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anonguest

Modern Vs 'older' Build Quality

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Much is made here of the issue of the quality (or lack of!) of modern/new-build housing in this country.

I realise that quality and reputation varies from house builder to housebuilder......but the general line of thought is that over the last few decades the overall standard of housing for the masses (by which I mean that which caters for the median earners or less, and not 'luxury' or 'executive' developments) - has declined.

By 'standard' I mean primarily overall build quality, rather than declining space/size for your money and/or increasingly scummier land used to build on.

My question is....what is the consensus amongst forum readers here as to the 'rule of thumb' cut-off date they would apply for considering buying a property that is post-1945 built. When did standards really start to go down hill? Post-1970? Post-1975?........

Edited by anonguest

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I know someone who is a proper builder for a big firm, when buying for himself he won't look at anything built after the 1st world war. His advice is that standards have been more or less in a constant decline since then.

A good minimum age to buy is 20 years - if a house manages to stay standing that long without subsidence or the roof falling off, theres a good chance it will last another 7-10 years (the average that you are likely to stay in it)

To be fair I dont think this attitude is anything new, they were building crap houses in 1850 and 1740 and 1262 its just that the vast majority of those houses have long since been pulled down - we look at whats survived from prior eras and think they were all made that well.

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Oh the questions some of you ask!

Everything has a price, so who cares what you spend your money on.

But, your 'buddy' who wants strictly pre-1914 homes is talking sh1te, because everything outside of the bricks and/or stone foundations will have been upgraded multiple times over its years, unless it is a museum.

True that the only 'quality' home you will have is the one not within the UK territory, as councils will prevent you from having an ideal home, unless you've got a councilman in your pocket.

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Much is made here of the issue of the quality (or lack of!) of modern/new-build housing in this country.

I realise that quality and reputation varies from house builder to housebuilder......but the general line of thought is that over the last few decades the overall standard of housing for the masses (by which I mean that which caters for the median earners or less, and not 'luxury' or 'executive' developments) - has declined.

By 'standard' I mean primarily overall build quality, rather than declining space/size for your money and/or increasingly scummier land used to build on.

My question is....what is the consensus amongst forum readers here as to the 'rule of thumb' cut-off date they would apply for considering buying a property that is post-1945 built. When did standards really start to go down hill? Post-1970? Post-1975?........

Early 80s stuff I have lived in has been egregious. Early 70s has been better.

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1930s semis are good solid family homes, providing they have not been 'modernised' with ugly extensions/knock-thoughs and decor by Colin & Justin. That said, many 70s places are good value for money, they probably have the biggest rooms and windows of any era.

Every 90's onwards built house I have ever lived in feels like it flexes in the wind. They insulate well, but then so does newspaper over a tramp.

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I'm not so convinced that quality is really that less. New houses are certainly different with good points and bad points. e.g. the inside walls are undoubtedly thinner than older builds but the insulation is much better. A lot of it depends on what you consider important.

One thing that does concern me is the fact that most builders have moved from brick to timber. Now I'm no expert on building, but it seems to me that such houses are likely to have a shorter life span, despite all the builders who tell me this is not true.

Personlly I like the practicality and comfort of modern homes, though I'm glad others like to own and maintain older houses which are nice to look at.

Edit to add: One thing that confuses me is why it's so expensive to build modern homes - often the fitting are good, but the basic shell seems to me to be cheaper than bricks.

Edited by catmandu

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Having lived in over a dozen different houses, of all ages from 1900 up(and viewed hundreds more!), I would have to say anything 90's and older is questionable. And stuff from the last 10 years on toyland estates is particularly crummy, they may be sound but certainly don't look and feel like it! The 80's stuff is mixed, not as good as older but usually way better than 90's.

There is some decently built stuff around if your willing to look small development high cost.

I would also point out that many extensions to older properties are pretty ropey too! You need to look out for bad electrics and useless plumbing. The last place had a waste pipe for the shower in the en-suite travel under the floor for 8 feet with no slope, in a hard water area, got bunged up nicely with the scaling!

Talking of en-suites, here is another mark of a crap build: if its less than 4 beds with an en-suite, its rubbish!

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I don't think it's simply a question of age. I really wouldn't trust immediate post WWII stuff but a reasonable amount from the 70s and 80s seems OK. Anything that's survived a century already and doesn't seem to be on the verge of collapse is probably going to last. I wouldn't be keen on anything at all from the last couple of decades. They look a little better (if you can ignore the lack of size) but I don't trust them.

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I don't think it's simply a question of age. I really wouldn't trust immediate post WWII stuff but a reasonable amount from the 70s and 80s seems OK. Anything that's survived a century already and doesn't seem to be on the verge of collapse is probably going to last. I wouldn't be keen on anything at all from the last couple of decades. They look a little better (if you can ignore the lack of size) but I don't trust them.

Everything has to be taken on merit............have rented a 00's built house and it was the worst ever......have rented an 80s house built well and appart from it being cold was really solid and well built...............and have owned a 00's house that was a one off build and it was exceptionally well built.....there is a lot of sweeping generalistion.....but having said that big chain house builders are probably going to be bad, BUT a small one off, quality build, can give the best of both worlds. Quality/character and modern standards plus low energy bills

Just take everything on its merits!

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I asked a similar question a good while back and one of the builders on here (Brian Potter) said (IIRC) that stuff up to the 1970s was preferable to stuff built after that.

The estate I have in mind to live on was all built in the late 80s though. :(

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I'm not so convinced that quality is really that less. New houses are certainly different with good points and bad points. e.g. the inside walls are undoubtedly thinner than older builds but the insulation is much better. A lot of it depends on what you consider important.

One thing that does concern me is the fact that most builders have moved from brick to timber. Now I'm no expert on building, but it seems to me that such houses are likely to have a shorter life span, despite all the builders who tell me this is not true.

Personlly I like the practicality and comfort of modern homes, though I'm glad others like to own and maintain older houses which are nice to look at.

Edit to add: One thing that confuses me is why it's so expensive to build modern homes - often the fitting are good, but the basic shell seems to me to be cheaper than bricks.

Quality to a large extent is the performance characterirstics and expected lifetime of the materials involved - yo buy an item of cheap plastic and a bit of uv or abuse will bust in in seconds - make it of ABS or other high grade plastic you could probably kick it around with no damage whatsoever.

Skirting boards made of MDF, ruined it they get wet, they use it becuse to buy stright timber busts the budget they have for the build, almost no resilience to moisture at all. Same for the main fabric - once the timber frame is compromised forget about reparing/renewing/patching up over decades as you can a brick / block and brick/stone construction.

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My question is....what is the consensus amongst forum readers here as to the 'rule of thumb' cut-off date they would apply for considering buying a property that is post-1945 built. When did standards really start to go down hill? Post-1970? Post-1975?........

May 3rd, 1967 at 9am when builder Bob started employing subbies that didn't have to live with the consequences of their work.

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Higher specification = Higher build cost, it's really not difficult to comprehend.

Building regulations have a mimimum standard that all dwellings are required to achieve, sound transfer, heat loss and air tightness, all included in Part L of the building regulations and these are only set to become more and more stringent.

If you compare apples with apples, it's a myth that older houses were of a better build quality.

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My question is....what is the consensus amongst forum readers here as to the 'rule of thumb' cut-off date they would apply for considering buying a property that is post-1945 built. When did standards really start to go down hill? Post-1970? Post-1975?........

I would probably say some time in the mid 1970s. :) Houses seem to start getting smaller and seem less robust than earlier counterparts.

My parents' late 1950s ex-council house is pretty rock solid. At least back then Norwich City Council had the forethought to build the houses that will last for decades and decades. The 1960 built 1st floor ex council flat I owned on the same estate was pretty well built with a concrete floor to insulate noise from my ground floor neighbours. I did dislike thcrappy layout. Another problem was that the contrete stairs to the 1st floor were actually built into the side of the block. The rainwater would trickle off the stairs and penetrate the wall of my ground floor neighbours, causing them damp issues and endless complaints with the council.

The 1990s rental flat I am now in seem less well built but it holds in the heat better than the ex-council flat. I can also hear my neighbours walk along the floors upstairs so less well soundproofed. :(

Been in a few 2000-onwards built houses which seemed rather gimcrack. One tenant friend of mine demonstrated the stud partition wall of the 3 storey house he shared. Another mate's shared ownership 2 bedroomed house seemed alright but had a rather small lounge when compared with the other rooms in the house.

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If you compare apples with apples, it's a myth that older houses were of a better build quality.

It's not a myth that the agenda since 1945 has been wave after wave of 'low cost' housing. Flimsy walls and fittings, cupboard-sized rooms, etc. Fashions trending from high-rise crap to identikit-boxes-on-postage-stamp-plots crap, from pebbledash to stone-like cladding, etc.

Nor is it a myth that over the same period, Germany has built high-quality (including high-rise) and consequently has far less housing problems and lower costs than we do.

Nor is it a myth that our builders have undertaken some wierd and wonderful practices. Like installing problematic Heath-Robinson plumbing systems that give you serious problems with hot water as recently as the 1980s. Even today a decent shower is a luxury, and it's only about 20 years since the 'norm' was those that run scalding or freeing, but nothing between.

Nor is it a myth that older property has stood a test of time that tends to sort the good from the bad.

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Higher specification = Higher build cost, it's really not difficult to comprehend.

Building regulations have a mimimum standard that all dwellings are required to achieve, sound transfer, heat loss and air tightness, all included in Part L of the building regulations and these are only set to become more and more stringent.

If you compare apples with apples, it's a myth that older houses were of a better build quality.

Those things don't equate to build quality IMO (and the only time I've been in new build flats the sound transfer has been appalling). IMO an unpleasantly stuffy airtight box that'll fall down in 50 years is poorly built. Give me a draughty Victorian property and an extra jumper for the winter. It sounds like the same sort of argument that says lots of old structures were over-engineered. They're the ones not in danger of falling down (Forth Road Bridge compared with Forth Rail Bridge, for example).

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<br />Much is made here of the issue of the quality (or lack of!) of modern/new-build housing in this country.<br /><br />I realise that quality and reputation varies from house builder to housebuilder......but the general line of thought is that over the last few decades the overall standard of housing for the masses (by which I mean that which caters for the median earners or less, and not 'luxury' or 'executive' developments) - has declined.<br /><br />By 'standard' I mean primarily overall build quality, rather than declining space/size for your money and/or increasingly scummier land used to build on.<br /><br />My question is....what is the consensus amongst forum readers here as to the 'rule of thumb' cut-off date they would apply for considering buying a property that is post-1945 built. When did standards really start to go down hill?  Post-1970?  Post-1975?........<br />

In Southbourne, Bournemouth there are loads of huge 1903-1910 mansions (with mahogany slide-down bannisters etc.)

They all suffer from subsidence - cos their foundations were dug too shallow!

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<br />I would probably say some time in the mid 1970s.

Another mate's shared ownership 2 bedroomed house seemed alright but had a rather small lounge when compared with the other rooms in the house.<br />

Exactly - the major house builders (since deregulation of their standards by Heath/Thatcher) have (like the bankers) gone on a massive spree to rip off house buyers - cos they know each upcoming generation don't know any better!

So as well as charging you far more - they build smaller places with 'faux' walls made with wood, paper and plaster sheeting.

1972/73 was a cut off date when houses had to be a certain size with rooms a certain size, built to an approved 'spec' with proper garden area and usually a garage. (And a proper chimney giving ventilation!)

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In Southbourne, Bournemouth there are loads of huge 1903-1910 mansions (with mahogany slide-down bannisters etc.)

They all suffer from subsidence - cos their foundations were dug too shallow!

I'm sort of surprised toe hear about foundations being too shallow. Not about too shallow but about them having foundations in the first place.

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1972/73 was a cut off date when houses had to be a certain size with rooms a certain size, built to an approved 'spec' with proper garden area and usually a garage. (And a proper chimney giving ventilation!)

Was this the Parker Morris standards? :)

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Most homes constructed before the 1920's did not have cavity walls.

Cavity walls give you a major advantage especially if you have them insulated.

The best cavity wall construction came in around the 80's I believe this using brick or block to the exterior and thermalite block to the interior for additional insulation.

Build quality went downhill with the advent of the'80's onwards timber framed house IMO, where you have one layer of brick as an outside wall then a timber frame with plasterboard over this on the interior including party walls. Wimpey put loads of these up.

Never live in a flat with timber frame construction, poor sound proofing.

Some 60's LA homes were built with timber frames but the wood was not treated, and these have mostly been demolished already.

If you live in an old non cavity walled house you can use insulated plasterboard drylining on your walls for insulation, Kingspan being a brand you can google.

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I'm sort of surprised toe hear about foundations being too shallow. Not about too shallow but about them having foundations in the first place.

Are foundations unusual for a house of that age??? I thought houses were being built in the late 1700's with foundations.

My place was built in 1894 and has has foundations.

Also has cavity walls which I admit is probably a bit more unusual.

My next door neighbours house was built in 1992 and they've noticed all sorts of build quality issues. Even their brick work appears to have aged more than our house which is 98 years older!

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Those things don't equate to build quality IMO (and the only time I've been in new build flats the sound transfer has been appalling). IMO an unpleasantly stuffy airtight box that'll fall down in 50 years is poorly built. Give me a draughty Victorian property and an extra jumper for the winter. It sounds like the same sort of argument that says lots of old structures were over-engineered. They're the ones not in danger of falling down (Forth Road Bridge compared with Forth Rail Bridge, for example).

I have one colleague who lives in a 30s terrace, and another who lives in a Victorian semi. Both of them can hear just about everything that goes on through the adjoining walls. But most of the noise is down to shoes on wooden floors.

There was a lot less of it before both houses were sold and done up, and the old carpets chucked in a skip.

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Both houses I've had have been built around 1900.

If they have been well maintained then they will last will probably last at least another 100 years or more.

As for new builds not sure over the move to fully wood internally, quicker to put up, but if you end up with rotting timbers it's going to be a nightmare to fix.

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