That was housing in 2019 – Review of the Year Part 2

Despite Brexit and a general election, housing remained high on the political agenda and frequently featured in the headlines throughout 2019.

In Part 2 we take a look back at another significant year in the sector: who was making the headlines, what were the more unusual stories, and what did LABC Warranty feature on the blog?

Part 2 covers July to December. For January to June skip to Part 1 here.

July 2019

In the news

The Guardian enthused about the 105 social homes in Goldsmith Street, Norwich, in this report published in July. A few months before the development won RIBA’s Stirling Prize, the national newspaper was excited that the development, solely designed for council house tenants, met Passivhaus energy standards and featured “generous windows, handsome brick details and bin stores cleverly hidden behind perforated bronzed screens.”

Also making headlines

Aw, nowhere for Riley to play

A cat lover was prevented from renting a flat in Dundee because an ancient byelaw prevented animals being allowed into the former fishing port. As the Courier reported, Paul Forrest “was a whisker away” from moving into one of the City Quay’s apartments when the letting agent pointed out that his 10-year-old Bengal cat Riley could not come with him.

On our blog

In our latest technical article, we outlined our detailing requirements for bay windows and described common construction errors we see where bay windows are specified.

August 2019

In the news

While mainstream media seized on housing data showing slowing house price rises, MoneyWeek remained more positive and described the market as “ticking along nicely.” In his editorial, John Stepek said, “despite Brexit, buyers are buying and sellers are selling – they’re just doing so at slightly lower prices. We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it: this is a good thing.”

Also making headlines

The Financial Times reported on a housing competition, run by developer Misuma Limited. To win the London house, participants bought a £10 ticket and answered a simple question. The winner was drawn at random. The FT said it was unusual for such a competition to be run by a developer and that it “adequately captures the sheer horror of the London housing market.”

On our blog

For self-builders, we explained the fundamental differences between a structural warranty and a Professional Consultant’s Certificate and assessed the benefits of a warranty over the certificate.

September 2019

In the news

At the Conservative Party Conference at the end of the month, housing secretary Robert Jenrick launched a housebuilding design guide, aiming to introduce national standards for local authorities to adhere to. We reported on the introduction of the national design guide on our blog.

Also making headlines

Friday 13th no good for selling homes

September brought 2019’s first “Friday 13th” and according to Search Acumen, this is bad news for selling houses. Their research, reported in The Negotiator, showed there is a 39% drop in the number of homes purchased on Friday 13th compared to “normal, non-superstitious” Fridays.

On our blog

The Campaign to Protect Rural England produced its annual report analysing the amount of brownfield land in England that could be made available for housing – we looked at the findings.

October 2019

In the news

Straight after the Conservative Party Conference, housing secretary Robert Jenrick also announced the Future Homes Standard. As well as reiterating an earlier commitment to ban fossil-fuel based heating in all new homes from 2025, it included a consultation to overhaul the planning system “in order to create a simpler, fairer system that works for everyone.” We also covered the news on our blog.

Also making headlines

Southwark News reported on the local authority’s intention to build modular homes on top of existing buildings, in so-called “airspace” developments. Councillor Leo Pollak – Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for new council homes, said building extensions on existing council blocks could unlock “potentially hundreds of new homes” – and all without the huge price tag associated with trying to buy prime Southwark real estate on the open market.

On our blog

Staircase news

One of the key areas to the internal superstructure of any home of more than one floor is the staircase. In this technical article we looked at stairways in individual domestic units and assessed the requirements for new home warranty cover.

November 2019

In the news

The National Audit Office revealed that a government plan to create 200,000 new homes in England for first-time buyers resulted in no homes being built. Former prime minister David Cameron committed to the scheme in the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto as a way of tackling the affordable housing crisis.

Also making headlines

Facadism

The word “facadism” entered the mainstream media when London blogger The Gentle Author shared photographs of buildings that had been demolished, except for the architectural front wall. Some of the images from his book, The Creeping Plague of Ghastly Facadism, were added to the BBC News website.

On our blog

With fossil-fuel based heating set to be outlawed in all new homes from 2025, builders and developers need to start looking at alternatively technology now. One of the most popular options is to install an air source heat pump, as our latest technical article published in November explained.

December 2019

In the news

The General Election pretty much dominated the news agenda. We shared an infographic which summarised the housing-related pledges made in the manifestoes of the main three parties.

Also making headlines

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors ended the year with some upbeat news, suggesting that with the General Election out of the way and more certainty about the future path of Brexit, the housing market would pick up in the coming months. As reported by Relocate Magazine, Jeremy Leaf, a London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “What we have noticed… is the quiet determination of increasing numbers of realistic buyers and sellers to take advantage of improved affordability and a little more confidence in market prospects for 2020.”

On our blog

An increasing demand and availability of construction materials has resulted in concrete bricks becoming more popular. This technical article looked at what you need to consider when accounting for movement in concrete bricks.

Have you read Part 1 yet? Click here to find the January-to-June 2019 review.

 

Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.

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