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Question In process of buying BISF House - What next?!

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Topic starter

Hi everyone, first of all, this looks like a great community and I have a feeling I'll be spending quite a while pouring over everything here.

I'm in the process of buying a BISF in Dundee, Scotland. We are just waiting on confirmation of mortgage, or request for a survey. 

I'm assuming that will all go off without a hitch, so I have a couple of questions of the community.

1. Would you suggest EWI for this property?
2. Does anyone know if the Warmer Homes Scotland Grant covers this?
3. I know some BISF houses have Solar Panels, is there specialist installation required for the lightweight roof?
4. Is it worth upgrading the roof to the metrotile for solar or doesn't it matter?
5. Any other advice to someone at the start of the BISF experience?

Many thanks,


1 Answer

Hi Luke, congratulations on your prospective purchase. I hope the process goes smoothly for you.

In response to your questions;

1) EWI: I would always recommend installing EWI onto a BISF house. It certainly does make a huge improvement towards energy efficiency, heat retention and future saleability.

2) I believe the Warmer Homes Scotland programme does cover EWI for BISF Houses, but I understand that in order to be eligible, you must have been living in the property for at least 12 months prior to application, and you should also be in receipt of certain passport benefits, such as:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 
  • Adult Disability Payment (ADP) 
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)* 
  • Child Disability Payment (CDP)* 
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment/ War Disablement Payment 
  • Industrial Injuries Payment 
  • Carer’s Allowance 
  • Attendance Allowance 

Income-related benefits: 

  • Council tax benefit/reduction scheme (excluding 25% discount e.g. single person or student) 
  • Universal Credit 
  • Housing benefit/allowance 
  • Income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 
  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) 
  • Income Support 
  • Pension Credit (guarantee element) 
  • Working Tax Credit 
  • Child Tax Credit 

*If your household receives low or medium rate DLA/CDP you need to also have an income-related benefit to be eligible. 

3) I'm not familiar with solar installations unfortunately, but I do believe that installers do take into account the strength and load bearing ability of the roof, prior to application.

4) Decratile and Metrotile are both lightweight roofing systems and as such, they are not particularly strong when under load. I have myself walked across a Decratile roof, and I noticed that the panels can easily bend and distort without careful foot placement. There are also several ranges of new composite roof tile, that resemble real slate. These types of tile may lend themselves better to solar installs, but you would need to discuss this with the manufacturer. If the current roof system is in good condition and watertight, I would be inclined to ask the solar installers for a site suitability survey and be guided by there response.

5) Advice wise, I would say that I have renovated several BISF houses over the years, and once you understand the simplicity of the structure and the way the walls have been built, the process is quite straightforward. 

The most crucial part of the process is having the the base f the steel corner stanchions inspected if possible, because if there is going to be corrosion on the frame, it's most likely to be found there. If severe corrosion is found, it can be cut away and replaced with a new section of steel, but in order to access the steel, it is necessary to cut away part of the ground floor render, which would require replacement.

BISF houses can be turned into fabulous homes, but it does take some work. One benefit is that the internal walls are non load bearing, allowing for an easy change of internal layout configuration if desired and providing the interior ground floor vertical stanchion supports located in the centre of the ground floor are not removed.

I would be interested to know how your application is going so far.

Good luck


Luke Topic starter 23 September 2022 10:10 AM

@daveb Thank's so much for your reply, it is really helpful!


The process has gone smoothly, (he says with fingers crossed and touching wood,) we have a current entry date of middle of October. Very exciting!

I had read we would need to be in the property for over 12 months, so although EWI is a priority, it won't be perhaps done in 'Phase 1.'

Applying for the Home Energy Scotland Loan for Solar Panels and Battery storage, probably will be though! As you suggest, we will probably look to keep the original roof if it is in good order and work on the advice of potential installers.

We are not looking to take down any walls, but we are looking to knock through two sets of built in wardrobes to make the bedrooms bigger. Also, new kitchen and new bathroom! I might take some before and after photos for this thread and use it as a wee project diary!

Where would you say is the best place to go to obtain the inspection? and would they be able to also conduct the replacement to the removed render? Any rough idea how much that costs? (I'm assuming others have done the same!)