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Does anyone in the UK say flat building? I live in the US, mind, so I have no clue. It sounds a bit funny saying that. Do they say apartment building instead, maybe? Or is there another word for a whole building of flats?

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we call flats in india, not flat building. – Emmanuel Angelo.R Jul 29 '14 at 7:44
you never hear "flat building". you hear "flats" or "block of flats". Questions about this have been asked 100000s of times on the net and many times on here - just search. – Joe Blow Jul 29 '14 at 10:13
@JoeBlow, I definitely did Google it and searched here in the first place. I didn't find specifically what I was looking for. I wouldn't have put this here if I didn't. And I was not asking for a difference between a flat and an apartment. Do not jump to conclusions. It's simply a question. – bridey Jul 30 '14 at 5:34
@JoeBlow, Josh, I think you might be being a bit unfair here. It is precisely because those types of questions and answers emphasise British English speakers' preference for flat over apartment that the OP is quite sensibly asking about its occurrence in this compound noun. The OP is obviously aware of the term apartment building, and want to know what we use instead or if we use the same term. It seems a perfectly reasonable follow-up from the well-known apartment/flat/condo usage question. None of the posts linked to provide the answer to this particular query. – Araucaria Aug 1 '14 at 18:00

In the UK, you would probably say a block of flats, or -- especially in the case of public housing -- a tower block or high-rise, if it was more than about ten storeys tall.

If you perform Google image searches on those terms, you'll get a good idea of what they represent.

I've never heard an apartment building being referred to as a 'flat building'.

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+1 block of flats is specifically for free standing buildings designed for shared/communal housing. I'm not sure if there is a specific term for buildings which were normal houses that have now been converted into flats/bedsits. – Frank Jul 29 '14 at 6:10
Block of flats is a common definition, but far less common than apartment building and condo(minium) both in UK and US according to google books. – Josh61 Jul 29 '14 at 6:26
@Josh61 - What you say you found in Google Books regarding the UK's usage of 'apartment building' and 'condo' -- the latter especially -- just doesn't square with my observations during my decades of being a native speaker of British English. I suspect that though most British people would understand 'apartment building', a great many would have no idea what a condo was. – Erik Kowal Jul 29 '14 at 6:32
Thanks for your answers, Erik, Frank, and Josh. This is my first time on the site, so this has been very helpful. Thank you! :) – bridey Jul 29 '14 at 6:36
@bridey - Glad to be able to help. (And I'm sure Josh and Frank would echo that :) – Erik Kowal Jul 29 '14 at 6:38

If you have a look at Ngram you can see that 'flat building' ( whatever it means) is not much used in BrE and AmE compared to 'apartment building'. Condominium ( also condo) appears to be the most common term to refer to a block of flats.

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BNC shows block of flats at 134, and condominium at 13. And not all the references to "condominium" are to a block of flats (it has other meanings) so the one is more than ten times as common as the other. – Andrew Leach Jul 29 '14 at 6:38
@Andrew Leach - I see your point, still 'condo' (which has no other meanings as far as I know) appears to be more common than 'block of flats'. I agree that block of flats is a very common definition, I am just putting forward the evidence I found ( to my surprise also). – Josh61 Jul 29 '14 at 6:48
Clicking through to the Ngrams' "British English" results for condominium shows that the sources are anything but British. I'd go with BNC, I think. – Andrew Leach Jul 29 '14 at 6:56
Lots of people in the UK wouldn't know what a condominium is. For example, I myself only know the word from US TV shows, and only knew that it referred to some kind of residential building until I looked it up just now. – Rupe Jul 29 '14 at 10:18

I entirely concur with Erik's answer above. Nonetheless, I have a compulsive urge to share with you the fact that although we don't have:

  • flat buildings

... over here, we do have:

  • flat pack buildings

... which are a kind of self-assembly type building. Strangely, until you actually put them up, they are, in fact, erm ...How should I put this? Erm... flat buildings.

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This is best answer in a stack exhange – The Beefer Fan Aug 6 '14 at 12:23

As far as I know, an apartment is called a flat in the UK. And a building with flats is called a building or a residential building.

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bridey, if you actually want the answer, this downvoted answer appears to be perfectly correct. – Joe Blow Jul 29 '14 at 10:14
Joe Blow, no. It's not. – Tristan r Jul 29 '14 at 10:31

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