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 Housing and the Economy

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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:39 am

A house costs about 1000 Euro per sq metre to build, in addition you have to add on site costs, roads, service connections and any abnormals such as deep foundations on bad ground or a high standard of finish.

Sites can be quite pricey and costs depend on area.

In addition you have to add on the cost of financing, site purchase, employing professionals, statutory approvals and construction costs before you start to make a return. Any delays at all can really ratchet up the costs.

It all adds up and from site purchase to sale can take several years.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:36 am

Yes but why does it cost 1000 euros per meter. Lets do a quick calculation and correct me where necessary. Can a house be built in 4 weeks. Say 8 workers at any one time. So we have 4 by 6 by 8 by 8 hours by 40 euro per hour. 80640 E for labour. How much would the material cost especially with vat etc. Is 40 an hour too much. I hear some farmers have lads for slave wages if anyone can enlighten me about that as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:22 am

A house in these parts cannot be built in 4 weeks unless it is some industrialised kit and that tends to be expensive. I think 9 months is a reasonable time to allow. The problem is you cannot build the walls until there are foundations and the roof needs walls etc. Labour and material costs are much the same, initially materials are cheaper as concrete blocks are the best kept secret for bargain hunters but when you hit the finishes the reverse is the case. You also have scaffolding and plant hire, trust me it really does cost 1000 sq.m Though I must confess some of the labour is seriously over valued.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:07 am

I am not questioning the 1000 figure as correct but I am questioning why it is that high. What scaffolding and plant hire. A mixer and a few planks that any half assed builded would have. When I worked on the buildings in Dublin houses took no time. Time spent in preliminary work is not being counted as it is just a few man hours even if it is spread over a longer time
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:02 pm

In my opinion the overpaid part of the equation is probably, bricklayers and plasterers. Generally highly paid and of dubious skill coupled with an attitude that would make even Obama cringe.

As for a mixer and a few planks have you not heard of 'Health and Safety'. Not been involved in Ireland for a few years but have a slight interest out in London's Olympic area. The Health and Safety Executive is actually taking bricklayers labourers off site to see a video on the correct way to lift a concrete block! The guy was lucky not to end up in the foundations. Larger materials and it is a crane! A whole safety industry has sprung up that produces absolutely nothing and building sites remain as dangerous as they ever were. Lack of training is the biggest danger and men working long hours or in a hurry. Videos on block lifting won't change that. With service connection costs generally it is take it or do without.

In the UK because of pressure from all the tree huggers we are sealing buildings to make them airtight, pressurising and testing them and then putting permanent vents in, rationalise that one if you can. Another utterly unproductive industry is springing up with regards to CO2 omissions and calculating them etc etc. It is complete and utter madness and I say this as someone who thinks we should have warm efficient houses, but would like to see tha parasites removed from the system.

ISEQ is back up to 5100
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:19 pm

Is the era of throwing up houses to beat the band over now given all the health and safety stuff you talk about Squire. Maybe it's useful for employees who shouldn't be taken advantage of in whatever way by superiors and have no legal comeback but it's very easy to see how it produces nothing and is an unnecessary overhead. There's a lot of that now - unnecessary overhead - in many areas of work.

The energy conservation speaks for itself though but the CO2 assessment - can't that be approximated with some standardised rule of thumb or maybe I'm missing what else is involved.

Blocklayers - the new aristocracy down my way but I love good plumbers - it's the dark arts for me and totally underappreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:25 pm

Squire wrote:
A house costs about 1000 Euro per sq metre to build, in addition you have to add on site costs, roads, service connections and any abnormals such as deep foundations on bad ground or a high standard of finish.

Sites can be quite pricey and costs depend on area.

In addition you have to add on the cost of financing, site purchase, employing professionals, statutory approvals and construction costs before you start to make a return. Any delays at all can really ratchet up the costs.

It all adds up and from site purchase to sale can take several years.

And in Ireland government has been pocketing more than 50% of the selling price in taxes and contributions. Loading that much tax onto one very small sector of the population (house buyers at time of purchase) was a crazy strategy and has ended predictably in tears. Most of that tax burden should be spread across all the users of local infrastructure - i.e. all property owners.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:30 pm

Health and Safety Regs are there because people have died. Everyone in Ireland now has to get a Safepass and its taught in English and Polish (don't know about Irish). Its only a day's training and not expensive. Building sites are very dangerous places - no one should be allowed on them without training.

One of the problems is that fines are too small when someone dies due to bad employers - take the site value off a couple of and they would soon stop messing with peoples' lives.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:46 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Is the era of throwing up houses to beat the band over now given all the health and safety stuff you talk about Squire. Maybe it's useful for employees who shouldn't be taken advantage of in whatever way by superiors and have no legal comeback but it's very easy to see how it produces nothing and is an unnecessary overhead. There's a lot of that now - unnecessary overhead - in many areas of work.

The energy conservation speaks for itself though but the CO2 assessment - can't that be approximated with some standardised rule of thumb or maybe I'm missing what else is involved.

Blocklayers - the new aristocracy down my way but I love good plumbers - it's the dark arts for me and totally underappreciated.

Health and safety.

I have been informed that in days of yore health and safety on a site was the responsibility of the Contractor. In the UK they decided that it should be the responsibility of the employer. However as I am not managing the site I have to do a few things to off load that responsibility back onto the contractor. I employ a 'Planning Officer' (Health and Safety Planning Officer) he assesseses the health and safety risks and regesters the project. A document of his is sent to the tenderers who price for that risk and the successful one in turn produces a report on how he will address the issues. So by this means the responsibility is transferred back to the contractor where it rightly belongs.

On sites accidents are caused by;

1 Inadequate training. There are few apprenticeship schemes due to grip labour. There needs to be some proper trade guilds IMO.

2 Virtually everyone is a subcontractor. So quicker they get in and out the better. In times when work is short people under price. People in a hurry (not efficient hurry) or working long hours cause accidents.

3 Teams of people who do not know each other and what each are doing.

As far as I know the current regulations in the UK have not reduced serious accidents in any significant manner but have probably added about £2000 to the cost of an average house, perhaps more.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:50 pm

Squire wrote:
I employ a 'Planning Officer' (Health and Safety Planning Officer) he assesseses the health and safety risks and regesters the project. A document of his is sent to the tenderers who price for that risk and the successful one in turn produces a report on how he will address the issues. So by this means the responsibility is transferred back to the contractor where it rightly belongs.

Employer's Liability for Occupational Injuries is a non delegable responsibility under Irish Tort Law. Even if you employ a third party to oversee safety of your site, negligence can and will attach to the employer in a case of reasonably foreseeable damage resulting from an employer's negligence or under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

It is more difficult for one who is being engaged as an independent contractor to attach liability to the person engaging their services. This is not the case for an employee.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:07 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
The energy conservation speaks for itself though but the CO2 assessment - can't that be approximated with some standardised rule of thumb or maybe I'm missing what else is involved.

This one really freaks me out. Hell no you calculate it and you have to allow for orientation, solar gain and all the rest of it. There is a SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) rating given to each dwelling. Even the shape of the building matters as square building with low ceilings has less external walls per sq.m than a long narrow building with high ceilings. The really stupid part in all this is if you put in say an air to air heat pump and have reasonable levels of insulation and an efficient boiler you pass anyway so why bother with the calculations just make solar panels or some such a requirement!*!!* The cost of the calculations would go a long way towards paying for a panel. Also why pressure test a house and then put in permanent vents? Then there are HIPS (House Information Packs) which you need to sell your house. The most facile document I have ever read. It tells me I am buying a Victorian Property and that it is poorly insulated has partial double glazing and an innificient heating system. Why bother I am going to wreck the place anyway and put right those things. It says no more than anyone with a pair of eyese can see and costs typically £500 per dwelling. Madness. The UK has gone mad!

I must be a slow learner for I fail to see any coherence anywhere in this. It is totally unproductive, simple regulation would get there more efficiently.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:14 pm

johnfás wrote:

Employer's Liability for Occupational Injuries is a non delegable responsibility under Irish Tort Law. Even if you employ a third party to oversee safety of your site, negligence can and will attach to the employer in a case of reasonably foreseeable damage resulting from an employer's negligence or under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

It is more difficult for one who is being engaged as an independent contractor to attach liability to the person engaging their services. This is not the case for an employee.

The people on site are employed by the contractor, he is their employer not the developer. To get to the developer they need to go through tort and I think that could be fairly difficult. The developer ensures that in the tender documentation the contractor has the opportunity to price for such liabilities/responsibilities. The developer takes reasonable care by employing professional consultants who themselves carry indemnity insurance. The developer cannot be expected to run a building site indeed to do so would be negligent unless they have the expertise and few do.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:29 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Health and Safety Regs are there because people have died. Everyone in Ireland now has to get a Safepass and its taught in English and Polish (don't know about Irish). Its only a day's training and not expensive. Building sites are very dangerous places - no one should be allowed on them without training.

One of the problems is that fines are too small when someone dies due to bad employers - take the site value off a couple of and they would soon stop messing with peoples' lives.

It would take more than a day's training to improve safety. A lot of the accidents are people in a hurry but also how people do things and being aware of what others are doing. Lack of general knowledge and training is a killer. When everyone is working on top of each other and in a hurry then anything can happen. I am totally convinced we need proper self regulating guilds for the trades and you don't work on building sites unless you belong. It is the unaccountable utter idiots that present the bulk of the problem. All sorts of stupidity; someone puts the wrong charge in a hilti (nail) gun and sends the nail right through a thin piece of steel, labourer with ear protectors forgets to take them off and does not hear a reversing lorry sounder etc etc. Get the skill levels and the self esteem up and accidents will drop. Safety reports should be hung in the site toilet. You should read one, about as much relevance as superman comics.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:55 pm

Squire wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
The energy conservation speaks for itself though but the CO2 assessment - can't that be approximated with some standardised rule of thumb or maybe I'm missing what else is involved.

This one really freaks me out. Hell no you calculate it and you have to allow for orientation, solar gain and all the rest of it. There is a SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) rating given to each dwelling. Even the shape of the building matters as square building with low ceilings has less external walls per sq.m than a long narrow building with high ceilings. The really stupid part in all this is if you put in say an air to air heat pump and have reasonable levels of insulation and an efficient boiler you pass anyway so why bother with the calculations just make solar panels or some such a requirement!*!!* The cost of the calculations would go a long way towards paying for a panel. Also why pressure test a house and then put in permanent vents? Then there are HIPS (House Information Packs) which you need to sell your house. The most facile document I have ever read. It tells me I am buying a Victorian Property and that it is poorly insulated has partial double glazing and an innificient heating system. Why bother I am going to wreck the place anyway and put right those things. It says no more than anyone with a pair of eyese can see and costs typically £500 per dwelling. Madness. The UK has gone mad!

I must be a slow learner for I fail to see any coherence anywhere in this. It is totally unproductive, simple regulation would get there more efficiently.

The HIPS is some sort of ABCDEFG energy rating is it? I thought they were doing them for 100 quid or so in England - incentivise people to upgrade their house.

I won't deny I find the idea of measuring and counting all the energy bits and pieces fascinating. I suppose I meant by standardised measure that the products themselves are included in the CO2 measurements - so 1000 blocks already has X CO2 and 25meters of insulation already has Y CO2 etc. which are all added up .. I didn't consider the heat loss through external walls and so on. Wouldn't it be quicker and possibly as cheap just to build passive houses which are assumed to lose no heat at all or something like that?

Do you think there is some residue of sanity in there though with all the counting and that our building bureaucracy is only in it's infancy and beset with bs at present but which might get a razoring as time goes on and we get more into the process? Until 1997 in Ireland there were no insulation standards at all - a house was probably defined as a dwelling whose roof or walls didn't leak..

Pressure testing a house I don't understand. Is this to do with the movement of air through the house? Again wouldn't passive style houses which came almost pre-packed go some way to alleviating this?
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:26 pm

If you are interested in bean counting go here and download F1 and F2 and see how comprehensible you think they are.

http://www.buildingcontrol-ni.com/sections/default.asp?cms=building+regulations_technical+booklets&cmsid=61_75&id=75&secid=5


And for construction try this site, some quite good details if you are doing work, some just don't work terribly well to my eyes. The English equivalent site is not as good.

http://www.sbsa.gov.uk/tech_handbooks/accred_details_2.pdf

It is all about insulation, reducing energy consumption, preventing draughts etc. I think it would make more sense to require high levels of insulation, etc and also require energy production on site. The calculations are all very well but should only be necessary if you have a peculiar form of construction or a lot of glazing. It is like proving an apple is is food.

On draughts, I believe houses need to breath. Squire Hall would be a mouldy abode without a good stiff breeze whistling up the corridors. In winter carpets lift here and I tend to clear off to London or India. Now I am not suggesting this level of fresh air for everyone, but some air movement is necessary, we all open windows. I think they have gone overboard and the cost could be better spent on providing local energy production!!
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:15 pm

I share your doubts about air tight buildings - terribly bad for asthma apart from anything else. I have been in them and feel claustrophobic.

Good design, orientation, well constructed buildings that aren't gappy and comply with the new building regulations, along with alternative energy sources get my vote.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:26 pm

Sounds too German. The Passivhaus concept. Too much system, too much perfection.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:07 pm

arnaudherve wrote:
Sounds too German. The Passivhaus concept. Too much system, too much perfection.

Also, too expensive.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:39 am

Is there no market for a trailer trash culture here at all in Ireland? With this bit of good weather I could feel like living in a caravan again.

Seriously, we have a traveller culture why don't we have a viable and respected trailer park/side of the road/middle of the river corner of the market?
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:30 am

There is a stigma to living in trailers that I think is not deserved. Why not live there especially if you are single or have no children? Enabling people to live with in their means. I have far more respect for such people than the flash Harry type who occasionally arrive at Squire Hall with their BMWs gold watches, ever so nice suits and piles of debt.

Also camper vans and new age travellers seem to me to be a decent enough lot. Many tend to be elderly hippies touring.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:54 pm

Squire wrote:
There is a stigma to living in trailers that I think is not deserved. Why not live there especially if you are single or have no children? Enabling people to live with in their means. I have far more respect for such people than the flash Harry type who occasionally arrive at Squire Hall with their BMWs gold watches, ever so nice suits and piles of debt.

Also camper vans and new age travellers seem to me to be a decent enough lot. Many tend to be elderly hippies touring.

The thing of Australian and American retirees buying their camper vans as a form of pension and then fecking off to Northern Australia or Florida and living off their pensions is not so popular with the Irish heading off to Southern Europe but the French and Germans do it with - fly South in the winter and the winter of their lives. I wonder do proportionately more of them do it than us? The English are good enough at it too but we don't seem to be that into it.

Living in a trailer park would definitely suit someone single, with no children but the bias might be against families.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:03 pm

johnfás wrote:
Squire wrote:
I employ a 'Planning Officer' (Health and Safety Planning Officer) he assesseses the health and safety risks and regesters the project. A document of his is sent to the tenderers who price for that risk and the successful one in turn produces a report on how he will address the issues. So by this means the responsibility is transferred back to the contractor where it rightly belongs.

Employer's Liability for Occupational Injuries is a non delegable responsibility under Irish Tort Law. Even if you employ a third party to oversee safety of your site, negligence can and will attach to the employer in a case of reasonably foreseeable damage resulting from an employer's negligence or under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
You should try telling Mr Scummy McDodgybuilder that. 
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:32 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Is there no market for a trailer trash culture here at all in Ireland? With this bit of good weather I could feel like living in a caravan again.

Seriously, we have a traveller culture why don't we have a viable and respected trailer park/side of the road/middle of the river corner of the market?

The question is, Auditor, should we be aspiring to a trailer trash culture at all? Mind you, it's one thing living in a souped-up, modified RV in a "facilities on-site" car park in Santa Barbara. A quite different experience is "wintering" in a second hand caravan in a lay-by in Carrickboy, Co. Longford.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:15 pm

I can't understand why no one makes a properly insulated trailer. I know some Travellers and they say it freezes at night in the winter. Its one of the reasons for high child mortality with chest infections.

I would have thought it would be easy enough to do something double skinned and well insulated and properly ventilated.

Campervans are not cheap. I looked into getting one to use as a base for a project a few years back and the one I wanted was over €100,000.

Quite a lot of people in the US, Britain and here live in cars. It is an invisible problem, unless you are looking out for it. I suppose it is something there are no statistics for.
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PostSubject: Re: Housing and the Economy   Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:17 pm

cookiemonster wrote:
johnfás wrote:
Squire wrote:
I employ a 'Planning Officer' (Health and Safety Planning Officer) he assesseses the health and safety risks and regesters the project. A document of his is sent to the tenderers who price for that risk and the successful one in turn produces a report on how he will address the issues. So by this means the responsibility is transferred back to the contractor where it rightly belongs.

Employer's Liability for Occupational Injuries is a non delegable responsibility under Irish Tort Law. Even if you employ a third party to oversee safety of your site, negligence can and will attach to the employer in a case of reasonably foreseeable damage resulting from an employer's negligence or under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
You should try telling Mr Scummy McDodgybuilder that. 

Ah, auld DodgeBodge. Would you know him yourself?
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