Can I mount a tv ab...
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BISF Can I mount a tv above the fireplace?

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Topic starter

We bought our first house this past summer. It’s a BISF. We want to mount out tv above the fireplace. It has the old fashioned gas fire, we don’t use it but it does work. We will eventually have it removed & have a modern electric fire installed. 
I know the walls are different & obviously it’s not a brick fireplace so we aren’t sure how to do it safely. We obviously don’t want to do it wrong & risk a massive tv falling on our son or the dog! 
Can someone please advise if it can be done & how? Have you mounted yours above the fireplace? Any help much appreciated. 

Admin Admin 13 November 2022 10:34 PM

@gemlou78 Hi Gemlou, much depends on the existing structure above your fireplace.

Many BISF houses have a narrow boxed in section, surrounding an inner cast iron pipe. Others may have been altered or renovated by previous owners.

Are you able to provide a photograph of the area where oplan to install the Tv? 

GemLou78 Topic starter 14 November 2022 7:22 PM

Hi yes here is a pic of the fireplace, we currently just have a mirror on it & some ornaments. As you can see it’s a flat wall that the fireplace is on but if you look at the other picture which shows the back view from the kitchen/diner… that is where the wall protrudes. Any advice much appreciated. It’s just figuring out if there are wires/pipes in there so if we need to avoid drilling in certain areas but also if these walls can take the weight of a big tv on a bracket.

CAD53232 F544 4565 8F94 6469AB13F3E2
BAD0ED0E A1DA 42F3 BBC7 C1D5A26561D8


Admin Admin 15 November 2022 1:07 PM

@gemlou78 Thank you for the update Gemlou. From the images you've posted, your property may not be a BISF house, i.e a house built by the British Iron & Steel Federation. Particularly unusual, is image 1, showing a boxed in area near the door.

It could be that your property is a heavily modified BISF house, but I think it's more likely that it may be a different-named construction type.

If you can provide me with the postcode, without identifying your house number, I'll take a look on Google Maps and hopefully ID your house type.

GemLou78 Topic starter 15 November 2022 6:40 PM

Thanks for getting back to me. Yes it’s M23 1FU 

1 Answer

Hi Gemlou, thank you for providing the postcode, it really does help.

Having Just checked the location on Google Streetview, I can report that your house isn't a BISF house. 

I know that may come as a bit of a shock, and you may even think I must have lost my marbles for suggesting such a thing, especially as everyone in the area probably refer to their houses as BISF houses, which is actually a true statement. But hiding amongst those BISF houses, are a number of other houses that appear very, very similar, but not quite the same.

What you have there is a Riley construction built and manufactured in the 1940's by Riley Constructional Systems, Cawood Wharton & Co. Ltd.

I must admit I'm quite excited to see these properties, because only around 200 were ever built in the U.K, compared to over 36,000 BISF Houses.

The Riley house is also a steel framed construction, and it too was constructed with render on lathe to the lower elevation. Whilst the BISF house has corrugated steel upper panels, the Riley house has pressed aluminium panels fitted to the upper storey, but in a slightly different way.   

The steel frame structure is also quite different from that of a BISF house, despite doing the same job.

I've posted an image of one of the nearby BISF houses below.

Note the large, deep window and the side flank wall coming off the gable wall. Also notice the near 50/50 split between the surface area of the upper steel cladding and the render below, all around the house.

BISF House Construction

Now look at the Riley house, the steel cladding / render coverage, is more like 60/40. The ground floor front elevation windows is much shallower, and the window itself is usually split in the middle by a vertical column. There's also no flank wall, and the Riley house appears to have a slightly steeper roof pitch than the BISF House.

Riley Construction


I will try to write a Riley House blog post in the coming days, which I will link to the forum. It should provide you with additional information about these houses, but for the moment, the main points to know are:-

  • They are not defective. 
  • You will probably need to inform your insurance company.
  • For insurance purposes, the walls are still non-combustible Prefabricated.
  • If the house is privately owned, and you paid for a full structural survey, as opposed to a simple valuation survey, you may have cause for redress.
  • I'll need to research the internal wall construction in order to address your TV query.

Before I sign off for this evening, here's a couple of original Riley House images you might like to see.

riley house 800
riley house 800 w

 I hope this helps.


GemLou78 Topic starter 16 November 2022 9:38 PM

@nsh-team wow ok I wasn’t expecting that. Our mortgage  company insisted on an invasive structural survey prior to being able to complete. I’ll have to dig it out & have a proper read but from memory it was mostly just about the steel being in pretty good condition, the survey left little holes at various points around the house as it was an ‘invasive’ survey. You’d think they’d have mentioned it wasn’t a BISF wouldn’t you. I’ll try to do a bit of research then & yes everyone refers to them as BISF. Ours does have those middle bits in the windows. We still have old wooden frames because the previous owner (who had been a council tenant initially) hadn’t done any upgrade work. We’ve replaced the boiler but will have to save to get the windows all done & we’re worried they’ll count the widows as double due to the middle bit that’s on them all. 

I’ll look forward to reading your post about them when you get around to doing it. This is a totally new thing for us so we feel a bit overwhelmed with how to go about various improvements & whether we have to get workmen who are experienced in these houses or not. We wouldn’t know where to start finding builders/renovators/etc who understand these houses. 

I really appreciate your replies & information! 

Admin Admin 16 November 2022 11:27 PM

Hi GemLou, thank you for your reply.

I fully appreciate how overwhelming this must be for you, as it's a lot to digest. It's not everyday you find out that your house isn't what you've been told it is. 

I think that now we have established your build type, it would probably be best to discuss the situation off forum and via e-mail, as there may be certain aspects to this, that would be better suited to private communication. Feel free to contact me at, or alternatively, you are welcome to give consent for me to contact you via your registered e-mail address.

I look forward to your reply.


GemLou78 Topic starter 17 November 2022 7:32 PM

@nsh-team Hi Marc, thanks & yes I’m happy for you to contact me on my email address.