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Saving For a Space Ship

Should Many Old Houses Be Demolished & Rebuilt As They Are Redundant Technology ?

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I've started this thread due to posts here..

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/203295-could-the-cavity-wall-insulation-scandal-rival-ppi-dt-article/page-3

Personally, I'm a big fan of Structural insulated panels (SIPS) & see that as the way forward. Much Commercial property is now built with SIPS .

I was talking to a Commercial property Ea the other week, who said much commercial 6 storey is now built with 2 storeys of metal frame, & 4 top stories of pure SIPS

(Edit: I added "& Rebuilt" to the title)

Wurzel Of Highbridge, on 17 Feb 2015 - 9:11 PM, said:

I have never understood the general consensus of trying to save the crumbling poorly built Victorian housing stock. It should be demolished every then and rebuilt. Houses don't last forever.

They have the right ideas about these things abroad, USA, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Ireland etc, the house is fairly worthless after a generation and needs demolishing after two. the land still has value, but that it.

I still look in awe when I see considerable work (windows, roof, conversions etc.) being made to old and fundamentally flawed houses.

It's like taking your Ford model-T and attempting to fit it out like a modern car, when in reality it need scrapping.

OurDayWillCome, on 17 Feb 2015 - 9:19 PM, said:

Only now is building regs starting to catch up - look at how many changes have been made to insulation requirements in the past decade as they have not understood how it all fits together and how dangerous a badly constructed warm deck or loft conversion is when it all starts rotting.I agree - the best old houses are the ones that have the old facade but the rest of the building has been demolished and re-built :-)

Andy T, on 23 Feb 2015 - 11:12 AM, said:

I disagree that Victorian Houses were badly built, the majority that survive were well built with good materials - its the lack understanding and proper maintenance in modern times that is the cause of any decay. Also well meaning but the wrong type of maintenance or modification is just as damaging.

As long as the roof has been maintained properly, along with gutters/pipes and pointing repaired where properly needed, there is no reason why the structure shouldn't been as solid & square as the day it was built. You quite often see a Victorian pair of semis, where one half has been looked after and is solid, and the other half has brickwork issues because (a landlord probably) has let the gutter leak down the wall for the last 30 years. And then you get builders doing extensions or conservatories where theydump all the dugout soil under the subfloors - blocking the ventilation and causing the joists to rot. I could go on.

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Guest eight

Nice one.

Our house was built 1905. It's a lovely big house, although the space could be used better - high ceilings are a bit pointless / wasteful and I'm in the early stages of investigating if the rear portion can be converted to three stories instead of the current two.

I don't think the problem is with the houses per se - more that terraced areas look a bit old hat compared to new build estates and can have problems with litter, parking, wheely bin detritus strewned back lanes etc. My main worry is that my local area will one day be pathfindred out of existence to make way for your typical current high rise apartments type developments and you'd never see houses of this stature again.

Sadly values mean that improvements are not likely to be cost effective in terms of resale value, although the chance to save £1000+ a year on energy is not to be sniffed at.

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There's a really easy way to do this, and most of the infrastructure is already in place.

You take the current Council Tax band (A - H), and EPC (A - H) and multiply one by the other, so an H house with H energy would pay H x H in council tax.

Old inefficient house stock would soon fall by the wayside.

Surely it's down to the occupant not the house. We've got a very inefficient 1950s detached bungalow with large airy rooms. Twin bill is about £700 pa. Which household is causing the most pollution the inefficient houses that burns £700pa or the efficient home that burns £2,000 because the occupants are greedy and demaned the building of a new house to boot with all the energy that entailed.

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Old worn-out, out-of-date housing should be replaced, unfortunately modern houses built in the UK tends to be very expensive and have a premium over older housing, despite being:

1. Smaller than existing housing

2. Poorer build quality.

Near where I live I have a choice of:

1. New build 3-bedroom houses with small rooms, poor build quality and tiny garden = £500k

2. 1930's 3-bedroom houses, with good sized rooms and large garden = £350k to £400k.

The sensible thing is to buy the 1930's house and spend £50k doing it up.

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Guest eight

It's quite amazing that 2nd hand, poor quality, sub standard, houses go up in value.

Are people just stupid ?

Perpetual asset, innit. The same thing, purchased over and over again with ever increasing amounts of borrowed money.

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There is something to be said about this. I mean, compare the average car to the average house - it's like comparing a rocket ship to a cave! :blink:

As Bora Horza has pointed out though, it's a double-edged sword.. modern houses have modern heating & insulation to meet various standards, but typically claw it back in other ways. They tend to be built with almost no storage, as-cheap-as-possible finishing, and are generally optimised for profitably rather than quality of life. For example, there are many flats in London which would have been decent one-beds, but have been build as two-beds by carving off a nominal 'second bedroom' (8ft x 9ft!) from the living area -- all because a crummy two-bed fetches more than a nice one-bed.

On balance, I think I'd prefer to see old houses improved rather than demolished, partly for the sake of preserving build heritage, and partly because I don't trust developers not to replace with dozens of 42 sq.m. slave boxes made of egg cartons & tin foil!

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There is something to be said about this. I mean, compare the average car to the average house - it's like comparing a rocket ship to a cave! :blink:

As Bora Horza has pointed out though, it's a double-edged sword.. modern houses have modern heating & insulation to meet various standards, but typically claw it back in other ways. They tend to be built with almost no storage, as-cheap-as-possible finishing, and are generally optimised for profitably rather than quality of life. For example, there are many flats in London which would have been decent one-beds, but have been build as two-beds by carving off a nominal 'second bedroom' (8ft x 9ft!) from the living area -- all because a crummy two-bed fetches more than a nice one-bed.

On balance, I think I'd prefer to see old houses improved rather than demolished, partly for the sake of preserving build heritage, and partly because I don't trust developers not to replace with dozens of 42 sq.m. slave boxes made of egg cartons & tin foil!

The irony being, that as modern houses are much better insulated, so could have thinner walls on same land size, meaning more internal space. :rolleyes:

It seems like a conspiracy, that we do not have affordable, fully manufactured housing.

Brick walls being so heavy, forcing foundations to made of concrete, that also sucks heat out, has always struck me as a massive design flaw.

Acting as a massive thermal bridge, that they cannot be insulated from the ground,

I remember fondly Bucky Fullers' DYMAXION HOUSE

http://www.bfi.org/about-fuller/big-ideas/dymaxion-world/dymaxion-house

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dymaxion_house

Conceived and designed in the late 1920's but not actually built until 1945, the Dymaxion House was Fuller's solution to the need for a mass-produced, affordable, easily transportable and environmentally efficient house. The word "Dymaxion" was coined by combining parts of three of Bucky's favorite words: DY (dynamic), MAX (maximum), and ION (tension). The house used tension suspension from a central column or mast, sold for the price of a Cadillac, and could be shipped worldwide in its own metal tube. Toward the end of WW II, Fuller attempted to create a new industry for mass-producing Dymaxion Houses.

Bucky designed a home that was heated and cooled by natural means, that made its own power, was earthquake and storm-proof, and made of permanent, engineered materials that required no periodic painting, reroofing, or other maintenance.

You could easily change the floor plan as required - squeezing the bedrooms to make the living room bigger for a party, for instance.

Downdraft ventilation drew dust to the baseboards and through filters, greatly reducing the need to vacuum and dust. O-Volving Shelves required no bending; rotating closets brought the clothes to you. The Dymaxion House was to be leased, or priced like an automobile, to be paid off in five years. All this would be possible now if houses were engineered, mass-produced, and sold like cars. $40,000.00 sounds about right.

In 1946, Bucky actually built a later design of the Dymaxion House (also known as the Wichita House). I had the honor to lead a bunch of volunteers that took it apart in 1992. It was mostly intact despite being abandoned (except for the incumbent herd of insolent, astoundingly filthy raccoons) for several decades. The 747 First-Class ambiance was faded and smelly, but you could still sense the elegance of a living room with a 33-foot window.

The Dymaxion's round shape minimized heat loss and the amount of materials needed, while bestowing the strength to successfully fend off a 1964 tornado that missed by only a few hundred yards. And the Dymaxion only weighs about 3000 pounds versus the 150 tons of an average home!

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Surely the challenge will be identifying who picks up the cost? Assuming annual heating bills of £1.5k for an inefficient house, and a £60k rebuild cost (which is probably a massive underestimation) it would take 30 years minimum to recoup the cost, and probably much much longer. Where is the incentive for someone to rebuild? When I looked into it even EWI is cost prohibitive (15+ years payback).

However, if you forced rebuild or suffer enormous council tax bills it would certainly crash a very large portion of the market....

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A mix of housing stock makes towns more interesting. Our towns and cities would have looked a lot more cr*p now if the 'slum' clearance and new builds of the 60s and 70';s had been more prevalent.

Generally, the best old housing stock from each era has survived. For example, a lot of the back-to-back Victorian terrace housing and rookeries have gone, whereas the better built Victorian villas built for the more affluent have largely survived.

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This development made a big splash at the time:

Take a look at this superb property, situated in the award-winning chimney pot park area. Featuring 2 double bedrooms and a modern family bathroom on the ground floor, spacious (23ft. ) lounge & dining area on the first floor, and a fantastic, fully-integrated kitchen on the 2nd floor. The property also benefits from a terrace garden with decked seating area, and secure, under-cover parking. The Chimney Pot Park area was fully and comprehensively re-generated throughout 2007/8 by Urban Splash and is conveniently located within walking distance of Metrolink, local shops, public transport & motorway networks. A perfect first home or investment

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/35941249?search_identifier=5d68cd116fa154e0bc93443aac20b074#7qhOM4cFc4OiDKfU.97

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There's a really easy way to do this, and most of the infrastructure is already in place.

You take the current Council Tax band (A - H), and EPC (A - H) and multiply one by the other, so an H house with H energy would pay H x H in council tax.

Old inefficient house stock would soon fall by the wayside.

I don't think EPC's are very accurate at all/

I'm sure there's been a HPC thread on how cr*p EPCs are at some point.

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Yes, anything pre-1930's with no heritage value should be demolished and replaced. I pick the 1930's because this is when cavity walls started to go mainstream, but I guess if we were looking at the technicalities of poor insulation, space consumed by firepalces, zero parking I would have to pick a date in the 60's. Like is said above it needs to be encouraged rather than forced.

In reality the only way this can ever happen is if the land value the house sits on is worthless or a liability. It would encourage the house to become abandoned and demolished.

High residential land prices mask the fact that most of UK houses are a worthless liability.

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I really like the Dymaxion house, but I can almost hear my beloved making comparisons to living in a trailer park!

I always thought that part of the horror of the British pwoperdee market is that you can beat it if you are prepared to be unconventional(*), but social pressures mean that thousands of us are unable to do so.

(* communal co-op mansions; houseboats; high-density phyllotactic towers; hammocks; Winnebagos; tube-hotels; light-tubed bunkers; urban 'college' quads; shipping container homes; transforming furniture; extreme minimalism; shelf beds; undersea cities; trailer parks, etc :)

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A mix of housing stock makes towns more interesting. Our towns and cities would have looked a lot more cr*p now if the 'slum' clearance and new builds of the 60s and 70';s had been more prevalent.

Generally, the best old housing stock from each era has survived. For example, a lot of the back-to-back Victorian terrace housing and rookeries have gone, whereas the better built Victorian villas built for the more affluent have largely survived.

Where I live all the industrialists built their manors and lots of big Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian properties as well as smaller ones for the workers. In the 60's the remaining farmland was built on - the mix of styles is fantastic. Unfortunately the NODAMs have now put a stop to this unless new properties look like miniaturised Georgian replicas :-(

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It would seem to me that in a genuine free-market, the building value would depreciate over its design life, I.e. as the existing building gets nearer to its end-of-life then the market value of the build + land would be nearer to just the land value.

It would then be viable to buy up old properties, with the intention of demolition and building a new modern property.

The fact this isn't happening is just another sign of a dysfunctional/rigged market?

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Yes, anything pre-1930's with no heritage value should be demolished and replaced. I pick the 1930's because this is when cavity walls started to go mainstream, but I guess if we were looking at the technicalities of poor insulation, space consumed by firepalces, zero parking I would have to pick a date in the 60's. Like is said above it needs to be encouraged rather than forced.

In reality the only way this can ever happen is if the land value the house sits on is worthless or a liability. It would encourage the house to become abandoned and demolished.

High residential land prices mask the fact that most of UK houses are a worthless liability.

Yes, In London and areas of the south cavity walls didn't become prevalent until the 1930's but up north it was much sooner - there are many houses built in early 1900's with cavity walls. A house I lived in was built in 1910-ish and had cavity walls.

How would you judge which pre-1930 houses have heritage value?

The plain 1930's built houses were referred to by contemporary critics as 'Jerry Built Houses' - being plain and apparently so poorly built it looked as if the German had built them (quite ironic that now). Those contemporaries would be suprised you're using that broad cut-off for housing that's any good.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=2tOa9xOxzQkC&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=jerry+built+1930s+houses&source=bl&ots=jOBaxZArdr&sig=trpsEwI2p_jcS4xlGyz8qcniU60&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-33sVLWGI-HU7Abe2YGYCA&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=jerry%20built%201930s%20houses&f=false

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It would seem to me that in a genuine free-market, the building value would depreciate over its design life, I.e. as the existing building gets nearer to its end-of-life then the market value of the build + land would be nearer to just the land value.

It would then be viable to buy up old properties, with the intention of demolition and building a new modern property.

The fact this isn't happening is just another sign of a dysfunctional/rigged market?

Yes, but with the addition that not all property would follow the same curve as some genuinely has specific architectural, aesthetic or historical value.

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I really like the Dymaxion house, but I can almost hear my beloved making comparisons to living in a trailer park!

I always thought that part of the horror of the British pwoperdee market is that you can beat it if you are prepared to be unconventional(*), but social pressures mean that thousands of us are unable to do so.

(* communal co-op mansions; houseboats; high-density phyllotactic towers; hammocks; Winnebagos; tube-hotels; light-tubed bunkers; urban 'college' quads; shipping container homes; transforming furniture; extreme minimalism; shelf beds; undersea cities; trailer parks, etc :)

Must have looked like it should have Gort the Robot outside in the 30s

gort.jpg

Yes, the demonisation of "trailer parks" mobile shelters & pre-fabs is part of the conspiracy, partly leading to the mess we are in now.

Self build & modular homes on rented land (ideally provided by Councils / Churches / non profits etc ). With rent controls, this avoids the debt & waste of money via opportunity cost of buying into the inflated land ponzi.

Leaving some ££ left to invest in real productive industry imo

Don't forget the yank house building lobby, successfully had small houses outlawed. I expect a backlash against the tiny house movement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Prefabricated_house_construction.ogg

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Cost of a basic house might be 50-60 grand.

Thats a quote I got anyway. 30k basic shell materials, foundations etc., 20k labour, 10k fixtures, fittings. Land should cost next to nothing.

The other 150k-200k would pay for a lot of energy saving stuff, if it didnt all go to the landowner*

*to be fair a HELL of a lot goes to the council in various forms...i'm sure it all ends up paying bloated pensions.

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Having lived in different housing in UK from Victorian to brand new I know which I prefer for comfort. Victorian houses are cold and draughty unless you spend a fortune on heating. Plus they are money pits for mainteneance and have hidden problems eg rotting joists and damp yet are praised for their "features" by the likes of Kirsty and Phil. OK they may have a bit more soul than your average new build but they can quickly turn into a bit of a nightmare.

Modern new builds are generally warmer to live in as they have double glazing and are better insulated plus you get some benefit from "passive solar" heating ie the sun shines in via patio doors etc whereas the design of Victorian buildings being genereally long and thin in terraces means they are generally darker as well as colder.

I don't know if it was a bit of a conspiracy to make us all hanker after period property and to make us a bit gaga about "features" etc. Perhaps so as otherwise if everyone in UK wanted more modern we'd be done for as most of the avialable housing is Victorian. Another of the ways we are deluded about property??

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Cost of a basic house might be 50-60 grand.

Thats a quote I got anyway. 30k basic shell materials, foundations etc., 20k labour, 10k fixtures, fittings. Land should cost next to nothing.

The other 150k-200k would pay for a lot of energy saving stuff, if it didnt all go to the landowner*

*to be fair a HELL of a lot goes to the council in various forms...i'm sure it all ends up paying bloated pensions.

I understand the cost of the planning permission can be high. I knew a guy building a 3 bed in Altringham way , cost him £40K !!

he had 4 kids, so ran out of £££ & had to build & hide a separate insulated secret shed without planning to put one teen in

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Guest eight

Yes, anything pre-1930's with no heritage value should be demolished and replaced. I pick the 1930's because this is when cavity walls started to go mainstream, but I guess if we were looking at the technicalities of poor insulation, space consumed by firepalces, zero parking I would have to pick a date in the 60's. Like is said above it needs to be encouraged rather than forced.

In reality the only way this can ever happen is if the land value the house sits on is worthless or a liability. It would encourage the house to become abandoned and demolished.

High residential land prices mask the fact that most of UK houses are a worthless liability.

And yet on the other thread cavity wall is getting a slating. As for the fireplaces, part of the renovation job I've got planned is to remove the chimney and chimney breasts and add internal and external insulation to the wall where they previously were.

I should also add that the cost of complete demolition isn't exactly negligible.

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