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Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 45947
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 23 1:32 pm    Post subject: new build Reply with quote

tis good that this stuff gets mentioned

old homes have been lucky and useful, regardless of the original construction

bad construction degrades useful very rapidly, less than optimal construction can still be useful if well mended

imho decent construction should need basic maintenance and every generation refurb
if there are no social, accidental or environmental catastrophes it will last forever in exchange for an initial investment in doing it properly

ps many "nice"georgian ones are all fur coat and no foundations
lots of pre-industrial ones that still exist are not typical, the typical are ashes or rubble

a good building should start good, survive challenges and neglect and still be a candidate for useful with some tlc

modern mass build pleb hives are similar to historic hovels, in time they add a little to the ground altitude and some bits to the frass


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 45571
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 23 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its absolutely shocking how bad UK houses are, fabric first should be the primary philosophy


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 45947
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 23 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the two best "affordable" newbuilds i have seen in a lifetime both came as a giant flatpack

one was a scanda house that sat on a concrete slab, the other is a chinese made giant log cabin which sits above ground on supports

both are ace and will last if cared for, and the things that will need care for are easy to do because of the design

pipes and wires in surface ducts is splendid and can even look rather nice

materials that last and are easy to maintain/replace are ideal for a building

contrast that with my last but one refurb, late 1960's, small 2 bed bungalow(plenty of original faults such as using paint tins to level the downhill side and sand rather than mortar) and the last one which was a fairly decent late victorian one (with bomb damage and 100yrs of cowboy "repairs and improvements")

the older one was about the same price per sq M but should now outlast the "modern" one by a lot

about 25 yrs ago i pulled off a site, the build was shoddy but the H and S caused me to have a savage intervention about undermining the house next door

Ty Gwyn

Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4583
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 23 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last week on the news, 38 new build houses in Cambridgeshire to be demolished as issues with foundations.

Mistress Rose

Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 15768

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 23 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We found out a lot about house construction modernising our first house; a Victorian end of terrace. The builders probably did the inner layer of wall when they came back from the pub on Friday/Saturday afternoon, but relied upon the plasterers to make it look all right. The damp course was one not two layers separated by a brick (slate at the time), the fire wall in the roof between us and the next house had holes in it and the path at the side was above damp course level. We had a damp course injected into the walls, which solved the damp problems and by the time we had finished it was a nice comfortable place.

A friend of ours is a council employed building inspector and he looks at things properly, going up scaffold and really looking into things. The builders respect him as he trained as a chippie, and if he says something is wrong it is. He had the builder call his men off one site because he refused to go up the scaffold as he thought it was dangerous. It was.

Proper apprenticeships, more competition from small builders and proper inspection seem to be the answer but the question is whether we will get them.


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 45571
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 23 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mistress Rose wrote:
the question is whether we will get them.

We won't. Deregulation and privatisation. BRE is now pretty much a commercial entity, Buildings Inspectors council or private are absolutely shockingly useless.

On our current site the main contractor subbed out the bricklaying, from the outset they've been rude, disrespectful, smoking on site (till they managed to cause an expolsion on the scaffolding), and would happily jump off scaff rather than use the ladders (cos it's quicker), shockingly bad technically too.

But they are all good British lads who engage in all the usual racist, homophobic and misogynistic banter. They will never work on one of our sites again, but they'll definitely be on a site somewhere....

Site work is incredibly hard, demanding work but is seen here as for those too thick to do anything else, or of course the foreigners.

Tradespeople with pride in their work are hard to find

I could go into much more detail on multiple facets of the regulatory framework and how it joins up with actual construction but in summary it's shockingly shit and I see no prospect of improvement.




Literally hundreds of articles like this for major developers/contractors, obviously small contractors are in general at least as shit


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 45947
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 23 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

there can be an upside to cowboy work, mending it put buns on my table a few times

as a main contractor or decent onsite subby they are a nightmare, ascontractor i recon i was lucky or better than i thought at picking folk who would do the job well and politely

round here anyone good seems to have retired, gone back to europe or is booked until doomsday on heritage and domestic stuff

if i was 30 years younger, my driver would have a nice vehicle and most of my job would be recruiting/training and retaining the right teams

on the last one, the most skilled did it as a last job before retiring(head spark and specialist pretty brickie, the arches not him and i spose me as i did do a few skilled bits and pieces of conservation and refurb)
it needed 3 different sets of spreads, 3 stages and types of spread which was difficult to organize

family plumber was handy, he is now silly busy on listed stuff.
the drain men were surprisingly good and easy to find, although they came from newcastle that counts as local firm nowadays

no dought materials are an issue(most of the last one was EU produced materials) but staffing is a huge problem in the uk building game, and far worse now than it was ages ago

training is needed but it needs folk who want to be trained, that means offering a living wage during training as well as education on and off site

another aspect is the "big firms" have blacklisted lots of good tradesfolk due to them demanding decent health and safety, working conditions, pay etc
the more maleable and less ethical are those who thrive in big firms and add their special thing to the general culture of both training and workplace practice

i recon both of us could add to this thread.

Mistress Rose

Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 15768

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 23 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One reason we do as much as possible ourselves. Husband is properly trained (4 year apprenticeship) electrical fitter, so included in training was working with pipes which makes him a good plumber too. He did a course on bricklaying and has done some nice arches in our house, but too slow for real building work.

H&S appeared to be an optional extra when they built the houses on the plot next to ours. The digger driver demolished our telephone cable by reversing into it with the bucket up. His only excuse when son had a go at him was he couldn't see out the back window. Son pointed out he could have run over a mate that way but think a lot more forcefully.

As you say, it needs proper training and not to be regarded as just a job for those too thick to do anything else. As with all non-office work, tradesmen, agricultural and forestry workers need recognition for their skills.

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