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Hi, I am about to move into a BISF house and my contents insurance provider needs to know if its combustible or non-combustible material… I’m assuming as its iron and steel that its not, but do any of these house have combustible material in the construction at all?

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If you want us to confirm your property as being a BISF House, let us know the name of your street and location or send us an e-mail to [email protected] and we will take a look for you on google maps.

If the insurance company list the option of selecting Prefabricated non-combustible then you should be fine, just be careful when using a comparison website and be sure to visit the page of the proposed insurer that you choose and to make sure that they also list prefabricated non-combustible as an option. You can of course also give them a call direct but many call takers have never heard of a BISF house, so arn’t always very helpful.

Lastly, if you do purchase a policy or just before you make payment online, you should be presented with a policy document proposal, just make sure that you read it through and that it states your property is Prefab non combustible as this is the most important part that needs to be listed.

If all is in order, then you should be fine.

One of the biggest cause of rejections to many insurance applications be be the roof material as many do not want to insure properties that have the original corrugated asbestos roofing. There are other insurers though that will take on this risk but it does mean more searching.

Oddly enough, the BISF house should be classified as a steel framed house but when asked about the construction type of the walls, we have to select the pre fabricated non-combustible option because there is no other suitable description available.

This means that the BISF house then falls between two the different categories for insurance purposes. The first being steel framed, the second being prefabricated.

Take a look at this useful extract from an article by Towergate insurance which describes both build types:-

It may not become apparent that your new home is significantly
different to any other, that is until you come to arrange a mortgage
and insure the property. A surprising number of UK properties feature
these specific building traits and, as always, forewarned is
forearmed. As long as you have a clear understanding of what makes
your property differ from the rest and inform both your insurer and
mortgage provider accordingly, you will be able to secure proper
cover.

So, what signifies a ‘non standard’ property and how can you overcome
any associated issues which may arise? Standard construction for
residential properties is bricks and mortar or stone, with a slate or
tiled roof.

Steel Framed House

Built using a modern method of construction, steel framed properties
have an impressive strength to weight ratio and offer great design
flexibility. It was this form of construction that revolutionised the
New York and other skylines across the world in the latter part of the
19th century. Buildings advanced higher than was ever dreamed possible
and material price reductions in the 1960s made it an increasingly
affordable option.

Pros and Cons

The key advantages of a steel framed home are that it is not
combustible and it is resistant to rot and decay. Being stronger than
many building materials it is more resistant to wind damage and
provides a consistent product, free from flaws, knots etc. Much of the
steel used today is from recycled material and it is an endlessly
recyclable product.

A downside is that steel conducts heat and cold much more readily than
wood so its energy conservation qualities are rather poor. This means
that if temperatures get extremely hot or cold outside, that heat or
chill will be conducted from the outside into your living spaces. It
is also worth noting that asbestos may also have been used in the
construction of a small number of older steel-framed houses.

Non Combustible Pre Fabricated

Not to be confused with mobile homes, ‘prefabs’ are specifically
designed to remain static. Originally built as a solution to the
shortage of housing, 155,623 prefabs were constructed in post-war
Britain. Expected to last for 10 years, the design was so durable that
some of them were still occupied 50 years later.

Nowadays, prefabs are no longer two-room boxes with a distinct lack of
home comforts and they number around 1.25 million in the UK. Modern
modular houses can stretch to thousands of square feet with multiple
storeys and even basements should you wish. Their multiple modules or
sections are manufactured in a remote facility and then delivered to
the site where they can be quickly and simply constructed into a home.

Pros and cons

Non combustible prefabs are exactly that by regulation and also easy
to maintain. They are considerably cheaper than conventionally built
homes, have environmental benefits and move-in times are incredibly
quick. Modern architectural design is gradually overcoming the
potentially negative stereotypes that are conventionally associated
with prefab but you can only choose from a limited number of plans.
Having the option to customise a prefab is unlikely and will certainly
prove expensive if it is even possible.<

Visit Towergate Insurance

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Thanks, can i be certain my house is a BISF House? how would i find out for certain? also, Ive put it in for insurance as pre fab non combustible…is it essential to notify an insurer that its a bisf house? as when i have done, they have said it is fine but they wont send anything to confirm my referral….

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Hello, your assumptions are correct. BISF properties are usually described as pre-fabricated non-combustible for insurance purposes even though the properties themselves aren’t strictly pre-fabricated at all but they do contain a number of pre-fabricated materials, most notably the upper steel panels.

I hope this helps.

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