PVC King wrote:8. One off housing - [2004 - 2011] - the creation of a site farming industry was another ill conceived measure which may have some of the most long lasting damage. Look at the manner in which the Sunday Times estimates wealth in their rich list; Tycoon 123; printing business £80m & 7,000 acres of land in Lanarkshire @ £3,000 per acre = £101m - Agricultural land is just that and must be valued as same. Now you have the banks landed with tens of thousands of sites when purchasers have borrowed €150,000 just for the land and spent another €250,000 for a house in the middle of nowhere and very limited resale value because they were personalised and not considered for any form of resale. This industry created many small time developers who had no clue as to the manner real estate works and then paid up to €1m an acre for holdings at the edges of inappropriate satellite towns for often unzoned land in highly leveraged loans where the security may have been 5-10% of the loan value. This was well flagged for years before the crash and anyone holding these views were demonised; the music always stops.
I'm going to put a contrary view here but before that allow me to confirm something i have stated elsewhere..
Personally I prefer living in and raising kids in an estate. The houses are more affordable, the services are established, there is a social network outside your door , there is a voter base to set up a pressure group if required to improve matters, etc.
In relation to the single house market, it seems you are confusing two different markets - self building housing and once-off housing.
The self build market acquires sites cheaply, trades on local connections and loopholes in development plans, and uses standardised bungalow-bliss quality plans with minimalist build quality and/or poorly understood detailing to achieve buildings of questionable compliance within suspiciously low budgets with drawings that are certified by technicians, engineers or draughtspeople - or not at all.
The houses are typically built by direct labour, often from planning drawings and may have the owner as both builder and main contractor under the health and safety legislation, organising all the deliveries, insurances, specifications, scheduling and costs.
Typically the owner/builder has little or no experience in building major works and has not trade.
The quality of these buildings is likely to be variable given the lack of competent supervision and co-ordination.
The designs tend to fall within limits and costs of inspection fees are traded off against defined house features - like an AGA!
The specialist knowledge of "sustainability" and improved insulation often comes from whatever salesperson has the most convincing chatter and the few "experts" out there tend to rest their credibility on guarantees for materials and products which their company supplies.
The biggest mismatch in competence can occur when timber frame companies provide the main superstructure, but direct labour provides the groundworks, foundations, slab, services connection points, external walls and roof coverings.
Many a fine "kit of parts" gets assembled correctly on site only to be fatally compromised by an envelope that is neither insulated nor ventilated in accordance with good practice or the timber frame suppliers details.
Despite faults occurring, there is seldom litigation, since there is no one else to blame except the owner.
Self building typically constitutes 30-40% of the New Housing Market annually.
======================================Once Off Housing:
The one-off house market is the other end of the scale to self-build.
Site cost is secondary to design, views and location, a full design team may be appointed and a main contractor and specialist suppliers may be selected from tender processes.
The boundaries are typically pushed in terms of design excellence or idiosyncrasy - depending on your point of view - and there are some beauts of errors in some I have seen, despite being designed by MRIAI-registered architects.
Budgets are notional and overruns to be expected given the level of extras required on site by the client.
Despite formal appointments, falling-outs are not uncommon on what can be high pressure work and litigation can follow if there are latent - or patent - defects.
You only have to look at the sorry tale of Martha's Vinyard - Jim Sheridans house on Coliemore Road, which ended in a multi-million Euro settlement in favour of the homeowner against two internationally renowned Irish Architects de Blacam and Meagher.
This matter was dragged on for years and was only resolved in 2010, ironically in the same year in which their office represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale.
Decrying either of these markets is a huge limitation on people's freedoms.
"A man's home is his castle" is a huge mantra in Ireland - far more so than sur le continong - and it is likely to remain so.
While your arguments against single housing have merit, there is a huge political and legal minefield to traverses here.
There is also the moral issue - take away what people strive for, and you reduce them to animals.
Sustainable animals of course - which is just what the Green Fascists would like.
The universe according to Green - the self-serving shower of gits.
I don't buy their plaumause - wait until the next election!