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Identification of a house in Cookham, Berkshire  

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Hi,

Firstly may I thank the members of this forum for providing such an invaluable service. 48 hours ago, I knew nothing about steel frame construction and it is amazing to find a forum dedicated to helping people get up to speed and share specialist knowledge. Its the internet at its best.

We are looking to make an offer on a house in Burnt Oak, Cookham, Berkshire and have been told by the estate agent that the house has a steel frame construction. The cost of the house is not small and we would be looking to spend a large amount extra on a significant extension.

I have spoken to my mortgage adviser who does not think that the construction of the house will pose any sort of problem from a mortgage perspective and there are other house of the same type on the same road that have had large amounts spent on extension. I am hoping to understand the specific type of construction of this house and understand why it may or may not represent and issue from a mortgage and resell-ability perspective.

I do not have many details of the house at this stage but the rightmove link is https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-67461687.html and it can found on street view here - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5590736,-0.7226046,3a,75y,258.05h,76.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s74dbU9YPxBd_wLRfGQ0eyA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Any help would be hugely appreciated 

Thanks

Steve

 

2 Answers
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Hello Steve and welcome to our forum.

Thank you for your kind comments, it's good to hear your appreciation and to know that our efforts are worthwhile to those that need further information and assistance.

I've taken a look at the property and from what I can see, it would appear to be a Trusteel MKII house, however, the only way to confirm this 100% is by taking a look in the loft-space which should reveal steel support beams similar to those shown in the image below.

trusteel roof system

We have previously posted an article regarding Trusteel MKII houses which you can view HERE 
 and which you may find useful. There's also a download section at the bottom of the page providing further information. If you are able to confirm the roof structure or obtain an image of the roofs support system, I should be able to verify the construction type and forward you a far more in-depth document which I am unable to post online for a number of reasons.

Trusteel properties are frequently extended as tying into with the existing brickwork does not appear to be an issue. Any new extension should be free standing and self supporting to avoid placing any undue weight or strain onto the existing structure. You may also find that the local planning authority may restrict the removal of the existing frame, which can sometimes make removing of a large portion of the existing external wall (to combine the two space into one large area), difficult, but each authority will have it's own view on this.

Trusteel houses in general are viewed positively by those who live in, and work on them, but they can also suffer from a number of known issues.
As with any steel framed property, attention should always be paid toward the base of any support legs as this is where corrosion can occur. An invasive survey is always the preferred choice, especially when considering the high value of this investment.
It would require the removal of some internal and/ or external fabric of the building, in order to expose and view the stanchion bases in order to fully asses their condition. This would of course require the homeowners permission, which may be refused due to the additional cost and work involved.
If permission is refused, a small borescope camera can be fed through small pre-drilled in the wall at the stanchion points, providing some visual access, but the borescope itself can be difficult to direct toward precise inspection points within the cavity.

As with any steel framed property, if severe corrosion is found to one or more of the support stanchions, remedial work tends to quite straightforward. Following the removal of brickwork, the affected area(s) is cut away and replaced with a new fabricated section or base support. You will see an example of this process at the bottom of the article page provided above.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to fire away but sadly I do not have a list of builders who undertake extensions to this type of property at the moment.

I hope this helps

Best Regards

Marc

 

trusteel MKII Extended
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Hi Marc

Thanks so much for coming back to me and providing the information that you did.

I will get up to the loft the next time we are viewing and I have already be in contact with a few surveyors who will conduct a full structural survey. Its good advice about getting an invasive inspection and something that I will push for.

The issues that I have is trying to figure out if this represents too much risk. There are always going to be issues with older houses but I am concerned that the nature of this building means that its potential value will be limited by factors beyond my control (Mortgage lenders and bad reputation) which will put the money I invest into it at risk.

We do really like the house, the potential of it and the area. We will get a survey done to understand the current condition of the frame but I dont know how to get get my head around the risk I am taking. In general (and with the exception of this site) the internet is of no help and full of throw away comments such as "They were only built to last 10 years". I guess what I am asking is what is the difference in terms of long term livability between a Trusteel mkii house and another house built in the 60's using tradition construction methods?

Thanks again

Steve

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