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    buying a non standard construction property advice

    Viewed a property today and it was priced around the 80k mark. 3 bed end of cul de sac with a massive garden. Over 600sqms of land alone (over 700sqms in total). The house itself was decent. Needs modernising but a nice little 3 bed with potential. Built around 1946 with wood, concrete and steel construction I was told.

    Now I had intended to buy this as my first rental property. Mainly cash with a bit of mortgage. I intend on getting a structural survey done before hand.

    Just wondering if anyone has any experience of buying, selling or renting non standard construction properties. I'm thinking for the price its a good investment as a long term rental property and worse case scenario is worth some value as a land if the property structurally deteriorates to the point of uneconomical repair .

    I've read these types of properties can be repaired and once PRC certified will hold value again. Any idea of the costs or work involved? would i be better off renting for a few years and then getting these works carried out?

    Would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks

    27 Comments

    You might have a problem getting a mortgage for a non standard construction building . You might be best going through a broker

    fine as rental properties, you can get the same return as normal property.
    the only problem comes when you want to sell, you will be looking for a cash buyer as they are generally un mortgageable
    you can repair them and then they are fine to sell on.
    they usually don't get so bad that you have to get them repaired.
    overall good long term investment in my opinion.

    If this is a BISF steel frame, render on mesh ground floor walls, upper floor metal clad and possibly an asbestos roof?
    In the 90s we refurbished quite a few of these, private and council owned.
    Some things to look out for:
    Cracks in render allows water to rust steel frame, however can be repaired.
    Internal walls and ceilings are/were a fibre board.
    Insulation is/was that dreadful glassfibre stuff.

    The asbestos roof was either removed or over roofed with either lightweight metal tiles ( Decra, Tufftile, Gerrard etc) or siding. However some have had conventional concrete tiles or slates put on, which the metal frame was not made to carry.

    I may still have the Building reseach est. report on them.

    Also look here


    Original Poster

    Thanks for all your replies.

    1. Yes, I'm just after 20% mortgage

    2.I thought the same. 150k 3 bed is likely to get the same rental as 10k 3 bed in similar state. You don't have to declare that its NSC when renting so I figure renting would yield a better return on investment albeit less when selling.

    3. Thanks for that link Flynn Jack and all the info. I checked and there's a few roads nearby. It was previously council owned and purchased by the current owner 15 years ago. Other properties on the road are still in council ownership.

    Is there a way of telling what original construction type is by looking at the type of property or is through internal and structural inspection only? This is a small pic of it Your text here

    What kind of costs are involved in skinning a NSC property?

    Edited by: "king132" 29th Nov 2016

    king132

    Thanks for all you replies.1. Yes, I'm just after 20% mortgage2.I thought … Thanks for all you replies.1. Yes, I'm just after 20% mortgage2.I thought the same. 150k 3 bed is likely to get the same rental as 10k 3 bed in similar state. You don't have to declare that its NSC when renting so I figure renting would yield a better return on investment albeit less when selling.3. Thanks for that link Flynn Jack and all the info. I checked and there's a few roads nearby. It was previously council owned and purchased by the current owner 15 years ago. Other properties on the road are still in council ownership. Is there a way of telling what original construction type is by looking at the type of property or is through internal and structural inspection only? This is a small pic of it Your text hereWhat kind of costs are involved in skinning a NSC property?


    It's a BISF. Many owners covered up problems. Send me some more pics.

    I would steer clear, unless you have contacts in the construction industry.

    If the property needs upgrading and you can't or don't want to do the work yourself finding contractors can be the proverbial nightmare.

    Residential property letting is no longer 'easy money' if it ever was!
    Meeting the legislation requirements in letting out a property can be expensive and time consuming.
    Finding 'good tenants' can be a struggle.
    Rent areas and damage to your property are insurable but at a price.
    Letting agents are expensive, but if you find a good one will 'save' you money
    The tax breaks for Landlords are being slowly eroded.

    Original Poster

    Your text here

    Your text here

    Thanks dumbstruck. I dont have contacts as such but i work in planning for a local authority. I dont actually do planning myself but the guys who work in building control and planning know about this stuff and could point me in the right direction.

    Appreciate that letting isn't as easy as it use to be.As i said this would be my first rental and we all have to start somewhere.

    It looks like a bisf as a lot of these designs do. However the BISF houses were I live all have metal cladding panels to the upper floor. My dad's house also has a block wall rendered over to the ground floor and is not render over expanded metal. I will follow up with some further info as fully renovating my dad's BISF house at present.
    Edited by: "Smartguy1" 29th Nov 2016

    well the questions I would ask myself are 1 what's price differnce between this and one that's of normal construction like for like 2. how much work needs doing on it for it to be let.out for say next 5/10 years. 3. say after 5/10 years years if u wanted to sell would u be able get a half decent price for it. 4. would u ever consider living In it yourself. I bought a property for 45k spent 55k if taking account of all the hours and money spent , work carried out on it struggling to sell it for even 85k know. so it's on rent around 550 per month so I think u should be fine at 80k if u want to put it on rent anyway. Also make sure it's not in a area were council charge fees for renting as that's another con and puts of future landlords should u ever want to sell it on.

    As Flynn Jack says have a look at bisfhouse.com as there is some useful information on there. There are lots of these houses around but there are quite a few variants. I only know about the ones where I live which are BISF. Some are not even though they have a similar appearance and structure and built by quite a few different companies. I am currently refurbishing mine. Some of these properties are classed as unmortgageable and some variants are classed as defective housing in the 1984/1985 housing act so be careful. The PRC ones are probably the worst affected due to the concrete panels corroding the steel which in turns weakens the panels and cracks them. There is lots of information on the internet.

    If your house has a steel structure then it may be an idea for you to have a structural survey done. This could be difficult as to do it properly means an invasive test needs to be done where the the house has to be opened up to check there is no corrosion. Here is what the BRE guidelines are.

    Check the steel corner column where it connects to the concrete base at most south westerly corner. Check the column in the kitchen next to the door. Check the intermediate cross member in the bathroom floor.

    This causes quite a bit of internal damage to inspect these areas. It doesn't matter to us as we are re-plasterboarding anyway as well as putting in a new bathroom suite. The horizontal beam in the bathroom is in perfect condition as is all the other steel we have found with exception to the corner columns at concrete floor level. These are rusty although not corroded for about the first 4 to 6" coming out of the ground. My structural engineer states any rust is to be treated and re-painted. The steel around the window frames looks brand new and wasn't even that dirty seeing as this house was built nearly 70 years ago.

    To decide if your house is a BISF then have a look at the following link if its in England. If its not listed it's not a BISF.

    bisfhouse.com/reg…uk/

    If the house in question is a PRC house it bears no resemblance to a BISF house, i.e. it is NOT BISF. See quote below

    bisfhouse.com/qdo…te/

    You can call a guy call Terry from BISF Renovations on 01427 884307, see website below. You will see these are metal clad as I mentioned earlier. I think you will find that your particular house is not a BISF house. Many people make the mistake as the shape is the same. I came across a link earlier which shows all the defective house types listed in the 1984 / 1985 Housing Act. BISF is not in that list but the PRC types are. If I can find the link again I will post it and you will be able to identify the house from there. Do a google of BISF and all the houses you will come across that haven't been changed will have metal profile cladding to the upper floor.

    bisf-houses.co.uk/

    Original Poster

    Really appreciate all the responses on here. Smartguy1 and Flyn jack a huge thank you for your detailed responses.

    Flyn Jack - You mentioned you refurbished quite a few of these previously. Would you ever consider coming up to the midlands for a few days to refurbish mine? (if and when i exchange contracts). I had planned on carrying out some work on it before attempting to rent it, be good to get people in who know what they are doing.

    I guess my plan is to buy it, get it done up to a decent standard and then let it rent out for a few years before carrying out major work or extension which would be more in mind for resale value in later years.

    Smartguy - the property is not on the bifhouse register. Does this mean it definitely not a BISF? Externally it looks like a BISF and having been reading/ looking at pictures on some refurb projects on the bisfhouse.com/ it looks like a BISF internally with the centre fireplace and rear kitchen with extension to toilet and garden. Upstairs boiler cupboard and window panes above doors.

    You mentioned you are refurbishing yours? How’s that been going? Have you found it expensive or have you done much of the work yourself? Would love to see some pics if you ever have time. I mentioned i’d be renting mine but had been thinking that I would love to have a double sided fireplace. Knock out the two party walls between the living room and back room and then create a column in the middle for the existing fireplace which would be open both sides.

    It’s been a bit of a pain in the *** to get info on the properties in the area. The council sold these properties onto the local housing group and basically destroyed all records. The housing group also has no records as any sold off prior to transfer were never accounted for, so I'm stuck in a position where there are no historical records of how they were built or what work had been done over the years.

    I’m wondering how to approach the seller about getting structural survey done. Especially if it’s invasive which they might not been keen prior to sale.

    Original Poster

    Smartguy1

    As Flynn Jack says have a look at bisfhouse.com as there is some useful … As Flynn Jack says have a look at bisfhouse.com as there is some useful information on there. There are lots of these houses around but there are quite a few variants. I only know about the ones where I live which are BISF. Some are not even though they have a similar appearance and structure and built by quite a few different companies. I am currently refurbishing mine. Some of these properties are classed as unmortgageable and some variants are classed as defective housing in the 1984/1985 housing act so be careful. The PRC ones are probably the worst affected due to the concrete panels corroding the steel which in turns weakens the panels and cracks them. There is lots of information on the internet.If your house has a steel structure then it may be an idea for you to have a structural survey done. This could be difficult as to do it properly means an invasive test needs to be done where the the house has to be opened up to check there is no corrosion. Here is what the BRE guidelines are.Check the steel corner column where it connects to the concrete base at most south westerly corner. Check the column in the kitchen next to the door. Check the intermediate cross member in the bathroom floor. This causes quite a bit of internal damage to inspect these areas. It doesn't matter to us as we are re-plasterboarding anyway as well as putting in a new bathroom suite. The horizontal beam in the bathroom is in perfect condition as is all the other steel we have found with exception to the corner columns at concrete floor level. These are rusty although not corroded for about the first 4 to 6" coming out of the ground. My structural engineer states any rust is to be treated and re-painted. The steel around the window frames looks brand new and wasn't even that dirty seeing as this house was built nearly 70 years ago.To decide if your house is a BISF then have a look at the following link if its in England. If its not listed it's not a BISF.http://bisfhouse.com/register-of-all-bisf-house-locations-uk/If the house in question is a PRC house it bears no resemblance to a BISF house, i.e. it is NOT BISF. See quote belowhttp://bisfhouse.com/qdoes-bisf-house-require-repair-certificate/You can call a guy call Terry from BISF Renovations on 01427 884307, see website below. You will see these are metal clad as I mentioned earlier. I think you will find that your particular house is not a BISF house. Many people make the mistake as the shape is the same. I came across a link earlier which shows all the defective house types listed in the 1984 / 1985 Housing Act. BISF is not in that list but the PRC types are. If I can find the link again I will post it and you will be able to identify the house from there. Do a google of BISF and all the houses you will come across that haven't been changed will have metal profile cladding to the upper floor.http://www.bisf-houses.co.uk/




    I phoned Terry from BISF renovations and he was very helpful. he confirmed it was a BISF and advised me about over cladding the property to insulate it better. Not a cheap job.

    Flynn jac was right. Looks like the list isn't a full list on the bisf info site. My structural engineer also informs me that he has surveyed some in Scarborough which again are not on the list. I have only eve seen the ones like mine which has the metal cladding to the first floor. Terry told me he had been repairing these for 30 years and was really helpful and knowledgeable.

    If the external cladding is in good order not sure what it is from the pics you posted but it can be insulated from the inside. When my house belonged to my dad he pulled off all the boards on the inside and put Rockwell in the cavity and replasterboarded. Not a quick job. It would be quicker to have it externally rendered but costs will be anything from 8k upwards. It will cost a lot less to do it from the inside and also by pulling the boards off you will be able to inspect all the steel. That's something you can't do from an over clad external system. A steel structural survey at the same time wouldn't go amiss. Cost for that about £500 + vat depending on the area. Make sure it's someone who knows about BISF. The guidelines from BRE are easy to follow and in their surveys they did state these houses should have a similar design life to a traditional house.
    Edited by: "Smartguy1" 30th Nov 2016

    Thanks for the offer but no longer in that line.
    Re the fire, there is/was a cast steel sectional liner/flue. Be extremly careful, extremly heavy and asbestos "fire proofing".
    If you can beg/steal or borrow an endoscope camera, then you should be able to inspect the steel stantions. Where the outhouse joins is usually a source of water ingress.

    If it's just a rental go ahead, if they maths work out but bear in mine the future sale might not match up to a future sale of a better property. The last time we moved we view a similar property but lucky for t was a business relocation so we had a proper survey. Even luckier that the next property was ideal and we've been here for 25 years.

    I had mine surveyed today. I had prepared some openings for the surveyor, one being which as Flynn Jack says, where the house adjoins the lean to. Seeing that the steel is 70 years old it is in remarkable condition and the surveyor said he could see no reason why the steel wouldn't be good for another 50 years. His only concern was the steel was a little rusty at the bottom 6", in particular the bolts. He made me remove the concrete which was on top of the corner column base plate. He was happy that he could see everywhere as the house doesn't have any furniture in it and is in a state of modernisation with various holes in the walls, ceilings and floor exposing the steel. I will see what it states in his report but I am going to expose the other corner where the outhouse is adjoined and possibly two more column bases just for piece of mind. My surveyor was happy for me to provide any further photos of my findings. He also said the house was in very good condition structurally and was a shame that these house get hammered by building societies. He also said the house was better than some traditional built new houses where cracks had appeared in walls etc and said that as the house was steel was possibly more flexible to movement. I guess the scepticism by the building societies is the structure is hidden. Quite ironic really as I know that I have a problem with my own brick house which is rendered across the front and every two or three years I am having to V groove under the windows and fill the cracks that appear.

    One place I found quite a bit of rust which the surveyor didn't spot is there is some wind-bracing in the bathroom on the side elevation. That steel was quite rusty where it fastens to the corner column. Could be due to no vapour barrier and high humidity in the bathroom but I think I will pull off the old plasterboards and have a look and treat and re-paint the steel in this area. It's only two walls and it could be quicker to destroy them compared with trying to take the tiles off carefully to re-tile. The steel frame here was certainly a lot worse than the corner column at ground floor level.

    I just looked at the first picture of your house. Looks like it's had a new roof and windows which is a good start. Flynn Jack has some good experience of refurbishing these but as much as I like the concept of these houses you are taking on a risk from a mortgage / resale point of view. However, the rental income of the property will be the same for a 3 bed 80k house or one with much higher value, depending on the area. Bear in mind also that most things can be repaired but I guess the present owners won't want you knocking holes in walls in order that a structural survey can be done properly and I had to remove part of the floor and wall in the bathroom to expose the horizontal rail at bathroom floor level. This would involve removing the bath in most cases. Luckily this house had a shower so was easy to do. The Building Research Establishment did some extensive research on BISF and other non-traditional built houses in the 80's and that is where the recommendations of where to look at the structure come from. Nottingham council pulled apart six of their houses to show there wasn't any major problems with the BISF structure. If the columns are rusty at ground level they can be repaired so long as they are only rusty at the base and they can be repaired quite easily by removing the render externally, cutting out the rusty steel base and welding a new stub base in situ. I know this sounds a bit extensive but no different really than cutting out some cracked bricks on a traditional build. If you find corrosion further up the columns then I think I would be walking away. As I said before the steel I have found so far in the floors and around the windows looks like new. Another place to check is in the loft. Some of these maybe slightly different depending on the roof but the ones that my surveyor had seen before had a steel angle at the eaves / edge perimeter in the loft and were corroded. My house doesn't have these but that could be due to the upper cladding being different.

    Your house value is about the same as my dad's house. What part of the country is it in. Also if you google BISF house for sale it brings up some interesting prices.
    Edited by: "Smartguy1" 1st Dec 2016

    King132. If you can access the loft, don't go up, look at the underside of the roof. As you have what appears to be a Decra/Tufftile/Gerrard steel tile you should see timber rafters attached to the steels and felt. If you see the tiles then you will have corrossion problems from condensation. Alternatively you may see the underside of the "Big six" asbestos cement roofing sheets, as some councils/contractors thought it 'safer' ( cheaper) to leave them in place and re-roof over.
    Smartguy1, the roof steels were more prone to rust in the soffits due to elephant size birds nests and water running down the eaves. We only experienced one ( Mumbles, Swansea) that had severe internal roof steel decay which required several steels to be replaced.

    It's odd that they deem timber framed construction/ decorative brick skin as the norm now, when BISF's where the fore runner, just using alternative materials readily available at the time??

    Our BISF house is rock solid. It took me ages to chip away the concrete on top of the corner column base plate that they surveyor wanted to see. Certainly nothing wrong with the concrete they used in 1949. Personally I can't see the reluctance in the building societies wanting to lend on these. It's not just BISF either. Even buildings built of brick are being turned away by the building societies it seems when they get to a certain age. What I find really odd is a lot of the council houses in our home town that were built like rabbit hutches in the 60's are all being demolished and new private houses built in their place. Someone is making a lot of money somewhere. I suppose council estates are becoming prime land for the new house builders as generally there are lots of green open spaces on council estates and have big gardens unlike the new houses of today.

    There is just one council owned BISF house in our street out of 26 houses. By co-incidence it is adjoined to my dad's old house. It looks quite nice but talking to the neighbour next door the refurbished cost was £30k as he enquired about having his done at the same time. A lot of money but there is no reason why any building society should not lend on it. All of the columns were exposed at ground level and a full structural survey undertaken. All steel exposed for the refurbishment was re-painted. The roof was replaced along with the windows and doors and insulated render added. Internally the property was fitted with a new central heating system and bathroom suite. The house was also re-wired. Externally the house looks brand new and structurally is sound so why are the building societies being funny about them. Perhaps different the reaction would be if these had been private in the first instance and not council owned. Or could it be that certain RICS surveyors working for building societies don't fully understand non-traditional houses and if it isn't brick or block they turn around to the building society and say they are not sellable.

    On the subject of birds nest yes you are right. I remember my dad having many fights with the birds before the new roof was fitted.

    King132. If the house you are looking at is up for sale at £80k then it maybe worth putting an offer in. In my area the only company willing to offer a mortgage on BISF is the Halifax. There will be others but Halifax are the only high street lender willing at this stage. Santander was a waste of time because their surveyor knew nothing of these types of build. Well you wouldn't if all you have ever dealt with are brick buildings. He told Santander that our house was unsellable but didn't give any reason to back it up and Santander have refused to comment. There is a current mortgage on the property, can you guess who it's with. At times words fail me how these people can either be so tunnel visioned or have their heads so far up their **** they think they are god. I had the same issue with an insurance company who told me they wouldn't insure a BISF house. I managed to speak to an underwriter and asked him if in his experience they had even known a BISF house to have suffered from subsidence, heave, slip, etc etc or completely collapse due to the failure of it's structural integrity or basically have any issues or claims due to the design of the building. After admitting he did not I pressed then why would they not insure this type of property and he just said because it was company policy not to. Why can we not have people in government with a backbone to sort these sort of issues out. I said to the underwriter that if they had concerns over possible risks then why not just write them out of their policy. He then said he couldn't help me any further. It's like there are bigger wheels at work which are either forcing people from moving on or only allowing people with cash to buy these houses. Neither of which really helps certainly for people wanting to get on the housing ladder as I would have loved for a BISF house to have been my first home instead of a small two up two down with damp.

    On thing I did find though was a surveyors report from a company called Curtins of Nottingham. Not sure if I mentioned this before but their report was incorrect about BISF houses. The report was dated 2014. At this point I had more than 20 companies who I could have got insurance from. In 2015 I could find only three companies. Co-incidence perhaps.
    Edited by: "Smartguy1" 3rd Dec 2016

    Smartguy1: You are dealing with people who've not really got a clue, most sit behind a desk 9 2 5, with little experience or care of/for the real world and just want to cover their @ rse.
    I suspect very few surveyors have much true practical experience.
    Recently I was doing some work on a barn conversion that had had a roof fire, been repaired and signed off by contractor, surveyor and insurance company. The tops of some the "new" rafters were charcoaled . Called the insurers, who sent out loss adjustor, who instructed me to cut back to good wood and scarf new in. Hmmm, That would be fine if they were not load bearing, however I suspect lots of builders do just that and rely on load spread.
    BISF's are much better than a lot of the new houses that are being built in 2016.

    Hi Flynn Jack. Yes I know what you mean about cover @ rse. You want to see what some Architects draw up. I guess you do. I spent quite a few years working in construction mainly modular building or for joinery companies. We don't do structural calcs but we generally know what is going to work and what won't by section size, spread etc when pricing. We always qualify though that sizes quoted are an estimate only and subject to structural calculations determining what should be used. In your particular example this is a cause for concern because what can a loss adjuster know about structural calcs and stress graded timber. I hope it wasn't a barn that was listed. Conservation officers can be 'fun' to deal with and properties that are in national park areas are even worse. We did some sliding sash windows on a grade 2 listed building and because it was listed the clients windows were about 50% more in cost because we had to use "heritage" double glazed units which cost a fortune. The style of the window was typical Georgian. The property was in the middle of nowhere, on it's own with the nearest house over a mile away. I could show you a Georgian style window made the modern way and made the traditional way and I guarantee you that from 6 feet away you would not tell the difference. I don't mind keeping some heritage but come on. We find quite a few people get a shock when they buy a house in a conservation area or is a listed building and they want to do some repairs. If the local councils were footing the bill for the extra cost it would probably be a different story.

    Anyway back on track and at the BISF house over the weekend re-plasterboarding the master bedroom. Removed the plywood lining around the window and the steel sections are like new. We found the same in the second bedroom which was fully plaster skimmed yesterday. At last we have one room nearly finished, well it will be next weekend when the painter comes. All first fix electrics in, new central heating boiler in and pipework run in for the lounge, dining room and conservatory. Not sure how the plumber is going to get through the steel girders in the floor at first floor level.....hmmm, we will see but he's not banging any holes in our new boards. I think I would have run the pipes in the loft and down the walls unless he knows of some services ducts that I don't know about. He has done a few of these houses before so I guess he knows better than me. We decided rather than pull the old boards off to go straight on to the existing with 9.5mm boards. I normally wouldn't use 9.5mm but it works fine bonded to the existing plasterboard and it's lighter and the combined thickness means we now have a very sturdy wall. It's a bit of a pain finding the existing studwork on the walls and some of them are quite thin but upstairs is coming together now and plasterer booked to skim the master bedroom on Saturday. We cross battened the ceilings so I hope the structure can take the extra weight. Best not put too many heavy items in the loft!! Next weekend will be plasterboarding the small bedroom and we see from the first fix electrics there is no insulation in this wall. We thought about pulling the boards off and throwing some acoustic roll in there but I think we will just use a sound block board on the small bedroom side. We used these downstairs in the living room and dining room after battening the existing wall to hide the new central heating pipes. Those are quality boards but so heavy. We going to fun getting those upstairs.

    One thing I did find which is possibly the original electrics before it was re-wired, is one of the 2.5mm ring main cable runs over the steel girder in the small bedroom. In time the floor board has sunk slightly and the cable has been flattened and it looks like it has got a bit too warm at one point. Sockets are turned off at present upstairs but I will definitely be asking the electrician about it.

    Only thing I am not too sure what to do yet is in the outhouse. This has been converted into a study where the old shed was, with downstairs loo where the coal store was and a small utility where the original toilet was. It is just single skin and really cold in there. I don't want to make it much smaller so was thinking of using a 25mm roofing batten on a dpm and using a 25mm celotex rigid insulation board and plasterboard.

    Smartguy1. Good to see everything dropping into place. Re outhouse, What you propose should be okay but iirc the floor was just a concrete slab with no dpm, so a potential damp and cold spot. Also the old asbestos roof had glav or copper flashing in some, which tended to split. It's possibly been replaced but worth checking, also we took the end upstands away as the flasing was just rendered over and not set into the block work.

    Flynn Jack, thanks for that. I forgot all about the floor. You will of course be right. You have seen a lot more of these houses than me but my parents did have the outhouse altered. I know the original floor will have been removed or partly removed as the toilet was moved from it's original place to where the coal store used to be. I have the original invoice from the builder so will check his scope of works. I wasn't really wanting to raise the floor up too much as headroom is a bit tight in there so I may have to come up with another plan. Any suggestions you have will be useful thank you. The end upstands have been removed and the asbestos roof has gone too. Unfortunately it is now a felt roof as when the main roof was replaced the outhouse roof was replaced with the same profile, similar to Decra but there were issues and it leaked which I assume to be too shallow a fall and was replaced by the builder with felt but it is joined along the width which is not how I would have thought was the right way to do it. I would have thought the felt would have been rolled out the full length at the lower and and then overlapped working towards the gable wall. This was re-done recently by the sub-contract roofer we use at work and as I don't have much experience with roofing works I can't really comment further. Eventually it will be replaced with a one piece covering similar to what we used in modular building or one of the newer systems.

    Smartguy1: Leaks can be attributed to incorrect fitting of Decra tiles and/or flashing, nail holes in water channel or foot traffic rupture. Decra , if fitted correctly, will never leak. The front lip locks over the back pip however I have seen them with the back lip butts up to the front lip, so water runs down behind the tile. They may suffer from condensation but the underlay/felt, if used, should deal with that.
    If you intend replacing the roof, then you could raise it's height to accommodate any raise in floor height. Alternatively dpc and tile over insulation to keep at precent levels, it's not possible to raise the outhouse roof.

    Hi Flynn Jack. I have a question re the BISF house and the existing fire place. Is it possible the wall can be moved back so it is just a stud wall between the living room and dining room. As you will know the chimney breast is about 18" deep to accommodate the flew and what used to be the old coal fire grate. My daughter wants to remove the existing gas fire and replace with a modern wall mounted electric one. Not what I would do but it means knocking the wall back.

    I see there is some steel in there. Some vertical angle bracing supporting at each corner of the chimney breast wall, living room side. And then in the middle there is a floor mounted frame which is supporting the steel flue. The steel in their doesn't look structural and I did read somewhere that all the internal walls can be removed but am just a little concerned that any steel I find in the inner partition walls on the ground floor are structural. . To date I have not found any steel in the inner walls to the first floor. I am also not over keen that I may have to remove the flue altogether and not to sure how heavy it will be.

    As always I would appreciate your help.

    Update on the house now is the upstairs is all nearly finished now. New ceilings, new walls, all skimmed and painted big skirting boards and new architraves. Electrics complete upstairs and downstairs, all rads fitted, bathroom in and tiling nearly finished. Looks amazing upstairs now and the bathroom will be finished this weekend and fitted wardrobes to master and second bedroom next weekend.

    Got the structural survey report back which was a bit of a joke in some respects but very helpful in others. The only damning thing was the engineer suggested removing all of the inner plasterboard to check all the steel which was hidden. A bit late for that upstairs although we did prepare some test areas inline with the BRE guidelines which were ok but I will be pulling off some of the boards on the ground floor. Steel corner columns at base level were a bit corroded but looked amazingly good when wired brushed. The surveyor has agreed to keep the report open and add future test areas. He classed the house as structurally stable which was the main thing.
    Edited by: "Smartguy1" 20th Jan
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