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MattW

Residential building laws. What would you change?

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New housebuilding doesn't seem to have moved on in 30 years. Maybe getting worse, in fact. If you had the authority to amend to laws that affect house building in the UK, what would you change?

For me the two from the top of my head are:

1. An WC & bathroom that has an external wall MUST have an opening window for ventilation. (Cue the main housebuilders redesigning floorplans so they are in the middle of the house/flat).

2. All flats must have balconies on the 1st floor or above. Ground floor flats either a balcony or access to a garden outside via patio doors.

What about these open plan kitchens in small flats and houses - should they be banned? I certainly don't like the idea of them in studio flats. Cook and sleep in the same room? FFS.

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I'd stop allowing tudorbethan and other such abominable copies from history.  Plus stop bathrooms under 10 sq. metres and front doors that open into the living room.  I'd encourage well designed, contemporary homes. 

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sizing minimums back to the 30's, plus MINIMUM garden and garage sizes.

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20 minutes ago, dgul said:

I'd actually make it easier to build experimental / non-traditional building types. 

You get my vote. Bring the country's homes into the 21st century. 

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58 minutes ago, wherebee said:

sizing minimums back to the 30's, plus MINIMUM garden and garage sizes.

Garages need to be built much larger now given the number of 4x4s on the roads. Not that garages are often used for storing vehicles these days.

Great suggestions so far. Keep 'em coming! :)

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1 hour ago, Bossybabe said:

I'd stop allowing tudorbethan and other such abominable copies from history. 

Some of the 2006 built houses around me are like that. :rolleyes: I'd much prefer a bang up to date design.

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50 minutes ago, MattW said:

Some of the 2006 built houses around me are like that. :rolleyes: I'd much prefer a bang up to date design.

It seems as if architectural individuality is confined to art galleries like the Tate Modern. Homes are the same as they were in the 1600s. 

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5 hours ago, wherebee said:

sizing minimums back to the 30's, plus MINIMUM garden and garage sizes.

 

5 hours ago, dgul said:

I'd actually make it easier to build experimental / non-traditional building types. 

Both of these.

I've no problem with the existence of studio flats providing they can comfortably accommodate a person and not turn into the prison cells I've seen. A good set of minimum sizes is essential.

And we need to get away from the idea that everything has to match the old stock. Embrace some variety and allow housing technology to advance.

 

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Sound-proofing. I believe German laws are that you can put a stereo on full blast in a room, close all the doors and windows and not be able to hear the sound in any room bordering that room. Nothing. Not even a trace of sound through the walls.

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I rented a flat in a poor part of a Swiss city. What amazed me was how it had been built to be lived in. It had very wide hall ways with built in cupboards. This gave it loads of storage space in addition to having generous living space.

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5 hours ago, The Masked Tulip said:

Sound-proofing. I believe German laws are that you can put a stereo on full blast in a room, close all the doors and windows and not be able to hear the sound in any room bordering that room. Nothing. Not even a trace of sound through the walls.

Don't know the laws but what you describe has certainly not been the case in any flat I have been to here in Germany. Sound-proofing is generally good, but not to such an extreme standard as you say.

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14 minutes ago, assetrichcashpoor said:

I rented a flat in a poor part of a Swiss city. What amazed me was how it had been built to be lived in. It had very wide hall ways with built in cupboards. This gave it loads of storage space in addition to having generous living space.

Pretty much everywhere I have lived in Europe it has been like that, the UK is the only European country where housing seems to be designed for battery hens rather than for humans.

The bathroom in my current house in Germany is larger than the living room I had in my London flat.

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18 hours ago, MattW said:

Garages need to be built much larger now given the number of 4x4s on the roads. Not that garages are often used for storing vehicles these days.

Great suggestions so far. Keep 'em coming! :)

That's a vicious cycle. Garages too small for cars, unless you're driving a not-so-Smart car, so they're used for storage. If you give people larger (realistically sized) houses with larger (realistically sized) garages they'll store their crap in the house and their car in the garage. What they'll do with the second, third and fourth cars, I have no idea. :rolleyes:

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It's the one thing that has got worse as technology has improved.

It's also the single most important thing to human existence alongside food and water.

Depressing really.

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Soundproofing. No doubt about it. 

Some of the new build flats I've lived in sound like your neighbours are living in your cupboard on all four (or even five) sides

Dolby surround sound neighbour sexy-time when you've coughed up 250k for a poxy flat is taking the Micheal. 

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On 25/03/2017 at 6:05 PM, The Masked Tulip said:

Sound-proofing. I believe German laws are that you can put a stereo on full blast in a room, close all the doors and windows and not be able to hear the sound in any room bordering that room. Nothing. Not even a trace of sound through the walls.

Another great one.

I believe Scotland has some stringent sound proofing laws. If a block of flats fail the tests then the developer has to demolish the block and start again. Enforces them to get it right first time I suppose.

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On 25/03/2017 at 1:12 PM, Bossybabe said:

You get my vote. Bring the country's homes into the 21st century. 

You'd need to show me something 21st century that I don't find ghastly first. Lumps of computer-generated concrete and glass stick out like a sore thumb everywhere except inner cities, and whilst they might be marginally less souless than the typical modern build they're still pretty lousy in that regard. I've seen barely anything, real or suggested, from the last century that passes the "this would be a much pleasanter place if that was knocked down / not built" test (doesn't mean that all old stuff is good though).

Definitely agree on the soundproofing.

Garages aren't a problem, modern cars don't need them, so they're just junk storage even if the car fits. Room to park them though is needed.

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25 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

You'd need to show me something 21st century that I don't find ghastly first. Lumps of computer-generated concrete and glass stick out like a sore thumb everywhere except inner cities, and whilst they might be marginally less souless than the typical modern build they're still pretty lousy in that regard. I've seen barely anything, real or suggested, from the last century that passes the "this would be a much pleasanter place if that was knocked down / not built" test (doesn't mean that all old stuff is good though).

Definitely agree on the soundproofing.

Garages aren't a problem, modern cars don't need them, so they're just junk storage even if the car fits. Room to park them though is needed.

I don't care what new houses look like as long as they're efficient, functional and there's shitloads of them. You're being unnecessarily fussy if you would moan about aesthetics than providing housing for needy people.

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1 hour ago, 24 year mortgage 8itch said:

I don't care what new houses look like as long as they're efficient, functional and there's shitloads of them. You're being unnecessarily fussy if you would moan about aesthetics than providing housing for needy people.

I'd like as pleasant a country to live in as possible for all, not a denser and more rabbit-hutchy Milton Keynes. A decent aesthetic in your surroundings is just as important as the functional aspects, even if it's not as immediately apparent, at least if you want people to be able to live instead of merely exist.

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2 hours ago, Riedquat said:

You'd need to show me something 21st century that I don't find ghastly first. Lumps of computer-generated concrete and glass stick out like a sore thumb everywhere except inner cities, and whilst they might be marginally less souless than the typical modern build they're still pretty lousy in that regard. I've seen barely anything, real or suggested, from the last century that passes the "this would be a much pleasanter place if that was knocked down / not built" test (doesn't mean that all old stuff is good though).

Definitely agree on the soundproofing.

Garages aren't a problem, modern cars don't need them, so they're just junk storage even if the car fits. Room to park them though is needed.

Garages that are often built are pretty much no more than a couple of feet wider than the car...You therefore have to escape through the sunroof or through the boot, as you can't open the door wide enough...

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/27/dog-kennel-flats-barnet-house-smaller-than-travelodge-room

Capture.thumb.PNG.0e89a08ab4fe7dc4dfafc9d22e5116db.PNG

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34 minutes ago, Dave Beans said:

Garages that are often built are pretty much no more than a couple of feet wider than the car...You therefore have to escape through the sunroof or through the boot, as you can't open the door wide enough...

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/27/dog-kennel-flats-barnet-house-smaller-than-travelodge-room

Capture.thumb.PNG.0e89a08ab4fe7dc4dfafc9d22e5116db.PNG

That would breed mental illness on a grand scale.

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I'd hate to have a required balcony - for most flats all thats going to do is cut down on the amount of live-able space indoors. 

Maybe with a bigger guaranteed min size as well..  take something like http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-31350720.html for example - looks like they've just chopped off a quarter of the living room/kitchen and called it a balcony! A snip at £775k.. 

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