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Why Are New Build Houses So Rubbish?

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Wow, many "rabbit hutch" type houses built in the mid 1980s to mid 1990s that were somewhat inferior to houses built around the 1930s to 1950s are still much better than the horrible houses described here (in Hanham, by the Common, the brand new houses on the outside look alright but their gardens are tiny). I'd rather might as well live in a competent "slavebox" apartment. The really decent houses rendered new on my street have been converted from old housing stock.

Edited by Big Orange

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Wow, many "rabbit hutch" type houses built in the mid 1980s to mid 1990s that were somewhat inferior to houses built around the 1930s to 1950s are still much better than the horrible houses described here (in Hanham, by the Common, the brand new houses on the outside look alright but their gardens are tiny). I'd rather might as well live in a competent "slavebox" apartment. The really decent houses rendered new on my street have been converted from old housing stick,

Indeed, in my area you can go from street to street to compare 'old' (=huge gardens, big rooms), 1980s (3ft alleyways between detached houses,. moderate to small gardens), 1990s (3 inch gaps between detached houses, small rooms, smaller gardens), and 2000s (Casmir force a problem between detached houses, bedrooms too small for beds, gardens virtually nonexistant)

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Sounds like we are rapidly approaching the situation of house-shaped-objects being for sale. They look like a house but are functionally useless. cf bike shaped objects (the 50 quid bikes you see in Tesco) or the umbrella shaped objects (Poundland's offerings).

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Up until this year there was a MINIMUM density of 30 dwellings per hectare. This means there should be 12 dwellings on the plot of my house which admittedly has a monstrously large garden (1 acre total space).

Short answer is Labour's socialist policy of making everyone equal meant that houses of old with their plots simply weren't permitted as they had too much space in their eyes.

It's not just about density, though, is it? The Victorians and Georgians built houses at far higher densities than current new builds - but managed them with large rooms, high ceilings, etc.

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/02/28/34/2283471_6659f585.jpg

The garden cities and suburbs were built at about 30 dwellings per hecaare - this road is about this density, believe it or not:

http://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/01/30/49/1304914_23eca9b8.jpg

The Dutch have got the right idea about recreating this sort of thing...

http://www.ademgezond.nl/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/vathorst_118223h.jpg

(not everyone's cup of tea, but can you imagine a British housebuilder doing this?)

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Go to France - you see biulding plots advertised - you contact the builder/architect and selecct from a numbmer of plans and plot you want.

A thousand times this. At some point we'll be looking to get a larger place, spending in the region of £250-300k. In much of Europe, Australia, Canada and the US what you can have built for that money makes what you can get in the UK look like a joke.

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You can get decent new builds, but just like decent bikes, decent umbrellas, decent steak etc. you don't go to the place that has loads of them stacked high and ready to shift.

You need to look for smaller housebuilders who build in infill plots, and only build small numbers. Of course they can cost more than the rabbit hutches, but depends if you are buying a hutch due to budget or availability.

People can also move to different areas. We moved out of London due to cost 10 years ago. It was going to cost us £250k on top of our then-current house for an extra bedroom and bathroom to stay in the same area. Sod that!

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You need to look for smaller housebuilders who build in infill plots, and only build small numbers. Of course they can cost more than the rabbit hutches, but depends if you are buying a hutch due to budget or availability.

Any examples/names please? (Genuine question)

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A thousand times this. At some point we'll be looking to get a larger place, spending in the region of £250-300k. In much of Europe, Australia, Canada and the US what you can have built for that money makes what you can get in the UK look like a joke.

It's also worth mentioning that most of the new build stuff in Japan is also like this. You buy the land, then choose what you want built on it from a building company. They have a bunch of options and you choose what you like. It's a good counter-argument to the "but the UK doesn't have enough land!" argument because Japan has about the same land mass as the UK and roughly twice the population, but only around 20% of the land is actually usable for building (you don't build a house on a steep hill in a place prone to major earthquakes).

The drawback to this is every house is different, which can lead to some major style clashes between houses. Say what you like about the British system, but at least you can somewhat control how much one house fits in with its surrounding buildings.

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The drawback to this is every house is different, which can lead to some major style clashes between houses. Say what you like about the British system, but at least you can somewhat control how much one house fits in with its surrounding buildings.

In theory. Unfortunately most new build estates of the last 10 years look like someone tossed the houses on the site like lego bricks and then attached them where they fell.

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I think much of the problem is due to Government building regs.

Had an hour to kill waiting for a car to be repaired and wandered off with a friend to go and look at the show homes at a new site across the road (Shaftesbury, Dorset). Couldn't believe the size and crap layout of them - went into one which we assumed from the size of downstairs was a 2 bed starter home, but no, they'd squeezed 4 bedrooms upstairs - 1 "master bedroom" with an ensuite that you'd have to climb over the bed to get to, a "family bathroom" with no window, 2 smallish single beds, and a small room big enough for a cot but not a bed. Downstairs the "living room" was almost narrow enough for me to touch both walls at the same time, the "kitchen/diner" could only realistically fit 2 people in to eat at any time, and half of the downstairs was taken up with a massive hallway and the (now legally required?) wheelchair accessible wc. All this with a 20' x 15' garden backing on to a brick wall at the back of the communal garage block. No storage anywhere (the airing cupboard was full to the brim of solar cylinder and control units - not even space to hang a few items up in there).

WTF are people who buy these monstrosities thinking?

It is not as if they are short of land space in that part of the country....squeeze them in' pile them high.

....what are the people who build them thinking....I bet they themselves would not live in some of them. Not all new builds are bad, but avoid like the plague the bad ones, the clues are there, but some people are so glad to have a place 'they can call their own' they are blinded by the reality of what they are truly buying....it could cost them dearly. ;)

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Any examples/names please? (Genuine question)

I guess there will be many around local areas who haven't gone national, and concentrate on building under 20 a year.

My direct experience is with a company called Malamar Homes.

We bought off plan in 2002 or so, and despite the initial snagging and issues (crap garden drainage which we had to fix a few years after moving in, some bad finishing etc.), but overall, the house is fantastic. But then they went for thick plaster board, 9 foot ceilings, usable sized rooms (ie. square shaped rooms, not dining rooms like tunnels) and decent gardens. Of course that was partially because they got planning permission before Labour changed the rules.

This is one of theirs that sold (STC) last week: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-32092627.html

This one is for sale now: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-37494758.html

First was built around 2000 I guess, the second probably around 2004 or maybe later. They are about to start a new phase on that second site as well I think.

They have gone very quiet whilst the housing market has been dead, but there must be loads of these companies around the place, just not on the big estate sites.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of new build going up around here that match the general description (we've been to look at most of them), and nothing comes close. BUT that's from all the big names. The smaller ones are the guys building the good stuff.

Yes, to get decent new build houses, you have to pay more than crappy new build houses.

You might also need to move out of the SE of the country, but the space, quality of life etc. more than make up for it.

If I wanted to commute to London (not that I would, I would stay over during the week), I could get a season ticket for £990 a month. It costs £200+ from SW London anyway! An equivalent for me (from Telford) would be to Birmingham (£149 per month).

Areas like this feel like they are growing at the moment, not contracting. Yeah, you get the hordes of benefit families complaining about benefit cuts and downgrading their fags and booze to yet another budget label, but the area as a whole feels like good things are happening. We've even got great schools, that we can actually get our kids into without battling against the LEA.

Note: I do not own any BTL properties, and I'm not looking to sell my house. Just generally feel that things are good up here.

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If I wanted to commute to London (not that I would, I would stay over during the week), I could get a season ticket for £990 a month. It costs £200+ from SW London anyway! An equivalent for me (from Telford) would be to Birmingham (£149 per month).

2 hrs 30 minutes with one change. I could commute from Hull in that time! Too right you'd not commute from London - it's bloody miles away.

Edited by bmf

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Also the idiocy of the British home-buying public, in valuing homes by the number of ‘bedrooms’ that they have, plays a large part. If, like the rest of the world, we could start valuing homes by their floor area – even better, actually advertise and price new homes per square metre (or foot if you want to be old-fashioned) – then the incentive on housebuilders to cram as many tiny rooms in as possible would be largely eliminated.

Looking in London I noticed most flats are advertised in Sq M. Clearly the Chinese are not fooled by an extra bedroom.

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Agreed, they are cheap modern day slums.

If you can't have a good old fashioned log fire it sucks even more...

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It's because the land is so expensive to buy. To be able to sell the houses and still break even they have to squash as many on as possible and build them out of ticky-tacky. The average new-build cost per unit is ~£24,500. The rest of the cost is land. And the builders are still struggling to sell at a profit.

The average cost of building a house is £24,500???

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Just to throw in another one; it's not just new houses that are apparently inferior, it's the whole design of new estates, which I often feel are pervasively unsettling. Often no proper provision for parking - do they really actually plan for people to park on the street by design, seriously? Also lack of uniformity, and lack of character. Then the price tag just seals the No Deal.

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The drawback to this is every house is different, which can lead to some major style clashes between houses. Say what you like about the British system, but at least you can somewhat control how much one house fits in with its surrounding buildings.

Some of the most remarkable and interesting places in architectural terms are composed of buildings built by many different people at different times and in different styles with different materials for different purposes and without any central 'planning'.

Good stuff tends to stick around and crap buildings tend to get torn down and replaced - so long as it's cheap to do so, which it isn't in the UK right now.

Edited by Diver Dan

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9a364ec376c30857ddcc2ab239b15a1062ae62d3_645_430.jpg

there are whole estates with large numbers of these on them ..in south wales..I have actually seen a house a bit narrower than this ...this is a bit more upmarket as it has a garage.... you could drive a smart car into it ...but you will not be able to open the doors

http://www.zoopla.co...92b8d8b62374483

I could be wrong ....but I think that minimum house size regs were relaxed in 1985

Also new estates have to have 25% availability for valley commandos and their pups ...... and the worst of it is .....the social housing is built last ...so it looks like green field when they sell the 4 and 5 bedroomed house near the front of the estates ...after the prime site plots have been sold off ...they then allow the commandos in , often daily having to go past the more expensive ones to get in and out of the estate for their B&M shoplifting expeditions and giros ......the estates tend to get ring fenced to prevent rat runs ......there is no escape .....

The houses are a 1 brick skin over a wood frame and thin plasterboard on the inside ......... you can hear normal conversations outside even with the windows closed

depressing

,

Edited by Tankus

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is it just me or are the roads getting smaller as well? the estate where I live has a mixture of flats and houses, again quite small garages and only 1 space each for the flats meaning everyone's 2nd and 3rd cars are on the road, I can't imagine what would happen if a fire engine needed to get to the flats..

Yes. That's absolutely been the case.

The nuLabour restriction of 12 houses minimum per acre, included the area taken up by any new roads/driveways/pavements/etc. The result was that developers would make every effort to minimize the amount of area dedicated to roadways. For the developers off-road parking in the form of driveways , or even garages, was very low profit - it would be far more profitable to build more houses. The result was that developers would build the minimum number of garages/driveways that they could reasonably get away with.

Additionally, many councils started to show their "green colours" and started promoting "car-free" communities, with some restricting developers to a maximum of 0.75 parking spaces per household (or even less). So even if developers originally submitted plans for blocks of flats with underground parking for 1 car per flat, a number of councils were notorious for forcing the developers to remove parking spaces.

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Its the road and parking space i find most un-liveable with. I live on a late 80s early 90s development, so it isnt great - roads windy and small, small garages too. But at least most the detached houses have a double garage so can manage to get one car in the garage (the single ones arent really fit for purpose) and the front gardens, though small, usually have enough room for a car along with the driveway

Brand new houses - not so. Houses are built right up to the pavement - even the detached ones' - front gardens seem to be outlawed, so theres no option for parking there. They NEVER have double garages anymore and the single ones are smaller than most cars. They might have one space, any other cars have to go on street. But when the house opposite has the same arrangment, a 4.8 wide street with 2x2m wide cars parked either side obviously isnt navigable.

Most are difficult enough to manovere around when theyre empty of parked vehicles with 90deg corners and no clear line of sight due to a lack of front gardens, when Kevin in his corsa is about to come racing round the corner.

When there are parked cars either side of the road - both up on the pavement stopping pedestrians simply to allow for a narrow thoroughfare in the middle of the road, you sometimes have to reverse all the way out - a few hundred yards! God knows how the bin men get down there - i guess the developers and planners never consider such exceptional occurances :blink:

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Average floor area of new homes built 2003-6 in m2

The illustration says it all really.

The Cabe survey questioned residents of homes built between 2003 and 2006, in London or within an hour's travel time of the capital.

_46216562_houses_466_4.gif

Link

However, the average household size in some of these nations is slightly higher- perhaps they can afford to have more kids with bigger, cheaper housing.

Edited by happy_renting

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Councils have minimum density requirements these requirements lead to housing to meet these density requirements.

This coupled with affordable housing having to be pepperpotted with open market housing leads to low cost low level housing.

It is very difficult to build large houses as the density will be lower than the councils policy. It is then also difficult to build decent sized houses on decent plots as those who want to buy these houses do not want to live next door to affordable housing.

This has lead to the cut paste developments we see in every town and city where the small 2.5 bed house with an 8m garden is most common.

This is the safe option for developers as it ticks the council policy box and delivers affordable so politicians can then pat themselves on the back.

If a developer seeks high quality detached houses in most areas the need for a large % to be affordable kicks it in the nuts.

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Councils have minimum density requirements these requirements lead to housing to meet these density requirements.

This coupled with affordable housing having to be pepperpotted with open market housing leads to low cost low level housing.

It is very difficult to build large houses as the density will be lower than the councils policy. It is then also difficult to build decent sized houses on decent plots as those who want to buy these houses do not want to live next door to affordable housing.

This has lead to the cut paste developments we see in every town and city where the small 2.5 bed house with an 8m garden is most common.

This is the safe option for developers as it ticks the council policy box and delivers affordable so politicians can then pat themselves on the back.

If a developer seeks high quality detached houses in most areas the need for a large % to be affordable kicks it in the nuts.

doesnt tick my box, so im not having one.

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