Mortgage declined on new(ish) build due to timber cladding??!

Hi all
I currently live in a Berkeley homes development, second owner of my flat built in 2010. I attempted to remortgage as a BTL with Clydesdale Bank (as I plan to move to my parent's and buy another main residence).

Surveyor visited this week and declared that the construction was 'non standard' - a 'reinforced concrete frame construction'. Also declared that Timber Cladding is used on the building: due to both factors it does not meet Clydesdale's lending criteria (!)

Has anyone heard of such a thing? Berkeley tell me that the structure is a standard concrete frame with block and brick walls, and that the cladding is purely a cosmetic lining, so I've gone back to my broker to attempt to appeal. I believe the cladding is more to do with older dwellings on a timber frame perhaps. Secondly I have another apartment in the same development which is also BTL with Clydesdale (no cladding on that block though).

I'm a contractor so I'm pretty limited in terms of mortgage choice hence the use of a broker and Clydesdale. I have enquired with NatWest as they appear to be contractor friendly these days... Waiting to hear back.

Anyone have any advice on how to overcome this issue?

Example picture of block:


  • EachPennyEachPenny Forumite
    12.2K Posts
    'Reinforced concrete frame construction' would certainly fit into most people's definitions of standard construction for blocks of flats... if you regard RC as non-standard then it rules out a substantial percentage of purpose-built flats in the UK. I'd go further and suggest that RC would be my preferred choice of construction material for a flat.

    But I can imagine timber cladding (even cosmetic) ringing some alarm bells post-Grenfell. Whilst everyone was getting agitated about the use of cladding containing plastics, the use of decorative timber cladding in modern architecture was largely overlooked. I would expect that when the building regs finally get updated, the use of external timber will also be much more tightly regulated. Aside from any safety concerns, without proper maintenance timber cladding quickly looks tired and unattractive - which might impact on sale values and therefore would be a matter of concern to mortgage lenders.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
  • edited 1 October 2017 at 3:56PM
    AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
    42.2K Posts
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    edited 1 October 2017 at 3:56PM
    Slip5 wrote: »
    Example picture of block:
    In a Grenfell-focused environment, you can see why cladding is a concern, I hope...

    But I really can't see a problem with that being a concrete frame structure - nor, really, why the cladding would be a big issue. I suspect there's a bit of over-eager jobsworth going on.

    Either way, your main option would be to shrug and use a different lender. If they don't want your business, that's their problem.
    EachPenny wrote: »
    Aside from any safety concerns, without proper maintenance timber cladding quickly looks tired and unattractive

    Depends on your opinion, of course, since a properly specified timber cladding would change appearance - but not deteriorate in any functional way. If it's inadequate rubbish that needs coating or painting every few years, that's a different question.
  • ProDaveProDave Forumite
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    I would have thought the whole point of using a broker is he should know which lenders dislike which construction methods and be able to choose one that is happy. What does the BROKER say about the situation?
  • Slip5Slip5 Forumite
    12 Posts
    Thanks for the replies. The broker has reverted back to a Business Development Manager at Clydesdale, which in turn is now sitting with a Senior Analyst for Valuations at Clydesdale to see whether this issue can be overcome... I certainly hope it can otherwise my other plans will be shattered (we're remortgaging to btl while buying another house - although without releasing equity).

    I suspect an over eager jobsworth too based on my meeting with the surveyor to grant access to the dwelling, eSurv have bad ratings online from what I'm seeing now.

    In parallel the broker is pursuing other lenders too, but from what I can tell Clydesdale's criteria for BTL is a bit more relaxed than some of the others, so I may have to pay into the property or have to change plans outright if we can't go with clydesdale.

    I'm really surprised that the cladding was an issue as was the supposed construction method used! That would make most of the development unmortgagable and look bad on Berkeley homes - whom I've pursued to detail the construction details.

    this is the kind of crap I really dont want to deal with - as I've already spent money on the house I want to purchase (surveys, disbursements etc). This - in theory - should have been the simplest part of the process as I've remortgaged with clydesdale on another BTL in the past with no issues - on the same development. Anyhow i'll keep you posted. :(
  • Slip5Slip5 Forumite
    12 Posts
    So... the freeholder's technical manager has provided me with the following info to pass onto the lender for their consideration... let's see if this helps my cause... I've asked the broker to pass it onto the Analyst and BDM on the Lender's end...
    The block is traditional build (pre-cast concrete planks supported by blockwork walls with external brickwork/blockwork cavity construction) and fully compliant with Building Regulations 2006 and NHBC Standards.

    I would regard this as standard construction.

    The timber rain screen (Thermowood) is both BBA certified and compliant with both Building Regulations 2006 and NHBC Standards.

    As the building is under 18m it is not required to adhere to standards relating to limited combustibility.
  • SenseicadsSenseicads Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper
    Slip5 wrote: »
    As the building is under 18m it is not required to adhere to standards relating to limited combustibility. QUOTE]

    This bit would worry me a little bit. not going to lie.
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
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    Senseicads wrote: »
    Slip5 wrote: »
    As the building is under 18m it is not required to adhere to standards relating to limited combustibility.

    This bit would worry me a little bit. not going to lie.
    The Grenfell problems were related to the floors much, MUCH higher than that four-storey building. I can't see how deep that pond is, but in the massively unlikely event you were trapped on the third floor, there's a balcony right over it... Yes, I would...
  • Hi SLIP5,

    Had a similar issue today. We are selling our flat which looks very similar (Built 2013) to yours and a surveyor came round for both the mortgage company and buyer earlier today.

    Everything went fine until he started looking at the cladding and asking lots of questions. He left me his contact details and said something needs to be signed off to prove this is safe and the mortgage company might not lend if this can't be proved and left it like that.

    We totally didn't see this coming and is very worrying.

    I rang the Managing agent and didn't get much out of them other than its under 18m and its not ACM cladding (which was in Grenfell) but High Pressure Laminate Cladding and that most of the building is Brickwork, although looking round looks about 50%.They said there are annual risk assessment by the FRA fire brigade. I asked them to email me but they said they will tell the surveyor all the details and will be part of the sales pack.
    I actually feel a bit fobbed off by this and will be calling them back tomorrow.

    Have you had any more updates today?
  • Slip5Slip5 Forumite
    12 Posts
    Hi Logan
    I know the feeling of having something like this out of the blue happen... Firstly what development are you in and which lender/surveyor was it? DM me if you prefer.

    In my case I know quite well someone in St Edwards/ Berkeley who was able to get the info I quoted that I could pass on. My broker tells me that she has passed on the info and is still yet to hear back, as soon as I do I'll post back to the forum.

    In parallel she is looking at other lenders, BM Solutions and a couple of others have said they have no issue with the build/construction already... Esp since the property is currently mortgaged with Halifax right now - same group as BM.

    My concern personally is that if I have to change lender their criteria might require me to pay more into the place... While also buying a property this really stretches me.

    This whole thing is annoying though and will update you as soon as I hear back. Fingers crossed someone at Clydesdale has a brain and sees sense here.
  • edited 3 October 2017 at 7:33PM
    Roverboy1965Roverboy1965 Forumite
    3 Posts
    edited 3 October 2017 at 7:33PM
    Couple of years ago the HA in the town where I live refurbished their blocks of flats and used timber cladding on them and they looked really nice and modern.

    Safety fears aside, two years on and the cladding is fading and discolouring and starting to look shabby and uncared for and spoiling the buildings looks terribly.
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