BISF – Steel Frame Mortgage

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Ross McMillan

Blue Fish Mortgage Solutions

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Getting a mortgage for a steel frame house can present its own unique challenges and considerations – compared to a traditional mortgage, there are specific requirements that you need to be aware of in order to successfully apply for financing.

If you are interested in buying a steel frame house, it is important to do your research ahead of time so that you understand the key features and benefits of this type of construction.

In this article, we will explore what a steel frame house is, the different types of residential properties that use this construction method, and the unique considerations that come with getting a mortgage for one. We will also discuss the resources and tools available to help you navigate the process, and offer some tips on how to ensure a smooth and successful application.

What is a steel frame house, and how is it different from a traditional house?

A steel frame house is a type of home that is constructed using steel instead of more traditional materials like wood and brick. Steel frame construction is considered to be non-standard construction, so it can potentially be difficult to get a mortgage for a steel frame home. As a result, steel frame houses are not suitable for everyone but for those who are looking for a typically good-sized home at a reasonable price, a steel frame house may be the perfect option.

What are the most common types of steel frame construction residential properties in the UK?

In the UK, the most common type of steel frame construction you are likely to come across is  BISF (British Iron and Steel Federation) construction.

BISF construction is a type of non-standard construction that was popular in the United Kingdom during the mid-twentieth century. BISF construction was typically made from prefabricated steel panels, which were then bolted or welded together on site. Panelised homes such as these were first introduced in the UK in the 1930s as a way to quickly and cheaply build homes for families displaced by the Second World War. However, this form of construction fell out of favour in the postwar period due to concerns about its durability. Many mortgage lenders typically require homes to be built to standard construction methods, but there are still several lenders who are happy to consider lending against BISF homesand offer the opportunity to obtain a BISF – Steel Frame mortgage

What are considered the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a steel frame (BISF) house?

Mortgage lenders tend to be wary of non-standard construction, such as BISF houses, as a result, it can be more difficult to secure financing for a BISF property.

Additionally, because BISF houses are not as common as traditional brick-and-mortar homes, it can be difficult to find contractors who are familiar with the unique construction methods used in BISF homes and therefore ongoing maintenance and repairs may be more costly.

Due to the non-standard nature of this type of construction, buildings insurance may, in some instances, be more expensive as fewer insurance companies may be willing to offer terms but if necessary there are also several specialist insurers to cater for this.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to choose a BISF house and pursue the necessary  BISF – Steel Frame mortgage comes down to personal preference. Some people love the extra space and comparable value for money that they can often provide while others prefer the more traditional construction of a more conventional bricks and mortar house.

Speak to an expert!

 Contact me, Ross McMillan, the owner of Blue Fish Mortgage Solutions today for expert advice and guidance on your unique mortgage and property needs. I will work with you one-on-one to help you find the right solution for your specific needs. With my expertise and industry connections, you can rest assured that you are in good hands when it comes to securing the financing you need for your property. 

How does getting a mortgage for a steel frame house work, compared to a traditional mortgage?

Mortgage approval for a steel frame house works in a similar way to traditional mortgage approval, in that the lender will assess the value of the property using a survey and valuation. The biggest difference is that steel frame construction is considered non-standard, which can make it more difficult to obtain a mortgage.

Mortgage lenders typically take a more cautious approach when it comes to lending on properties with non-standard construction. As a result, borrowers may need to provide additional documentation and follow a more strict set of guidelines.

In some cases, the lender may request specialist reports but initially, most lenders will generally be guided by the Home Report in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK require a comprehensive survey and valuation before approving any loan application. The comments of the surveyor within their survey report will generally be a critical factor in how any potential lender will assess the overall suitability of the property for a mortgage.

In some instances, to manage their risk, lenders may restrict the loan to value they are willing to lend and so a larger deposit may be required than would be the case with a traditionally constructed home.

Despite these challenges, with the right advice, it is certainly possible to get a BISF – steel frame mortgage for a house and I have helped many to successfully do so. Borrowers just need to be aware that there may be a few extra steps involved in the process.

Are there any specific requirements or considerations that you need to be aware of when applying for a mortgage on a steel frame house?

When applying for a BISF – steel frame mortgage for a house, there are a few things to keep in mind.

As already mentioned, because steel frame construction is considered non-standard, some lenders will require a more detailed mortgage survey and additional specialist reports than they would for a traditional bricks and mortar home. These are outlined in another question below but in general may result in some extra costs and time to process any application.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the potential for higher maintenance costs down the road. Whilst steel frame homes can be extremely durable, they can be susceptible to corrosion if not properly maintained. As such, it’s important to factor in the cost of regular maintenance and repairs when budgeting for your new home.

Finally, be sure to shop around for homeowners insurance that covers steel frame homes. Not all policies will provide coverage for this type of construction, so it’s important to do your research and speak to a specialist adviser in advance.

By taking these things into consideration, you can be sure that you’re prepared and informed to navigate the process of securing a mortgage on a steel frame home.

What level of survey or type of additional reports for BISF steel framed properties may be advisable or required to obtain a mortgage in the UK?

If you are considering obtaining a mortgage for a BISF (British Iron and Steel Federation) steel-framed property in the UK, there are a few additional surveys and reports that may be advisable or for some lenders automatically required.

BISF houses were mainly built between 1946 and 1950 as part of the post-World War II reconstruction effort. They were designed to be affordable and quick to construct but as a result althiugh as with any older building, there may sunbsequently be issues that could affect the mortgage approval process.

Initially, a standard mortgage valuation report is likely to be required by the lender to assess the property’s value and suitability for lending purposes. In Scotland, the home report will have already recorded and advised regarding this. The surveyors report may highlight any significant defects that could affect the value or safety of the property, including any issues with the steel frame structure.

Additionally, given the unique nature of BISF properties, it may often be recommended or required that a specialist survey is carried out by a qualified engineer or surveyor with expertise in steel-framed houses. This survey should assess the condition of the steel frame, as well as any potential issues with damp, insulation, and roofing.

It is important to note that the exact requirements for surveys and reports may vary between lenders, and so it is always advisable to work with a specialist mortgage broker to determine the specific requirements for your situation.


Overall, getting a mortgage for a steel frame house can be a bit more challenging than securing financing for other types of homes. However, with the right advice and planning, it is certainly possible to navigate this process successfully. Whether you are looking for extra space and value for money or prefer the classic appeal of traditional construction, there are plenty of mortgage options available to suit your needs. So if you are considering buying a home with a steel frame, be sure to do your research and work with an experienced mortgage advisor such as me to find the right financing solution for you.

Looking for a mortgage to buy or refinance a steel frame home? At Blue Fish Mortgage Solutions, we offer advice on tailored financing solutions for all types of properties, including those with non-standard construction and requiring a BISF-Steel Frame mortgage. Contact us today to learn more about our services and get started on securing the financing you need to achieve your goals.

What is the actual process when looking to buy a property in Scotland?

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Hopefully the above information has been useful but if you have any other questions or are ready to start your own property journey now, please fill in the enquiry form and we will get in touch!

This article is intended to be a generic overview and each individual situation will need to be considered carefully, with the final decision being down to the lender.

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