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Brian Potter

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  1. I attended a Grammar school which subsequently changed to a comprehensive as I entred the 4th year. The drop in standards over a year was shocking. Coming from a working class background a Grammar school represented an opportunity to get a quality of education something akin to the public school. In the name of equality we now have mass mediocrity with the public school charging £3k per term. So we have created an even more impenetreble elite by taking away the chances for the working class. Ann Widdecombe famously debated the Grammar school abolition - she said that when they can demonstate the alterative is excellence for all she would agree with their abolition - until then it is better to offer opportunity to some regardless of income than none at all. The supreme irony in scrapping Gramar schools is that the Labour party did it in the name of the working class. Still their kids still go to selective schools - ask Tony Blair or Diane Abbot.
  2. Modular build is meant to be fast. The production is primarily off-site. Many on here moan about the generic rabbit hutch designs of developers - thats precisely what this approach facilitates.
  3. Strikes me that common sense is finally breaking out. Employees of JCB, Honda and many private sector firms have had this approach over recent years to try and preserve jobs. I myself have seen this in many construction industry firms - my area. It's a pragmatic approach.
  4. This is one of the oldest ones in the builders/developers book. Not sure on the fine nowadays (it's more than it used to be) but on a lot of new builds the digger bucket accidentally demolished a tree. Complete accident and a minimal fine. Nothing we could do mr LA official. Sorry. Cushty - just added £15k to the price.
  5. Yep. This is becoming more common. A site near me had this future 'clawback' clause inserted on some greenbelt farmland. Farmland at the time was around £4k per acre (I believe) developed value many fold increase. The clawback was at least 30%. Its ******** if you ask me. Its like selling a car and maintaining a legal hold on it in case it becomes a classic in the future.
  6. This is true of the public sector until they hit the top of their pay scale - it does mean that the bill pretty much constantly rises (at least in the medium term). However, the bit about private sector certainly does not tally to my industry - construction. Firms generally have had pay freezes since 2008 and some pay cuts. Terms and conditions are significantly worse in many cases. I would say my wife (a civil engineer) and myself have had a real terms 30-40% pay cut since 2008. My wife had a 20% cut overnight. Take it or leave it.
  7. I have seen this through my family first hand. Various members of my extended family work for LA. The 'cuts' have largely been handled by making 'vacant' posts redundant and early retirement. Incremental rises and benefits for service continue to increase. My missis works as for a consultant Engineer in a LA framework. Whilst the private sector side is actively getting their head down and going the extra mile to stay in work - the LA employees (who do the same job as my missis, only much worse) are actively doing less. It's jaw dropping the difference in culture. They actually re-lable the design work she does with the names of LA emplees to cover their arses. I'm not saying this is all Public sector, but it certainly exists. By the way I work as a consulting Engineer and so does my wife. I have not had a pay rate rise since 2007 and the wife has had no rises plus a 20% cut. We accept this as a result of market forces, but when the LA makes efficiency cuts it will be the missis that goes leaving the chaff she was supporting behind. Net result - a false saving.
  8. My 'low paid' PC brother is on £37k before over time. No qualifications, No special skills. Thats after 15 years at the lowest level in GMP. Do you think that is low pay?
  9. My brother is a copper - he also feels cheated. Unfortunately, your £3.5k of contributions p.a. does not even begin to pay for the pension you will receive. The rest is made up by the increasingly burdened taxpayer. In the private sector we have had to shrug and get on with it. We can't afford these pensions anymore - it's FACT.
  10. Having worked for developers - generally the profit is between 20-30% depending on the method of finance. As a ball park - the cash rich developer with no borrowing costs - circa 30%. If its financed via a bank then the interest on the amount spent on the build starts as soon as a shovel breaks the earth (or before if the land is leveraged). This finance is directly taken off the gross profit margin. Hence the 20%. The problem that has happened since 2008, especially in flat builds, is that the properties are completed and the finance interest clock is ticking. The developer cannot withdraw a penny until the bank is completely paid off - but he cannot sell for the original price. This leads to a situation where the interest becomes crippling to the developer and eventually he will run out of margin to clear the debt. At this point the bank takes owership. Sometimes the bank may pull the plug long before build completion to cut its loses. If you go around certain areas of Manchester (Hulme, Ancoats) you can see partially completed buildings , which have little chance of being refinanced unless the bank wants to off-load at a reduced loss. House builds are broadly similar. There is only so far the developer can cut before they are effecively selling at a loss. Most major housebuilders/developers have massively over-paid for land pre 2008 and so are totally bolloxed. Hence the still silly high asking prices. My guess is that lots of new builds will be left on the shelf as the rest of the market finds its correct level. They are between a rock and a hard place.
  11. Is this the same Moody's that gave AAA+ ratings to American mortgage backed CDO's for sale on global markets? Ooer!
  12. I felt totally exposed and inexperienced for at least 7 years after graduation. Even when I set up on my own I still had doubts. 20 years in and I still see new things. The trick is when your experienced you own up if you dont know something. When your green you stay quiet. Fact that is.
  13. No the idiots are those who think graduates can carry out roles in an industry where experience is more important. Read the post properly.
  14. My two penn'oth: I have seen 2 recessions in this industry. In the early 90's I was a redundancy casulty. Went back and got a degree and the struggled in the mid 90's to get a job. Got there eventually and learnt my particular onions. Went as a freelance consultant in 2001 and rode the boom. Quiet now but I know I will be in demand again shortly - I am good at what I do and there is virtually no-one following who is younger. The industry has huge amounts of professionals (yes IT guys you do have professionals outside your industry) who are now retiring and there will be a cronic shortage of good staff in the future. I would say to anyone in construction management or design to hang in there. They will always need roads, buildings and infrastructure. And in simple terms there will be no one to do it in the very near future. You cannot put 20 years experience into a construction graduate. Its simply impossible.
  15. Dont ever assume a new build is hassle free. We had more aggro with a brand new house than with our previous 50 year old semi. Burst pipe fittings poor finishing doors that wont shut poor brickwork blocked drains (paint poured in toilet before handover) etc I could go on but I'm off out. By the way the builder we had was Fairclough - now Miller homes. Total tossers to deal with. I had never written a letter of complaint until I dealt with these clowns . NEVER AGAIN.
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