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Hello everyone! I have just had an offer accepted on my first house (which happens to be a 3 bed BISF home in Bath) I got it for just over 161K as I was competing against a few buyers which I thought was a bargain for the area! I’ve looked into things a bit further and it looks like there are some pre-conceived ideas about this style house… some things I’m worried about:

insulation, steel rot, energy bills, warmth, getting a mortgage (currently banking with nationwide) and finally home insurance can anyone clear any of this up for me? the internal walls feel hollow also so will this make TV mounting etc hard?

So many worries but I’m excited to be going in for my first home.

JD x

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can anyone provide any input here?

  • Admin

    Hello JD and congratulations on your new purchase! I hope it develops into an exciting journey for you and I’m sure you will find plenty of information around our site.

    Firstly apologies for the delay in replying to you you but I’ve been out of action recently due to illness but hopefully I’m now on the mend.
    Let me put your mind at rest with a few things regarding your acquisition.

    On the mortgage side, providing you approach the right lender there should be no problem obtaining a mortgage on this property.

    It’s not a case that BISF are difficult to get mortgages on, but more of a case that the majority of lenders only supply mortgages for traditionally built properties, such as standard brick construction, however there are several Mortgage providers who are willing to lend on system built and other non-Traditional constructed properties including the BISF house.

    Many choose Santander or Halifax but I’m not 100% sure regarding Nationwides current lending criteria in your area but I do know that they look at each property on a case by case basis.

    Here is what Nationwide currently state in relation to Non-Traditional construction.

    Non Traditional Construction
    Many properties have been built using a variety of other construction methods. Lending terms vary depending on construction types and if a repair scheme, where appropriate, has been used. Where a property is of non traditional construction please contact your usual Service Centre with the following details for further advice:

    The name of the type of construction
    Year built (if known)
    Flat/terrace/semi or detached
    Details of any repair scheme if appropriate and if the scheme applies to the whole block (e.g. the whole terrace/both semi’s)
    The exact construction name is important as lending terms may differ between different types and year built. For example our lending terms differ between Gregory, Gregory Drury System 3 and Gregory Housing. All three have different lending terms and it is important to ensure you give us the full and accurate name to avoid us giving inappropriate advice.

    As for steel rot, any steel framed property can potentially suffer from corrosion but as long as the outside of the property has been well maintained and there is no significant cracking to the concrete base or the render at the sides and corners of the property, there’s a good chance the steel will be fine. But I would strongly advise that you undertake an extensive and invasive survey to ensure that the frame is sound.

    It may be worth asking a few of the neighbours if they have had any surveys undertaken and what the results were. We often find the majority of BISF house frames to be in excellent condition but when significant corrosion is found it appears to affect groups of houses at the same location or on the same estate. If corrosion is found, they damaged areas can be cut away and replaced quite easily and we do have a number of posts on the site that discuss this.

    These houses aren’t particularly well insulated and yes the walls are hollow as they do not have a traditional cavity. There will be a brick block party wall that divides you from you neighbour but that’s all.
    Under the Governments Green Deal scheme many homeowners have had the entire house externally insulated and rendered for as little as £2000 but at the moment we are awaiting for news regarding the latest release of funds from DECC. (Department of energy and climate change).

    As for your TV, providing you use some timber battens to spread the load and good quality steel plasterboard fixings, you shouldn’t have a problem. I’ve mounted 55″ TV’s on these walls.

    My main advice would be to check fully with Nationwide before you order the survey as I have heard of people telling mortgage companies that the property is BISF, they say fine. They then take your survey fee, conduct the survey and only after do they suddenly say, sorry we don’t lend on non-traditional properties!

    I’m not saying that this is true of Nationwide, just that it does happen from time to time with many different mortgage providers.

    I hope that has answered some of your questions, and remember, we are always here to help as best we can.

    Marc :0)

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