Our guide to BISF Steel Framed House mortgages
Mortgage lenders favour houses built according to standard construction criteria – a slate or tile roof, brick or stone walls, and a timber frame.
In the post-war situation of dire housing need, some homes were built using a faster and cheaper construction method using steel frames. Many were intended as temporary homes and, at the time, few were expected still to be in use today.
But such housing is certainly around today still – and goes by the generic name of British Iron and Steel Federation or BISF steel-framed homes. By definition, those properties are described as non-standard construction – the term used by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is “non-traditional construction”.
A review of non-traditional housing published by the CML goes on to explain that mortgages for homes with unusual construction – such as BISF (steel-framed homes) – are more difficult to secure.
Some lenders are more relaxed about arranging mortgages for such property while others may reject applications relating to non-standard construction out of hand. As with many issues surrounding your mortgage application, a lot may depend on identifying a suitable lender for the home you want to buy. And that, in turn, may depend on your consulting a suitable, independent mortgage broker.
Why may it be difficult to get a BISF Steel House mortgage?
Difficulties in getting a BISF steel house mortgage may be traced to the history of defects found in homes constructed in this way. It is a history traced by the website BISF House.
The majority of those homes were built using steel-reinforced concrete panels. In post-war conditions, many raw materials were in short supply, with the result that the steel used to reinforce the concrete panels was poor quality. Furthermore, contamination within the concrete subsequently led to catastrophic damage to the steel reinforcing bars (or rebars) in the concrete panels.
Serious corrosion, coupled with disintegrating concrete weakened the entire structure of the home – to such an extent that many such buildings were categorised as defective under the Housing Defects Act 1984.
In addition to the corrosion of the steel and failure of the concrete panels, BISF homes also suffered from a poor or total lack of insulation and remain prone to cracking on the ground floor.
Many of the defects are repairable – insulation may be added, for example – but it all depends on the remaining integrity of the building’s structure.
Nevertheless, British Iron and Steel Federation or BISF (steel-framed) homes are common in the UK. You may still secure a mortgage for such a home – but it all depends on the lender.
Insurers also share mortgage lenders concerns about the reliability and structural integrity of BISF homes. Not all home insurers are prepared to offer cover and those that do may incorporate restrictive exclusions. Since building insurance is going to be a requirement of your mortgage lender, it is imperative also to find an insurer prepared to offer cover on your BISF home.
Can I get a British Iron and Steel Federation construction mortgage?
Mortgages for homes with unusual construction are more difficult to secure. The lender’s security is in the property itself and non-standard or non-traditional construction makes the integrity and durability of that building far less certain.
A steel house mortgage, therefore, may be difficult to secure.
As mentioned, repairs and improvements can sometimes be made – defective concrete panels and corroded steel, for example, might be reinforced with brick. While expensive remedies, these works might increase your chances of securing a mortgage with the appropriate lender.
Using our particular expertise and experience, we may help you to identify those specialist lenders who are willing to arrange the mortgage you need.
What deposit will I need for steel frame home mortgages?
When potential mortgage lenders are already wary about non-standard methods of construction of the home you want to buy and the available pool of willing lenders is restricted, you are likely to find that the conditions attached to any mortgage advance are that much tighter.
Most notable of those restrictions is likely to be the loan to value (LTV) ratio of any mortgage offered. The lower this ratio, of course, the bigger the deposit you need. For example, whereas you might secure an LTV as high as 95% on a new-build home of standard construction, the LTV on a steel-framed house might be considerably lower. You are likely to need a bigger deposit – and may also need to offer evidence of a higher income.
Getting a British Iron and Steel Federation construction mortgage is likely to prove more than usually difficult – and you might need all the help you can get. At Needing Advice, that help is here at hand. We are ready and waiting to answer your questions and offer whatever advice you may need about steel house mortgages.