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?

  • we call flats in india, not flat building. Jul 29, 2014 at 7:44
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    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.
    – Fattie
    Jul 29, 2014 at 10:13
  • Related:english.stackexchange.com/questions/33622/flat-vs-apartment
    – user66974
    Jul 29, 2014 at 10:44
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    @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, 2014 at 5:34
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    @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. Aug 1, 2014 at 18:00

2 Answers 2


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'.

  • +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, 2014 at 6:10
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    @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, 2014 at 6:32
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    @Josh61 Condo is not a well used term in the UK, apartment building would be understood to mean a building containing flats, possibly that is the term for a building converted into flats. When condo is used, I'd say it generally describes holiday rental/timeshare flats in high rise buildings abroad (outside the UK).
    – Frank
    Jul 29, 2014 at 6:43
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    Flat building no, flatted building ... possibly, flatted accomodation yes.
    – Frank
    Jul 29, 2014 at 6:45
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    "Flat" and "block of flats" is the normal UK term. "Apartment" and "Apartment block" is understood because we watch American TV. "Condo" is pretty much unknown. Aug 7, 2015 at 2:26

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.

  • bridey, if you actually want the answer, this downvoted answer appears to be perfectly correct.
    – Fattie
    Jul 29, 2014 at 10:14
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    Joe Blow, no. It's not.
    – Tristan r
    Jul 29, 2014 at 10:31

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