My First BISF Home & Some Questions….

My First BISF Home & Some Questions.... 1
My First BISF Home & Some Questions.... 2

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 which I thought was a bargain for the area!
I’ve looked into things a bit further and it looks like there are some preconceived ideas about this style house… some things I’m worried about:

  • Insulation,
  • Steel rot,
  • Energy bills,
  • Warmth,

Plus, 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


  1. Hello JD,
    I also bought my BISF house as my first house earlier this year and I love it. I am also just around the corner from you – very close to where Ed lives (hi Ed!). Bath and NE Somerset council have a very good top-up grant for Green Deal. I am just about to have external wall insulation cladding added to my house, about two thirds of which will be paid for by the grant and the rest on Green Deal finance. I am also today having a new condensing boiler fitted via the ECO (Energy Companies Obligation). nPower are doing this for me, but most of the energy companies have schemes and you don’t need to be a customer.

    The various schemes and application process are a bit confusing to start with, but it gets easier as you go on. The Home Energy team at the council are very helpful.

    I know that Ed has very effectively put in internal wall insulation and has a very fully descriptive post somewhere on this site. He did this as a DIY project, which is great if you have the skills.

    I managed to buy without a mortgage, so I can’t give any informed opinion, but I gather companies are not keen. Someone must be lending however, as houses are changing hands! Likewise, insurance companies are harder to find – I went with a company called Highworth, as it was the only one I could find at short notice that did BISF houses, but I may research and see if I can get a better deal in future.

    Good luck in your new home!

  2. Hi JD and welcome! I’m just round the corner from you in Freeview Rd. Don’t worry too much! There is a lot you can do to upgrade the insulation, which is what I have been doing. But you should realise that a BISF house is not especially bad in this regard, as some people assume. Obviously it’s not well insulated by modern standards, but it’s better than most of the (older) homes in Bath that have solid walls and no insulation at all. People often assume that stone and brick are good insulators, just because they’re ‘normal’ but actually they have very little value in holding in heat. Certainly our home is a lot better than my parents solid stone house. In the winter it’s more comfortable because the walls are board and not cold to the touch like plaster on solid stone.

    I would check with Nationwide, when we bought our house at the end of 2011 they only declined it because of the asbestos roof, but yours seems to have a new roof. We went with Halifax and did not have any problems.

    At least some of the walls in most houses are plasterboard on timber studwork (or lath and plaster in older houses) so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. The only difference is that in a BISF house they are all board on studwork. Upstairs it’s often hardboard instead of plasterboard which isn’t ideal but if you don’t mind wallpaper is ok, or you can replace it with plasterboard. If you want to fix anything heavy to the wall you do need to find where the timber is behind the board and screw into that. An advantage though is it does make putting cables and pipes in the walls a lot easier.