Review Happy clients helped to get a mortgage on a non traditional house


British Iron and Steel Federation house survey

- happy clients we helped resolve mortgage issue

Our independent survey to the rescue

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save time and money with a non traditional building surveyWanting to take advantage of the huge savings they could gain on a council property they had lived in for over 25 years our clients unfortunately were not finding gaining a mortgage quite so easy as they had hoped.  Our independent building surveyors with expertise in non traditional properties came to the rescue with advice to enable our clients achieve their dream of owning their own home.

Our Independent Building Surveyor carried out a full visual residential building survey on the house where it was found none of the areas inspected could be termed as structurally affecting the property. Within the roof structure our building Surveyors even found the level of rust to be slightly below average, not bad or excessive although the Surveyor did make our client fully aware they were buying a non-traditional house and the problems that can be inherent with them when or if they were to ever to want to sell the property in the future.

The clients seemed happy with the findings and felt they were a step closer to becoming house owners.

Do banks and building societies really know what they are doing?

Then the problems started!

The Halifax potential mortgage lender thought there was a problem with the property as the house was a non-traditional build even though they had given mortgages for other properties nearby and indeed the property next door we were told (we haven’t done any legal checks on this and we have just taken the word of the neighbours that we spoke to). The problem was the Halifax didn’t have a policy in place to resolve it!

Our clients were advised by the valuer working on behalf of the Halifax that the Halifax had asked for the house to be opened up. We asked:-

  1. Exactly how many openings were required?
  2. The location of the openings?
  3. What size openings were required?

Our clients were then told by the valuer the holes should be cut into the internal walls, close to the base of the vertical structural columns, to check for corrosion at the joint between the columns and floor slab. They also suggested investigation at first floor level to check column conditions at the point where when the house was built; originally there was a lipped joint between the render and steel cladding, which was a point of weakness.

This we believed did not answer our original questions so we contacted the valuer who told us he was only following guidance notes from the Halifax in requesting the house to be opened up and could not be any more specific. He advised we call his Head Office and ask them about another non-traditional property he had requested to be opened up and find out exactly where this was opened, how many openings and the size of the openings from the Surveyor that carried this out.

We then contacted his Head Office to be told they had not yet received the report back so had no idea!

Feeling frustrated?

1stAssociated Surveyors never give up!

Feeling like our building Surveyors who specialist in non-traditional houses were getting nowhere and concerned for the poor client who was getting very frustrated, we then made contact with a Technical Support Manager at Colleys the Halifax Surveyors who advised through the Mortgage Advisor that the Structural Engineer needed to confirm that he is happy with the steel frame of the non-traditional property and that the corrosion, if any, will not affect the future stability of the non-traditionally constructed property going forward. He advised he does not require a specific number of holes or a specific size - just that he needs confirmation of the stability of the steel frame.

Non-traditional properties

Again this was not the answer we required so we emailed the Tech Support Manager at Colleys advising that we had already carried out a structural survey on this non-traditional property and given our comments based upon what we could see of the roof structure and a visual inspection of the whole property, which is what our independent building Surveyors always do.  Our Surveyors advised that we have never before been asked to open up a property without any guidance or any specific reason to open it up other than that this is a BISF house of non traditional construction.  We advised no one is able to guarantee the future stability of a non traditional property, we simply don’t have the history of this type, style and age of property construction in the UK. 

We gave them our proposal of how many areas we intended to open up using the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as guidance and asked them for their comments. We advised even with these areas opened up we would only be able to specifically comment on these areas and give an indication of any potential problems also advising them it is only with the opening up of the whole structure, which we are not aware has ever taken place for a mortgage, that we would be able to give assurance on the future stability of the non-traditional property.

We wanted to understand specifically what concerns they had with this property over and above the other BISF houses as we could not see anything specific.

The normal process is to have guidance from the condition of the roof and we have never had our survey reports questioned previously.  We have only opened up the structure of a property in the past:-

  1. Where major works have been carried out or
  1. Proposed to the property or
  1. There has been a specific element identified by the mortgage valuer as a defect in the property

We can then focus our investigations in this specific area.

At this stage the client was feeling no matter what they did it would not be good enough to pass the mortgage requirements and considered pulling out altogether.

Another visit from a valuer!!

The client then had a call advising another valuer would be visiting the property. After this visit we were advised by Colleys that the lenders and Panel Surveyors are working together to resolve the issues with the lending on this property and they doubted we would have to go out to open up the property.

Patience and the help of our experienced non traditional building Surveyors helped to get a result

A few days later we spoke again to our client who advised she had been left a voice message by the mortgage advisor advising the Panel Surveyors have passed the property.


Result - at last our client will be homeowners - peace of mind with the help of our experienced non traditional building Surveyors

Call us today free phone 0800 298 5424 if we can help you with your non traditional property