical concern as it can compromise the structural integrity of the house.

2. Damp Proof Course (DPC) Issues: In some cases, the DPCs in Trusteel MKII houses are found to be near or below ground level. This placement can lead to damp issues, affecting the overall health of the building and its occupants.

3. Debris and Mortar Droppings in Cavity Bottom: The presence of debris and mortar droppings in the cavity bottom is another issue that surveyors should be aware of. These can lead to dampness and other related problems.

4. Sulfate Attack to Concrete Ground Floor Slab: Some Trusteel MKII houses have been found to suffer from sulfate attack to the concrete ground floor slab. This chemical reaction can cause the concrete to expand and crack, leading to significant structural damage.

5. Risk of Cold Bridging and Condensation: Due to the construction detailing of Trusteel MKII houses, there is a risk of cold bridging through the steel frame. This can lead to condensation forming behind the brickwork, which in turn increases the risk of corrosion to the steel frame.

Surveyors should approach Trusteel MKII houses with these potential issues in mind. A thorough and informed survey can help homeowners address these problems effectively and maintain the longevity of their homes.

The Structure of Trusteel MKII

The Trusteel MKII stands as a testament to innovative architectural design, with its structure based around a framework of steel sections. This section will delve into the structural details of the Trusteel MKII model, shedding light on its unique construction.

1. Steel Framework: The typical house structure of a Trusteel MKII is based around a framework of steel sections. These sections are made of thin gauge steel strip lattice components, forming the columns, floor beams, and roof trusses. This steel framework provides the core strength and stability of the house.

2. Cladding and Wall Construction: The properties are all clad in conventional brickwork, giving them the appearance of traditionally constructed houses of the post-war period. The cavity of the wall is 150mm wide to accommodate the columns, and the internal leaf of the wall is generally made from wood-wool slabs. The steel frame is protected from contact with the brickwork by a layer of bituminous tape along the outer face of the stanchions.

3. Floor and Roof Construction: The ground floor of Trusteel MKII houses is typically of solid in-situ construction, while the first floor is built off steel joists which span between the stanchions located in the front and rear external walls. The pitched roof construction comprises steel lattice roof trusses, sarking felt, battens, and concrete tiles.

Understanding the structure of Trusteel MKII houses provides insight into their durability and the innovative use of steel-framed construction in residential architecture.

The History of Trusteel Corporation Ltd

Trusteel Corporation Ltd, the manufacturer of the Trusteel MKII model, has a rich history that is intertwined with the evolution of steel-framed houses in the UK. This section will provide a brief history of the company, shedding light on its contributions to the housing industry.

Trusteel Corporation (Universal) Ltd was established in the post-war period, a time when the UK was facing a severe housing shortage. The company was set up with the aim of providing high-quality, affordable housing solutions. Trusteel Corporation Ltd was known for its innovative use of steel-framed construction, which offered both durability and cost-effectiveness.

One of the company’s most significant contributions was the Trusteel MKII model, which became the basis for the introduction of the ‘3M’ steel frame in 1966. This new design offered improved stability and flexibility in house design, and it became a popular choice for many homeowners.

Over the years, Trusteel Corporation Ltd has continued to innovate, adapting to changing market demands and technological advancements. The company’s legacy lives on in the thousands of Trusteel MKII houses that still stand across the UK, a testament to the enduring appeal of steel-framed construction.

Trusteel MKII in Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is particularly true when it comes to understanding the architectural diversity of Trusteel MKII houses.

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