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Some 20 years ago BISF House.com purchased a typical and unloved BISF in Birmingham. Our aim was to completely renovate the house using an approved builder who was familiar with the steel framed structure and unique design that the BISF house had. After a long search, we finally found a skilled builder who had previously renovated several BISF houses to a very high standard and had examples of his work that we could view..
Our intention was to fully clad the entire house in a brick skin using full sized standard bricks which would be tied into the existing structure of the house. We also wanted to extend the living room at the front of the house so that we could enjoy a more spacious living room. During the renovation we overcame many obstacles concerning the existing structure but in general the build went very well and was completed in good time.
The local planning department oversaw every stage of the work and even dictated the colour of the roof steel roofing tiles. As this house was the first in the street to be renovated, the roof tile colour was intended to set the standard for future roof installations in the street, but of course, nobody followed this and the street now displays a variety of different roof colour with grey being my favourite colour.
Our advice, should you choose to undertake any work to your BISF House, is to ensure you employ a qualified builder who has experience in working with BISF Houses.
Time and time again we have seen general builders applying standard building techniques to BISF houses with disastrous results. The steel frame of these properties and the outer cladding and render are very specific to these houses and standard building methods do not always combine well with the structure.
So please, do your homework before undertaking any structural work to your house and be safe rather than sorry.
In the image that you see above we used a full brick skin. This was a very intensive process as all the exterior steel work had to be removed along with the render to the lower elevation.
It was a very expensive process and there were times during the course of the work that we had to move out.
We also owned the property to the left of the image.
We have since had that house externally insulated and the entire front of the house has been covered in brick slips to match the property next door. The rest of the house was rendered to keep the cost down.
You can't really tell which has has real brick and which does not now that the work has been completed.
We were also able to occupy the house whilst the EWI work was was undertaken.
The initial outlay can seem quite expensive at around 9.5k including the slips but we also found that the overall value of the property increased significantly more than the outlay cost.
It's well worth having done in my opinion.
Hope this helps
Just wondering when EWI is installed - would this need to be done before extending the property or afterwards? I only ask because we are hoping to extend the kitchen/diner as well as to the side of the property so only the original upper floor would be visible at the back and the front area of the house working around the porch would need doing. Is it easy to install EWI on the steel cladding one you've extended?
Hi Jo, would in general it would be better to fit the EWI after you have had the extension fitted.
This is mainly because the EWI is usually fitted onto starter tracks where the the wall first starts at floor level. The insulation boards sit on top of these lightweight metal tracks to give a little support but also to act as a drip strip and stopping vermin from getting up behind the insulation boards and nesting there.
If you had the EWI installed before the extension work, you may also find that the builders may need to remove some of the new insulation when joining the new roof to your existing building, which will likely add to your costs.
The boards are easily affixed to the steel sheeting using very long fixing screws. Some companies also use a type of adhesive along with the screws for added strength. Other companies choose to remove the upper steel cladding and replace it with timber boarding onto which the insulation is affixed.
As with any extension work though Jo, you must stress to your builders that extreme caution must be used with any cutting equipment they use that creates sparks, and also with any naked flames such as those used for laying roofing felt. The small amount of paper covered cavity wall insulation can be extremely flammable. The cavities are also designed to allow the free flow of air which is pulled in from the bottom of the cavity. This air then travels straight up into the loft space and around the building. Any spark or flame has the potential to ignite the insulation causing a fire which could spread very rapidly through the walls and even into your neighbours property.
I don't want to alarm you or prevent you from going ahead with the build as the vast majority are carried out with no issues whatsoever as long as precautions are taken. You may also want to consider checking with your insurance company prior to starting work, if extra cover is available during construction as many insurers do not cover accidents caused during building works unless you notify them in advance.
It's always better to be fully protected.
Thank you for getting back to me 🙂
Yes that makes sense to do it after the extension and thank you for the advice re. sparks/flames/insurance. Quite a few houses in our area have had multiple extensions and i definitely want to make sure the builders we choose have knowledge on BISF houses. We've had our windows changed since the picture above and we could see then that the cavity insulation was very different! We will hopefully apply for planning next year and then go ahead with the extension then or soon after so it wont be for a little while yet but i just wanted to get my head around what needs to be done in which order.
We're also still debating whether to have the whole house rendered the same, go for a brick slip covering or to have a grey cladding on the upper and render on the lower. (something like this)
I'm not sure if the cost of each option varies much - i need to research a little more.
Thanks again and have a great weekend.
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