So I’m a first time buyer and recently submitted an offer on a house which is a BISF- and one that hasnt been touched ever by the looks of it!
It has its original asbestos roof, single glazing, outside toilet, etc the lot just so you get the picture.
So although I’m not exactly an avid DIYer, when I do it I’ve no problem with it and I’ve no problem getting stuck in to a renovation But there are a number of things I don’t know and in many cases cant find the information on so it would be good of someone/some of you could help to answer! Hopefully people in a similar position to me will find these answers useful to.
So my long list of questions are as follows in no particular order:
1) Some of the paint on the steel cladding is cracked and peeling– I can see no signs of rust or rot visible on the outside bar a bit of wood at roof hight which is hanging down a little (unrelated). Although I ask about this later, assuming I dont get it clad anytime soon it is an eye sore. What would be involved with repainting? Would I need any kind of special paint? Would I have to remove/sand off the existing paint before repainting?
2) External Insulation and recladding with uPVC etc– Although there are clearly quite a number of homes that have had this done, I cant find any sort of hint of costs involved with this bar one comment. Since all semi detatched BISF houses are the same in 95% of cases, Id like to think that other peoples quotes would give it a pretty good indication of what to expect. So for those of you that have had quotes to get this done/had it done- how much were you quoted out of interest?
3) Internal insulation and ventilation– both upper and lower. I have every intent of ripping every wall down internally and rebuilding them with drywall and improved insulation. Now I’ve read a few things on this and got myself confused so would be good to get clarified. For the walls that are part of “the shell” ie the other side is an external wall- do I need to be careful about what times of insulation, and ventilation etc? ie is this not as simple as taking down the existing studwork and insulation, and rebuilding with whatever I fancy? Or am I right in thinking that the ventilation is’nt really something to worry about as there is some sort of gap between where these walls which would be rebuilt and insulated and the part that needs ventilation, as there is some sort of gap that runs from the bottom of the house right up into the loft that you can look down which provides all the circulation needed which would avoid condensation?
4) The back boiler– how do these things generally perform? I intend on removing the steel chimney which runs through the house to better use the living room space but wouldn’t have the funds to go for a new boiler in the short term. I do have fully certified plumber friends I could ask this to but I figure when in rome- as I don’t know what the “back boiler” which is stored behind the gas fire bit in the chimney looks like- could someone tell me if in theory it could be relocated simply enough? Or is it some sort of very odd shape/size that would be awkward to rehouse somewhere (loft? future utility room? etc)?
5) A door next to the stairs– this one may be unanswerable but figured its worth asking. I’ve seen a number of people open up the living room by removing the hall. Linked to this (although this is hard for me to picture), I wonder whether it is possible to put a door in the wall the opposite the living room -side of the stairs (ie the side the stairs go up- right at the foot of them)? I can see on some of the structural pictures on this website there is a steel bar of some sort that goes through this wall- I wonder if it could be possible to put a door at the foot of the stairs to access the storage room on the other side without going through the kitchen? I’ve not seen this done, discussed, or seen anywhere so I just wondered if its possible or whether removing and somehow resupporting this steel bar would be a major piece of work.
6)“Bringing the outside in”– As I mentioned in my top post, this still has the downstairs toilet as “outside”, I wonder if anyone on here bought there house like this also- in which case im just wondering if someone could tell me roughly how much it cost them/would cost to have this bricked up and a door put in so that this becomes a proper inside space which I can create a utility room etc from.
7) Porch– The house has the original lip roof over the door way but it may be quite nice to make this more of a proper entrance (which would help with reducing drafts if I was to ever open up the living room)- again I wonder if anyone here had a more proper porch/entrance built to the front and roughly how much it cost them?
8) The roof.. the roof….the roof is…asbestos– So again did plenty of reading on this and it sounds like I really only have one option for mortgages with its original asbestos roof- Halifax. Luckily this is who my mortgage promise is through so Im feeling more confident about this. From what I read a replacement roof would likely cost in excess of 8k+- Im assuming there are no alternatives to this to “make the roof “safer/more mortgageable” in the future without completely replacing it?
9) Full surveys. Because the outside of the place does look pretty and other than having its electrics brought up to more current standards the house showing no signs of any real “care” being taken to it, naturally Id like to have a full survey conducted above and beyond the simple valuation one required by the bank. As BISF is more of a specialist market- how does this work (this probably shows my ignorance to the buying process)? Will the bank do its own survey, then I of my own free will can find and appoint a surveyor who actually knows BISF properties? Or if I asked the bank to do a full survey would they likely find someone that knows that they’re looking at/could I nominate a surveyor to them?
10) Another way out– I see quite a number of people have conservatories leading off from their dinning room and as a result have had french doors put in where normally the window would be. This is probably a silly question, but is there alot of work to get this done? Or actually because there was already a window there any appropriate plinths etc are likely to be fine so its just a case of removing a some additional breeze blocks and fitting doors instead? Im just thinking ahead as I will need to get double glazing installed and wondered if its worth getting this done rather than replacing that back window/
11) Chilly round the edges!– If I can secure this deal, Il be moving in during the coldest time of year- and given I wont be able to afford to immediately re-insulate the whole house etc Im wondering if someone can tell me just how badly inefficient these houses are at retaining heat and letting in draughts? The EPC for the property actually rates it currently as D which I was surprised at- and the only real action relating to heating etc is just draught proofing (which also makes me somewhat sceptical as surely they would encourage double glazing as quite a big way of making energy savings?!)- so how cold is the place likely to get compared to a typical house? Or are they actually not that bad at all but just could be better?
Thats all I can think of, so thank you for taking the time to read this essay and hopefully I can get this deal done and if I do there will certainly be an almighty project write up to follow!
Thanks in advance for your input :)