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  1. Mortgages and insurance? Im thinking of buying a BISF but I’ve heard so many negative comments about getting a mortgage. Rather than have the door slammed in my face when applying for a mortgage who should I go straight too?

  2. I would suggest trying Santander as your first port of call.
    Does your house have a steel tiled roof or a corrugated asbestos roof as this can limit those willing to lend?

  3. It’s a corrugated steel roof as far as I can tell, it’s green in colour if that means anything. Upper half of building has white cladding and lower half render/pebble dashed.

    1. That’s good news Pro as Santander can sometimes be a little hesitant with asbestos roofing sheets but yours being steel and many are particularly in the North & South should be fine.
      Just make sure that when you approach Santander and they request a survey, to contact the surveyors company and ask them to send a surveyor who is familiar with the BISF construction as it can save you a lot of problems. Many surveyors wrongly class this type of property as defective under the housing act which it is not.

      Good luck and let us know how you get on.

      Marc 🙂

    2. Got the OK from Nationwide, they’ve offered the full amount without any problems.
      A very quick service from them 🙂

      Just need to find a decent buildings and contents insurance quote now.

    3. Excellent News! , glad to hear it all went smoothly.
      My first ever insurance was actually with Nationwide and at the time they were very competitive.
      It’s always worth trying the comparison sites first and see what comes up as a general guide.

    1. Hi nick
      Our servers went down about two weeks ago and some of our data was lost / corrupted. We managed to recover the site from back ups however at the time we were unable to restore the galleries or the forum as they work on a different software platform.
      We are still trying to see what we can recover from the database.
      I have re activated the gallery feature and uploaded some new images to monitor performance.

  4. I was caught out in the early torrential rain and thunderstorms this morning whilst visiting my daughters BISF. She has one those steel roofing tiles fitted to her property which I thought would be very noisy during heavy rain.
    To my surprise whilst standing in the bathroom and the landing area, I heard nothing other than the rain outside.
    If I’m honest, I half expected the rain to sound similar to that on a caravan roof but I was more than pleasantly surprised that it did not.

  5. Hello All,

    I am a recent new buyer and member.
    I would like to take down the internal downstairs wall for complete open plan. Obviously I will need to meet fire safety regs, etc, and will contact building control first.
    Would anyone know if the central internal wall is supporting any of the upper structure? I have stripped back the fireplace to the steel flue and frame and can see a steel beam at ceiling height in the wall. I wonder if there are any steel uprights vertical to it from the ground?
    It would be useful to know before I get the inspector around.

    Regards and thanks for any advice, Chris

  6. Hi
    Have anyone made a new door way at the bottom of the staircase, to gain new accses to a new side extension. why I ask is, there is a steal bracing struts at every corner of the BISF houses.. I was wondering, is it ok to remove this to make way for a new door way. or if anyone maybe have done this.


    1. Hello evs, I have seen several properties where this diagonal brace has been removed and replaced with a doorway into the adjoining garage or even a window when located at the rear corner of the property.
      What I have been unable to establish so far is if any further strengthening was required to compensate for the removal of the supporting strut.
      So the answer at present is yes it can and has been done. You may however need to seek advice from a structural engineer to be on the safe side.
      I hope this helps.

  7. Hello Andy, apologies for the delay in replying but it has been a very hectic few weeks in the office.
    Firstly I would suggest that you contact East Durham Homes immediately and inform them that you wish to be included in the Decent Homes scheme before it closes in your area. Schemes such as this are a very rare opportunity which can add significant value to your house with the vast majority of the funding costs being paid for by various grants that otherwise would not be available.
    There is virtually no point in talking to the Site Foreman or any other on site worker as they themselves would not be able to register you on the scheme. This would have to be done by East Durham Homes who are implementing the work.
    The Ellesmere Drive renovations fall under Stage 4 of the renovation process with Stage 5 moving on to Station Estate North & South. I do not have the exact timetable at hand regarding when work is to cease in your area but if it is still ongoing you may be in with a chance for inclusion.
    When talking to East Durham Homes I would stress to them that you have not received any correspondence and that if left in it’s original condition amongst many renovated properties your house value could be badly damaged. (I wouldn’t even suggest that you may have thrown the letter away, as you have no way to ascertain if you did or not.

    You really do need to fight tooth and nail for inclusion in this project as it is an excellent opportunity that does not come along very often. Not only will your property look better but it will be significantly warmer too, saving you money on bills. If you find that East Durham Homes aren’t interested then you should contact your local Councillor as a matter of urgency because he can push your case for you. Many Councillors hold regular surgeries in your local area. Your nearest Library should have a list.

    Whatever you do though, don’t hang about. Get onto this asap!
    I would start by registering a complain first to East Durham Homes on Freephone: 0800 032 0835. Once the complaint is logged I would hang up and then call back and ask to speak to your Estate Officer or your local regeneration department for the Seaham area. Outline your case and make sure you get a contact name for everyone you talk to and write down the times and dates. Be firm but polite and whatever happens remain calm even if you do feel like your hitting your head against he proverbial brick wall.

    Good luck and be sure to update us with your progress.

  8. Hi I want to remove the chimney breast in the living room to open it up for more room and like to know if anyone else has done this if so what probs or how easy it was to do plus have a Lean to into the garden from the back room how could it be done with the steel half way up the house . As anyone done this ? thanks

  9. Hello Aw
    Have you seen the excellent post by Doug on the removal of the cast iron flue and fireplace. Here’s a link
    With regard to the lean-to do you have one or are you planning to put one in, ie a conservatory? When you say steel half way up the house do you mean the roof section and how it is attached to the steel sheeting?
    If you have a photo it would help us to give you more accurate advice :0)

    1. Hi Marc thanks for the reply I don’t have a cast Iron flue ive already checked that out it is a normal flue . yeah its a conservatory type Lean too but its a steel cladding as same as the roof which is at the top half of the house above the down stairs windows im just wondering if it can we cut into the cladding for a higher pitch roof and still be weather tight thanks once again

      1. Hi, I have seen BISF houses with pitched-roofed extensions and conservatories with flashing onto the steel cladding so it can be done, but it looks bodged and prone to leaking. If I was going to do it, I would have a flat roof covered in EPDM with the EPDM flashed directly under the lip of the steel cladding, provided it would give enough height. That would be much more waterproof and look better and EPDM should last decades.

        About the flue, what is it made of? Most BISF houses have a chimney breast faced in plasterboard supported by wooden battens on a steel frame. Inside there is a cast-iron pipe for the flue (as in Doug’s post on removing it). This is against the wall between the dining room and living room. Other BISF houses can have a masonry chimney breast against the party wall, these mostly seem to be found in Scotland.


      2. Hi AW, sorry I missed your reply, have been on vacation for several weeks.
        I personally wouldn’t cut into the steel profile as it could cause many more problems. Perhaps you could identify the roof line and pack out the recesses with something suitable like plastic box profile pipe if you can find a suitable with and secure it with a high performance, waterproof adhesive. What you need to achieve a a waterproof flat surface to join to. I have seen other methods used, including using a 3″ plastic trim panel attached to the metal and the recesses behind again packed with sealant such as Stick Like S**T. As long as a lasting waterproof seal is achieved you should be good to go.
        P.S I like the grey colour :0)

  10. Hi ,
    I am George , I am new here ,
    I have a BISF house and I have some drainage problem ?
    Does anyone have a drainage plan for this houses for Coventry, Canley ?
    Thank you

  11. Hi George and welcome! Where abouts is the drainage problem, within the house itself or in the sewer under the house/outside? Within the house, the drainage is standard for BISF houses but if it’s outside it will probably depend on the local topography rather than the house type.Ed

  12. I like the grey colour too. That cladding looks fairly new and not the original to me (not the same profile as the one we have). Still deciding on a colour for ours for when the weather improves.