Need expert opinion on BISF property  



I’m really interested in a Bisf property I saw this week. I'm in need of expert insight on this property below.



Hello Parashar, welcome and thank you for providing a link to the property.

The property appears to be well presented internally and externally from what I can see. The original roof has been replaced which is a bonus and the grey rendered walls of the lower elevation appear to be in good condition as the photographs have been taken from a distance, it is difficult exactly how good they are. I would want to look closely for signs of cracking or bulging of the render as this is one area that can sometimes be an issue if the walls have not been well maintained over the years. I don't see any cause for concern from what I can see, but it's always worth a closer look. 

I would always suggest undertaking a structural survey using a company who has experience with BISF houses as many surveyors have no experience with these properties. This can result in incorrect information or assumptions being sent to your lender which you may have to try and correct if this occurs. 

I would also like my surveyor to take a look at the state of the metal cladding that lies under the white plastic upvc cladding. It may require removal of one or two pieces of the plastic near to where the plastic ends and the grey render starts. Corrosion can sometimes occur at the steel lip here and although not serious, it can give a general indication as to the condition of the steel sheeting which you cannot see underneath.

There are other areas which your surveyor should check, including a visible inspection of the exterior outer corners of the house close to floor level, checking for signs of cracking to the render or more importantly, any cracking to the concrete base which should be just visible under where the rendered wall slightly protrudes outward near the base. If any severe cracks are visible, it may suggest further inspection of the steel support stanchions using a borescope.

Essentially though, you will need to be guided by your surveyor as without being physically present in the building myself, it's almost impossible for me to provide any further views.

On the whole the property appears to be in good condition. It hasn't been externally insulated on the outside which I would always recommend having done in the future. Not only does it make the property much warmer and visually more appealing but it can also help to protect the exterior of the structure for the future. 

I hope this helps



I’m really interested in a Bisf property (159 Burrow Road, Chigwell, IG7 4NF) for which we went ahead but recently the searches highlighted a ground subsidence in that area plus a possible risk of flooding. I got a Building Survey done but unfortunately the report doesn’t answer the points I was interested in (like ground subsidence, asbestos presence, corrosion of steel frame, flooding risk etc.). Can you please share your views on this property as I am in a confused state post the search and survey results? Also, Any key points with respect to this property I should look for? Looking forward to have a response from you soon. Many thanks.



Hello Richa and welcome.

I take it the ground subsidence relates to historic movement in the area as opposed to this particular property?

I would also presume that the flooding risk may be due the presence of the pool at the Hainault Forest Country park which would also suggest that the ground in that area has an impervious layer somewhere deep underneath. I am also aware that the River Lea in nearby Chingford burst its banks in 2014 and even closer, Redbridge suffered from flooding in 2016 but these may well be isolated events in low lying areas within the area.

It may be worth you taking a look at this pdf document produced by Redbridge council, relating to specific flood risks in the area.


From your initial post, it would appear that the results so far are pointing more toward the location and position of the estate rather than the building itself. 

Just for info, the house stands 60m or 197ft above sea level which may or may not be relevant 

Can I ask what type of survey you had?

Was it structural or what it a valuation or homebuyers survey?

BISF houses were built on strip foundations which are not hugely deep or extensive but so where millions of other properties built during this period. In all my years of dealing with BISF houses I have only ever heard of one property suffering from subsidence and this was due to the foundation being built on top of heavy clay soil. Clay can dry out in periods of prolonged dry spells and cause any building to subside, be it brick, metal or stone.

Also, were any particular concerns raised in respect of the building itself?

You can always reply directly via e-mail if your survey contains any sensitive data. 

[email protected]

Finally, take a look at this 2000 article by the Money Guardian 

It does cover some aspects that you have raised,

It would be good to hear from anyone living in the area itself too as to their views.





Hello Marc,

Thank you very much for your opinion. I was really looking forward to your reply. I'll contact you on your email if I want to share some sensitive information with you for my query. I hope that's okay.

Thanks a lot,



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