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Modern steel frame house purchase, any advice please.

Discussion in 'Building' started by ck15, 6 Mar 2014.

  1. ck15

    ck15

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    Hi this is my first time at posting on this forum

    We are in the early stages of buying a mid 1990s steel frame four bed detached house.

    I am no builder but have reasonable DIY knowledge. From what i understand its a galvanized steel frame with standard brick single outer skin and hard foam type insulation between the steel frame. The roof is wood trussed with concrete tiles. apparently the original building company no longer exists.

    I appreciate the benefits should be better insulation and possibly cheaper initial build costs. I have also checked with my mortgage supplier and insurer, both consider it to be standard construction. But are there any factors i should be aware of?

    My concerns are life span, corrosion, modification, external extension potential and if i would be able to covert the loft into a room. Also i wounder if getting a full structual survey would answer any of my concerns.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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  3. ck15

    ck15

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    Thanks

    I have been doing lots of searching but all i seem to find is information and scare stories on older Steel framed houses. From what i understand these could be a different construction method. I really need to find out what the exact term for this construction method is.
    Surely steel frame cant be that bad nowadays, im sure i have seen many design programs using it.
     
  4. Static

    Static

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    End of the day steel framed properties no matter how modern will not last as long as stone built castles..

    Its all down to how often and well it is maintained.. if its neglected and left to rust for years then it will have problems..
    IF however the property is well cared for and the steel kept dry it could go for 50 years without needing too much done to it..

    Modification will be more expensive than a traditional house but not impossible..
     
  5. loply

    loply

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    In all likelihood a modern steel frame is just as good if not better than a typical masonry build.

    Longevity of the steel is not an issue, certain poorly designed post-war steel frame houses with no rust protection in costal areas had problems, which has led to a myth about steel frame houses being short-lasting. At the same time many conventional builds were built which also had problems (eg wall tie corrosion requiring a full replacement and repoint job).

    The structure will last forever if maintained. There are 120+ year old skyscrapers and structures like the Eiffel tower (technically iron, but not much different) as testament to this.

    Previous poster is right that it won't last as long as a castle made from gigantic blocks of stone basically piled on top of one another - but who lives in such a castle? Bricks and mortar can't be compared to a dry-stone castle, the bricks are tiny and joined together with delicate mortar. Steel frame is a lot stronger. Try putting a modern brick-and-mortar building through a heavy earthquake and see what you end up with...

    Modification can be both easier and more difficult, depending on what you're doing. You may benefit from having no load bearing internal walls for instance, and only one skin of brickwork to breach if you want to extend or put in a new window. But, relocating a load bearing steel upright is expensive and not as easy. You probably only have these in the corners though, maybe some in the centres of exterior walls too.

    I'd be careful of building insurance wrongly classifying it as conventional build and then refusing to pay out later if there's a problem.

    You could ideally do with structural drawings of the property if they're available, particularly if the building is a one-off rather than a known design, but you can always figure it out later if required.
     
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  6. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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