Identify this house
I have a survey booked at a property for next week, however, whilst researching its history I now believe it may be BISF.
other than opening it up is there a register of houses I can consult?
the house is 9 Harrington Road, Litherland, England.
any help would be great!
Hi Paul and Welcome,
Yes indeed, the house is a BISF House.
Those houses were externally insulated and updated with a new and quite radical exterior design.
They were the subject of a post here on BISF House, here’s a link to the post bisf-house-design-takes-a-modern-turn-in-litherland/
We do have a street register too which can find under the heading BISF Street Index on the left hand menu of this page.
Did you suspect it was a steel framed house?
What have you been told about the property so far?
Thanks for the confirmation. The house we are potentially buying is slightly different to the ones that were updated. I assume because it was privately owned, rather than owned by One Vision housing. Instead, it has a pebble dash render over it’s entire outer surfaces. It has a metal corrugated roof. It’s the one on the right in the picture.
I wasn’t aware of BISF houses before, but from looking at OS maps between 1945 and 1953 it became clear that the entire estate popped up very quickly. That, plus the interesting facades on the houses nearby and the metal roof brought me here. Having spoken to my mortgage provider (Halifax) it appears they aren’t too worried about the construction method, but are checking wether the survey needs to be BISF specific.
I checked the street index, very helpful!
Hi Paul, glad to be of help.
You are correct in your assumption that the non-renovated properties were either privately owned or in rare cases, the tenant may have denied access to the property, so refurbishment could not proceed.
My only concerns here would be one of value variation.
On average, a fully refurbished and insulated property could be valued at up to 20% more than a non refurbished property. The refurbishment process not only improves the general appearance but undeath the new facade, insulated panels have been fitted which helps the property to retain more heat, whilst reducing utility bills.
A non refurbished property will be much less efficient and much colder in the winter.
What I can’t tell from the image above, is if the property has already been fitted with exterior insulation during a previous refurbishment. The finish that you see above is clearly not a standard finish and many local authority properties have received some form of update in the past. Sometimes though, this may have been just an external upgrade using steni boards (a type of cladding) which acted as a carrier board for pebble dash etc.
So the question in this case is has the property been externally insulated in the past? If it has then great but if not, this could be a future consideration for you which may cost anywhere between £9 – £15k.
Plus if any issues are found with the current corrugated steel roof, this may need changing in the future. The cost of a new lightweight steel roof, which looks like tile could add say £6-8k to future costs but this is a very rough estimate.
** In your case though, you would only need to consider a new roof if the current corrugated steel one was highlighted as needing replacement in a structural survey. A basic homebuyers or valuation survey probably wouldn’t pick up any likely defects in this area unless corrosion or leaking was evident from inside the loft space.
So my thought are:
1) I would expect the value of a non refurbished property to be lower than the asking price of a fully insulated and refurbished property.
2) I would expect the asking price to be at least 10 – 20% less than the sold price of similar, nearby refurbished properties.
3) This price difference reflects what you would probably have to pay to bring this property up to the same standard as those which surround it.
Our rough calculation as above would be £20k for the highest estimate and £14k at the lowest if the roof was included or £9 – £15k if we were only to consider external insulation. This would give you some ammunition to negotiate on the asking price, which should reflect the points I’ve raised above, because ultimately, it is you who would bear these costs in the future if you ever did decide to refurbish.
You can always check local sold values on zoopla, trovit or other similar websites to get an idea if this has already been taken into account.
It’s a little like buying a car, The latest upgraded model will obviously be valued higher than the basic model and you need to check that your not paying the upgraded model cost for a non upgraded product.
Often, estate agencies look at previous sales and sold prices in a street when valuing a property which forms a base for valuation on a new property. We just need to establish if the correct valuation has been applied in your case, and negotiate if it hasn’t.
I hope you understand my personal thoughts here and I stress, they are only my thoughts. I don’t want to hinder your purchase in any way or drop a spanner into the works but If I were buying a property in this situation, I would want to ensure that the asking price was realistic, considering what I may have to pay in the future to bring it up to a similar standard to those nearby.
Other than that, I think BISF houses represent excellent value for money, considering that they are typically 10- 20% cheaper (depending upon location) than a like for like brick house, simply due to lending attitudes which relate to any non brick traditional constructed house in this country.
BISF Houses in general retain better values than many other typical non traditional construction types and they can be easily modified inside and out, to make impressive and much loved homes for those who live in them.
As for Halifax checking if a specific survey is required. They will often accept a standard survey but I always recommend that the chosen survey is one who is familiar with BISF house construction as sadly many have never seen or been in one before. This can sometimes lead to them making incorrect or misleading assumptions which they pass on to Halifax.
The only survey I recommend would be a full structural survey, which takes a much deeper look into the integrity of the building and its steel frame. Often, when we find a house we like, we just want a quick simple survey with the minimum of fuss, so that the sale can proceed and we can move in as quickly as possible. But it is your hard earned cash that you are spending and a structural survey in my view, is the only one that offers complete security and peace of mind that what you are buying, is a structurally sound investment. Plus, if an issue were ever to arise in the future and the surveyor has given you incorrect advice, with a full structural survey you do have some recourse but with a homebuyers or valuation survey, you don’t have any protection.
I’ve waffled on a little here and probably given you some food for thought.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
That certainly wasn’t waffle, a lot of interesting, thought provoking advice. Thank you.
The house is valued slightly lower than the renovated ones, and we have come in below the asking price. I’ll let you know what the survey throws up, if anything.
Thanks very much for your help!