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I'm convinced my property is BSIF but mortgage surveyor has said PRC  



I am currently selling my mothers property after she passed away last year. We received an offer in November, however just before Christmas the buyers had a surveyor from Natwest and subsequently the mortgage has not been approved. This is because the surveyor stated that the build was PRC... however I don't believe this is the case as the original structure was steel framed and cladded.

The property underwent renovations (re-cladding external walls, replacement roof, doors and
windows and electrical rewire) in 2011 through Lincoln County Council which my mother received a grant for. 

I cannot find anywhere information relating to the original construction so that I can prove what type of build it is and I feel like I am just banging my head against the wall. 

The buyers have got cold feet about the offer today and withdrawn - however there mortgage broker is confident that Halifax would lend, I have offered to pay the £200 for this surveyor to attend but have not heard back from the buyers. 

How can I find out if my property is a BSIF and who built it?

From the research I have done, it looks to me like the property is likely to be A W Hawksley Ltd - Bristol Aeroplane build. 

If there is an email address, I can send elevation plans and drawings that I found in my mums paperwork relating to what construction was there and what work was completed.

Any advice so I can either save this sale or make sure we can support potential future buyers would be gratefully received. 


Can you please send the details to [email protected] and also include the postcode and house number and we can take a look for you.



Hi Marc, 


I've now sent this information across to you via email and look forward to hearing from you in due course.


Kind regards, 


2 Answers

Hi Natasha, thank you for providing the details.

I had a good look at the property on Google Street view and initially confirmed that your property is not of BISF (British Iron & Steel Federation) or PRC (Precast Concrete) construction.

I then researched my Council housing stock records for your area which confirmed 100% that the property was originally built as a Hawksley BL8 Aluminium Bungalow. 

You may have already viewed our page relating to the Hawksley BL8 Aluminium Bungalow HERE but in your case, the answer isn't really as straightforward as this.

The Hawksley BL8 was built as a permanent post-war bungalow that was primarily constructed from Aluminium due to the severe shortage of traditional building materials and skilled labour following hostilities with Germany. 

If the property was still in it's original 'as built' condition, it would certainly be classified as being of Non-Traditional or Non-Standard construction. Mortgages for most types of Non-Traditional property are readily available but only from certain providers. Some property types are favoured more than others, but all lenders and many buyers appear extremely cautious when the property is suspected of being of PRC construction, in part due to an issue broadly referred to as concrete cancer, which can and has unfortunately occurred in some named construction types.

Now that we know your construction type is and more importantly, what it is not, you may expect that to be a sufficient answer, however in your case, this is not so.


According to the planning documents provided, your property appears to have been virtually rebuilt from the ground up in 2008. New footings and a brick and block cavity wall was build around the property and the roof was raised and re-tiled with concrete roof tiles. Essentially, the house has been reconstructed using traditional building methods. However, upon examining the submitted plans they do not provide sufficient detail to confirm if the original Aluminium frame of the building remains present or not. If it has been removed, (I suspect it has) or even if  just the ground floor portion was removed during the rebuild and replaced with traditional brick, you would essentially now have a property of standard traditional construction BUT only if the adjoining property has also undergone the same level of reconstruction and frame removal.
If only one half of a semi-detached pair of a Non-Traditional dwellings is rebuilt in traditional brick but adjoining property is not, then both properties will still be classified as Non-Traditional Constructions.

The Aluminium frame of the Hawksley bungalow was not a standard rigid frame around which the property was built, as in the case of a Trusteel or BISF House, rather it was built into the structure of the property to provide extra support and jointing capabilities for the exterior alumium profile sheets. Therefore I strongly suspect that as the original profiled sheeting and ground floor framing has been removed.

bl8 hawksley s 550x557

I hope that doesn't sound too confusing Natasha, but basically, if both properties have been refurbished to the same level and the majority of the original lower steel frame has been removed and been replaced and supported by brick cavity walls, you may no longer be selling a property of Non-Traditional construction, because the house appears to have been effectively re-built as a traditional brick built dwelling and if this is confirmed, it should be marketed as such.

Ideally, you should contact a good structural engineer who is familiar with Non-Traditional properties as they would be far better suited to guide you further and to confirm if this is the case. I do know of one or two who may be willing to travel from the London area but you may already know of one locally to you.

Sadly, the original body which funded the refurbishment and submitted the plans to planning, went into liquidation recently, therefore I have no idea who the original contractor was who undertook the work. It would be advantageous if you could quiz the neighbours to see if anyone recalls the name of the main contactor as they would almost certainly be able to confirm if the original frame was removed or not. I also suspect that the majority of adjacent properties were also refurbished at a similar time, possibly by the same contractor due to the funding source for the original project despite slight design differences nearby.

If you do find that the steel frame was not removed, you will essentially have a fully refurbished Non-Traditional, steel framed Hawksley BL8 bungalow, with traditional brick built cavity walls and roof. This alone should ensure a much smoother transaction providing a suitable lender is chosen by the purchaser and more importantly, that the survey is carried out by a qualified surveyor who has significant experience with Hawksley bungalows because all too often, we find that many surveyors simply don't have a clue when surveying unfamiliar non trad properties. This in turn leads to the submission of poor assumptions and incorrect information on the buyers survey, which may have occurred in your case.

I hope I have been of some assistance to you and I expect that there is a lot here to take in. I have withheld some information to protect your privacy so should you wish to discuss the matter further, please forward your contact number via e-mail and I'll be happy to assist.

Best regards


I'm also posting part of HSBC's lending criteria below relating to what they will and will not lend on.

Property types - acceptable 

Subject to the valuer confirming saleability and suitability for mortgage purposes, we can lend against the following:

  • No-fines concrete construction.
  • Steel framed houses (exceptions apply, please check).
  • Flats over or immediately alongside business premises.
  • 100% timber construction.
  • Properties containing high alumina cement.
  • Freehold flats - where it is possible to enforce positive covenants, the maximum LTV is restricted to 90%. Before considering lending against this type of property, we rely on the valuer’s recommendations and the solicitor’s confirmation that the property title is good and marketable.
  • Agricultural restrictions - the maximum LTV will usually be 50% but each case will be assessed on its own merits.
  • Properties used for business - we can only lend if the property is primarily for residential use and the work area of the property is 20% of the total property area or less.
  • Leasehold properties - there must be at least 30 years left on the lease at the end of the term (we may consider less for properties in central London).
  • Flats (on any level) in multi-storey type properties are usually acceptable, subject to exceptions e.g. where the valuer identifies issues with the building and/or locality which are likely to adversely affect resale.

Property types - unacceptable

  • Properties with a floor area of less than 30m2.
  • Properties with a plot size in excess of 4 hectares/10 acres.
  • Properties listed under the Housing Defects Act (valuers will advise us if the property falls within the Act).
  • Steel clad houses.
  • System built concrete construction.
  • Prefabricated/(pre)reinforced/poured or shuttered concrete construction.
  • Easi-form construction (except by Laing from 1945 onwards).
  • Mundic block property.
  • Properties built on contaminated land.
  • Timber-framed property with cavity wall insulation unless installed during construction.
  • Multi-ownership properties.
  • Shared ownership properties.
  • Working farms, smallholdings and crofts.
  • Where the purchase of the property was completed within the last 6 months e.g. where a property has been purchased either with a mortgage or short-term loan and a mortgage application has been submitted immediately or shortly afterwards. This does not affect applications from customers who have had a bridging loan simply because of delays in selling the existing property, subject to normal underwriting.


Genuinely I almost cried at your response this morning - it's been so hard trying to track and gain confirmation on any of these details, I am so very grateful for the information you've provided.

You are right in that there are further complexities to this; my parents owned this property from 1991, and fought a campaign with the local committee to get a fund/grant scheme in place for the whole of Perney Crescent for the renovation on the Hawksley builds, which they were successful in achieving. However based on their earnings at the time they did not quality for the scheme, subsequently the entire street had their bungalows completed except for ours.

My parents divorced some years later which meant my mother then qualified for the grant scheme – however the building company that completed this work (sourced through the council) has also gone into liquidation. I do however have the specification of works which I will email across – it is my understanding that they did not remove any of the steel cladding (walls) but build a skin around them, the roof was totally replaced and their was new but I am unaware whether any of the lower steel frame was removed.

The entire street (Perney Crescent) has been renovated to the same standard – I do know that criteria was an absolute must in the specifications for my work carried out on our property.

It’s been very frustrating as we have lived in the home for almost 30 years and I know that it is structurally sound – so for the surveyor to have informed it is a PRC and understandably the buyers pulling out, it was disappointing.

At the moment I am unsure whether I would need to auction this property to secure a buyer or whether the open market is still valid based on the fact it is a mortgageable property.
I have emailed my contact details and I would be really grateful if we could perhaps speak soon.

I’ve spent 6 months trying to get to this point – I really wish I had reached out to you before, your knowledge has been invaluable!


I have a huge update! 

I had a good chat to my sister tonight and she has said that all steel cladding was removed bar the window frames and the walls rebuilt from scratch! 

Absolute revelation! I wasn’t in around at the time the work was carried out but my sister was and said they replaced everything externally (the internal walls are still paper thin but obviously not steel/metal)

However I’m still obviously in a position where I need to prove this for it to now be marketed as standard... I’m just at a loss as to how I can do this? 

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