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Why Are New Build Houses So Rubbish?

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On 27 April 2012 at 7:10 PM, southeast said:

In my area of the southeast I would say house builders fall into three categories and only one of them truley delivers a good quality home that I would want to live in.

The three categories I would say exist are: (1. really good low volume, 2. Upper end of the mainstream 3. mainstream volume rubbish)

1. Small local builders that build a handfull of houses between them each year, i.e. using proper materials, wooden windows, hand made roof tiles, good qaulity brick work or reclaimed bricks, or perhaps oakframed houses. There are about 5 or 6 local to me that I can think of, probably a few more kicking about. One of which we bought a house from and it was of very good quality.

2. The likes of Bewley and Berkley (sorry spelling) who are a little better than the mainstream builders and provide a better product, but at a price. I have seen quite a lot of their houses round here sell at quite a discount when the first owner sells up. i.e they were paying a premium for the quality.

3. The big household names. We looked at a house recently by one of the big names, and although the birck work etc look ok the windows appeared to be the cheapest plastic going and the internal fittings such as doors were the most rubbish carboard type things you have seen and for a mere 700k bargin!

So there are nice good quaity new homes, but they are few and far between, and if you want a big plot there is going to be a serious premium to pay. Finding your own plot is one way to go, but not one we have managed yet, and we have tried very hard to find something decent/affordable...

So in answer to the question search for local builders on the web....

Good examples and point well made.

New builds for me are like buying a new car. Shiny, new and something to quite rightly show off a little about (and I do not judge that...we all make choices). 

But like a new car they depreciate (if you ignore the madness of HPI). Under the 2 catagory they weren't paying a premium they are overpaying. 

Still baffles me people buy these houses. I would get it if they were cheaper than a Victorian Semi....and in fairness in our town they are similar price.....but the two are a million miles apart in terms of what you are buying. 

The victorian semi is oversized, not insulated, built on mud with slugs under the floor, wonkey stairs and just feels old. The new build has french doors, open plan, shiny worktops and 4 beds (one with ensure). 

But make no mistake....like a new car its all marketing and glossy brochures and after 3 years the new build just doesn't cut it anymore. 

But that Victorian Semi from the curb, from the drawing room or dining room is a whole different league. 

I made my money refurb'ing and selling houses that are 10 years old. Horrid builds and terribly out of date....but with the latest fireplace fashion, some elephants breath farrow and ball, egg shell wood work, new light fittings and some travertine hey presto £30k value added. Very HUTH and I still unsure why the ones I did were not bought by others and why then those who refused to buy them with blue bathrooms and old carpets could suddenly find £40k more after I spend £10k??

New builds are easy that's why they command a price. Don't pay it. 

As for the price of land....well like the price of houses, whose error is that. Builders should not have overpaid....their fault their loss. Passing it into mug punters with free carpets and a brochure....bad mistake, don't buy them. 

The really annoying thing for me, and why I don't like new builds is because when I do see a good premium one there are still nasty little faults. They are just not right, like a badly fitted pair of jeans. 

No eves over hang. Sash Windows but not inset 6 inches rather standing proud to the external wall. Little things that require an artists eye....but just lost. 

I am sure there are better examples of new builds and some hope out there. But other than the odd private build (not built for sale) I haven't seen it.

i would never buy one unless it was half the price of an older house. I guess if that was the consensus then build quality would improve but all builders would be bankrupt and only 12 houses would be built a year. 

They build them badly because they can sell them.

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People buy them because IMO they are often seduced by shiny show homes with the latest F&B colours/kitchen worktop etc., not to mention the 'dressing' of cushions on beds, etc.  which effectively blind them to the fact that there's nowhere to put anything.  

Many people aren't prepared to do any decorating or other DIY, and 'we couldn't possibly live with' swirly old carpets/wallpaper/ a green/pink bathroom/a 20 year old kitchen.  

When a daughter was looking to buy a flat in SW London in about 2011, there were shiny new one bed flats of about 45 sq m available for more than the price of several nearly 70 sq m 2 bed maisonettes not far away, in nicer roads, which also came with their own small gardens and no service charges.  But all the newbuild flats sold quite quickly.  I can only think it was the shiny new factor, or perhaps more likely that they were 'snapped up' by BTlers assumimg they'd rent out quickly.  

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New builds are rubbish because building regulators set minimum standards and much like the national minimum wage that becomes the norm. Smaller bespoke building companies are often passed down the generations and the skills are transfered (father to son), there's a family firm in my village and the owner is a shit builder but then so was his father. 

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13 minutes ago, longtomsilver said:

New builds are rubbish because building regulators set minimum standards and much like the national minimum wage that becomes the norm. Smaller bespoke building companies are often passed down the generations and the skills are transfered (father to son), there's a family firm in my village and the owner is a shit builder but then so was his father. 

We have a winner. 😆😆

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They are rubbish because there is no proper consumer protection in place.  You have to ask why respective Governments won't do something about this. 

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There is a lot of newbuild bashing on here and some of it deserved. But make no mistake general everyday persons homes have been poorly for centuries! Only when you have money can you purchase away from the mass produced. This is no different than any other products. So when people try and say they're mass produced Victorian terraced, or lovely cottage etc etc is better, it in reality isn't in build quality and have there own problems. I will agree space wise in older properties there is generally more internally and externally, but again people just haven't got the time or are interested  or can't manage big gardens, the amount of overgrown wildernesses you see on older properties is quite staggering. Internally there is a limit, again you want enough, but not to much as it costs to heat etc. Plus when you have space you just collect crap which you don't really need. It's always interesting to look back and not even that far back when families would live in two up two down Victorian terraces with the likes of 6 kids! Personally you can see this slip back to this way of life. 

In relation to materials, again the mass produced home have always used whatever is cheap at the time, victorians I think in certain areas used old clinker in early concrete homes they used to throw up for workers. Previous comments about doors and mdf etc being crap is kind of true, but you have to eat that up that it's made from a recycled product, which is suppose to be a good thing! Same with a lot of other materials in the build, lightweight blocks are from power station ash, floor joist can be chipboard or hardboard, concrete blocks have recycled content in them, floor boards are chipboard, plasterboard has a high amount of recycled plaster in it, insulation etc etc, all these are what apparently we want because it's good for the environment 

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I've lived in a few countries and would call-out the UAE and Spain for awful new builds. It's easy to have a poke about what the government should be doing but in fact a lot has been done to raise standards. A friend of mine was thrown across a room in his Spanish villa last week due to poor wiring and the failure of the circuit breakers.

What's sad about housing is that if you gave 100 average people an hour with an architect to work out and draw a home that would be the ideal living space for them, precisely none would draw the house the live in, or houses they will in the future live in. And they enter 30 years of debt to buy something that really doesn't suit them.

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12 hours ago, hamish1985 said:

There is a lot of newbuild bashing on here and some of it deserved. But make no mistake general everyday persons homes have been poorly for centuries! Only when you have money can you purchase away from the mass produced. This is no different than any other products. So when people try and say they're mass produced Victorian terraced, or lovely cottage etc etc is better, it in reality isn't in build quality and have there own problems. I will agree space wise in older properties there is generally more internally and externally, but again people just haven't got the time or are interested  or can't manage big gardens, the amount of overgrown wildernesses you see on older properties is quite staggering. Internally there is a limit, again you want enough, but not to much as it costs to heat etc. Plus when you have space you just collect crap which you don't really need. It's always interesting to look back and not even that far back when families would live in two up two down Victorian terraces with the likes of 6 kids! Personally you can see this slip back to this way of life. 

In relation to materials, again the mass produced home have always used whatever is cheap at the time, victorians I think in certain areas used old clinker in early concrete homes they used to throw up for workers. Previous comments about doors and mdf etc being crap is kind of true, but you have to eat that up that it's made from a recycled product, which is suppose to be a good thing! Same with a lot of other materials in the build, lightweight blocks are from power station ash, floor joist can be chipboard or hardboard, concrete blocks have recycled content in them, floor boards are chipboard, plasterboard has a high amount of recycled plaster in it, insulation etc etc, all these are what apparently we want because it's good for the environment 

I live in an area where properties built for the workers are over 200+ years old, are robust and still standing.  Having been passed down, one of those properties is still occupied by a family member.  They have been modernised internally and I have no doubt. will still be standing in another 200 years!  By way of contrast, I am in a new build in which I have no confidence that it will still be standing in 50 - 80 years time.

It is not just the quality of the materials that have to be considered, it is also the quality of the build.  With regard to the build, some make a distinction between the big and small builders, ie big is bad and small is good.  It is not so clear cut as that.  I have lived in new builds constructed by both and the construction can be equally as bad or good.

Having had bad experiences in both I would reiterate, they are rubbish because there is no proper consumer protection in place.  It is not perfect, but I can usually deal with poor quality in most consumer items because of consumer protection laws, I found this not to be the case in respect of property.  I also believe that a significant percentage of the trades do not have the same skills or pride and respect for the product that they had in the past.

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What’s the point of building a million new homes if they’re not fit to live in?

The dream of a property-owning democracy is ridden with cracks and leaks: ministers say build, build, build – but then fail to ensure proper regulation. Yet for all the outward gleam, something is wrong. Bovis is set to award people who live in some of its newbuild homes a total of £7m in compensation, in response to claims that houses have faulty plumbing or wiring, missing insulation, and other serious defects. Some people say they were offered money to move into homes that have not been completed. When the news broke, the Bovis share price fell by 10%, wiping £100m off its stock market value. This is just one part of a bigger story of complaints about Britain’s construction giants – and what happens when the rush to build leads to corners being cut and houses left either unfinished or deeply defective.

Meanwhile, the pressure is on to build as many new homes as possible. Even if it is behind on its targets. Behind these increases sat policies such as the new homes bonus (which gives councils cash rewards for granting planning permission for newbuild developments) and the fact that interest-free loans are still available for newbuild homes.

Housebuilders have targets to achieve … the quality is reduced as they rush … Builders substitute products specified by the architect with cheaper products … Housebuilders’ own quality control systems are not fit for purpose. There are also issues surrounding how the building trade is monitored. Industry standards are set by the National House Building Council, which is also in charge of most of the 10-year warranties that cover new homes.

The NHBC also pays out millions to housebuilding companies every year via a de facto profit-share arrangement which rewards the firms who put up the most new homes.

Some of what needs to be done is obvious. Britain has a huge construction skills gap that needs to be filled as soon as possible, not least because of the possible consequences of Brexit. The operation of building regulations and warranties needs to be much more stringent and transparent. Guardian

 

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Because of the huge sums involved, the mass construction trade needs everything done yesterday as cheaply as they can get away with.

 

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Re: garage sizes. I can just about get my 13 year old Nissan Almera into the garage under my rented 2006 built coach house style flat. A longer car will just fit if i shift some boxes on the far wall. I feel quite smug when my neighbours with their newer premium badged lardarse cars have to park on the driveways. B) No defrosting the windscreen on a winter's morning either! :P

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I can't remember the statistic now but I read something like 50 percent of homes built since 1800 no longer exist. Not sure if that's true or not but it would suggest that many homes built in times gone by were of poor quality. 

Edited by spunko2010

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10 hours ago, spunko2010 said:

I can't remember the statistic now but I read something like 50 percent of homes built since 1800 no longer exist. Not sure if that's true or not but it would suggest that many homes built in times gone by were of poor quality. 

Sounds probable.

Shame we haven't learnt anything in two centuries.

 

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12 minutes ago, Shrink Proof said:

No idea why anyone would buy from this company or others with bad feedback. They should be bankrupt due to lack of sales in a month....but hey ho, I guess some bullish reports about property and a nice shiny show home and the punters will roll in paying £350k for badly built boxes. 

These should be an FTB dream....I would want to pick something @£350k for about £70k. 

Stop buying.....stop buying now. 

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On 26/04/2012 at 11:50 PM, jammo said:

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.

I agree. I had a look at a five bedroom house quite a few years ago on a big new estate. In fairness the house itself was quite nice with ground, first, and second floor accommodation. However, when you stepped outside into the garden there was the side of a similar proportioned house just 20 feet away. To be honest the garden felt like a corridor.

Why do all new estates have to have twisty roads and cul-de-sacs where houses are all at funny angles to each other. Why can't we just have a straight road with houses alongside each other with the garden backing onto the garden of the property in the next road that runs parallel. That creates a much large green area that everyone benefits from.

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On 27/04/2012 at 8:20 AM, Soton said:

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.

I live in rural Essex and the housing density is very low with just a couple of towns and mostly villages within my district. The District Council are close to implementing their new Local Development Plan 2014-2029 which identifies a population increase of nearly 25% by the end of this period, and subsequently a massive need for more housing. However, it is nearly impossible to get planning permission anywhere outside the two towns as that would not be seen as being 'sustainable'. You might get lucky if you are near a railway station or bus route but those are quite rare in the countryside.

They have agreed to some new estates outside the existing town boundary but because of their refusal to give planning permission outside of the towns it means all of these new estates are absolutely crammed pack and not somewhere that I would want to live. Apparently, my house is not sustainable as the nearest bus stop is nearly a mile away and their definition of sustainable is that you should have access to all services without the need for a car.

Everybody that is able to drive does drive, even those in the towns within walking distance of local services. For those people unable to drive then simply don't choose to live somewhere where there are no public transport alternatives.

 

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14 minutes ago, Bulltulip said:

Why do all new estates have to have twisty roads and cul-de-sacs where houses are all at funny angles to each other. Why can't we just have a straight road with houses alongside each other with the garden backing onto the garden of the property in the next road that runs parallel. That creates a much large green area that everyone benefits from.

The cul-de-sacs are used for a traffic flow perspective. It keeps through traffic out of the smallest roads, and means that T-junctions are the only junctions within the estate. T-junctions have the best traffic flow and don't need traffic lights, because of their simplicity. Using a grid arrangement needs crossroads which are much more dangerous, or need traffic lights therefore are more prone to congestion, or need roundabouts and therefore more road space.

The reason for odd angles is to avoid the problem of non-overlooked areas. Grid pattern cul-de-sacs known as "Radburn" designs, common in places like Milton Keynes and Skelmersale, had alleys and garages behind the rows of houses, where they were not overlooked - the result was high levels of fly tipping and other antisocial behaviour in these out-of-sight areas.

In practice, the odd-angles are often carelessly implemented, or constrained due to an odd-shape of plot, and looking at some new build estates, it's not that uncommon to find hidden areas 

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1 hour ago, Bulltulip said:

I agree. I had a look at a five bedroom house quite a few years ago on a big new estate. In fairness the house itself was quite nice with ground, first, and second floor accommodation. However, when you stepped outside into the garden there was the side of a similar proportioned house just 20 feet away. To be honest the garden felt like a corridor.

Why do all new estates have to have twisty roads and cul-de-sacs where houses are all at funny angles to each other. Why can't we just have a straight road with houses alongside each other with the garden backing onto the garden of the property in the next road that runs parallel. That creates a much large green area that everyone benefits from.

Some of this is to do with trafic management and security as the previous poster said. However, a lot is to do with squeezing as many houses as possible onto the plot of land.

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On 03/19/2017 at 9:15 AM, spunko2010 said:

I can't remember the statistic now but I read something like 50 percent of homes built since 1800 no longer exist. Not sure if that's true or not but it would suggest that many homes built in times gone by were of poor quality. 

Still want could possible go wrong spending 500k on one...

Plenty of crappy slums built plus wwii saw a few get demolished.

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Why are so many new builds on estates that go nowhere....a road that actually leads somewhere in both directions, where two cars can pass down the road parallel to each other with a pavement for pedestrians on either side?;)

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On 02/04/2017 at 9:27 AM, Bulltulip said:

Why do all new estates have to have twisty roads and cul-de-sacs where houses are all at funny angles to each other. Why can't we just have a straight road with houses alongside each other with the garden backing onto the garden of the property in the next road that runs parallel. That creates a much large green area that everyone benefits from.

+ 1. The suburban area of housing built between1930s-1960s, mostly private homes near to where I grew up (Thorpe St. Andrew, Norwich) have predominently straight roads. It's a doddle to drive around that area. Compare that area to the 1980s - 1990s development of windy roads and roundabouts to the east (Dussindale) on Google maps and it looks superior. Spacious plots. It kind of resembles a typical suburban American neighbourhood (forward thinking) whereas the more modern development seems to recreate the streets of medieval Olde England (backward thinking).

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On 16/03/2017 at 4:22 PM, Alba said:

They are rubbish because there is no proper consumer protection in place.  You have to ask why respective Governments won't do something about this. 

Four decades of Neoliberal ideological myopia: privatisation, globalisation and deregulation. Though there never was any reason to expect it to work, the magnitude of its failure is truly extraordinary.

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