The need to create quality builds

  • 21 Oct 2015

Following the Government’s pledge to create 200,000 starter homes by 2020, housebuilders are being encouraged to showcase the range of high-quality homes that will be made available for first-time buyers. With this in mind, Sarah White, residential market manager at British Gypsum, discusses the equal importance of quality and quantity…

It is no secret that the UK is still going through a housing crisis. Only last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of housing completions has more than halved since the 1970’s, despite the UK population continuing to rise. This means the recently elected Government is under substantial pressure to cater for the high demand.   

While it is vital that new homes are built, there is a real need for architects, developers and housebuilders to produce well-constructed properties and not compromise on quality.Lifestyle Wall image 5

In light of this, the announcement from Greg Clark, Communities Secretary, that the Government has launched a £26m fund for housebuilders to increase the quality of design has been welcomed.   

The cost of a property and whether it is in a good location are obvious decision making factors when it comes to purchasing a house. However, a survey commissioned by British Gypsum of 2,000 UK adults found that they also want peace of mind that their home will be built using the latest techniques guaranteed by the housebuilder.

In fact, six out of ten people admitted that they’d opt for a brand new home as they are safer and more secure in construction – that’s versus four out of ten who would choose a new build for financial reasons.   

However, according to a survey conducted by the HomeOwners Alliance, it was also discovered that only one in five Brits would prefer to buy a new build home, with the majority citing that they believed the homes were poorly built. There is a challenge, therefore, for housebuilders to try and change this perception.   

From the standard of flooring to the quality of walls, the only way the problem can be solved is by using products which support the creation of quality interior space in new-build properties. 

People today require functional and attractive rooms that adapt to the changing requirements of the occupants. Products which support design flexibility allow housebuilders to offer customers high-quality spaces.   

A product has been created through the development of a new form of plasterboard which, with a reinforced core, is five times stronger than standard plasterboard. Installed in the same way as usual plasterboard, the solution allows homeowners to fit items, such as TVs or shelves, straight into the wall without specialist fixings or patressing.   

There is also a high chance that walls, particularly in family homes, will be subjected to bumps and knocks, which is why resistant walls that are durable must be given careful thought when designing the house. Lifestyle Wall image 4   

If there is scope for further flexibility, builders should also consider giving customers the option to choose more creative products. Magnetic plaster, which turns walls into interactive spaces, is an example of this type of product; an extremely desirable feature for occupants with young children, it enables them to accommodate their family life without needing to sacrifice space.   

Also, when it comes to improving the quality of walls in new builds, it is important to consider the issue of noise. No-one wants to hear the neighbours’ conversations next door, so products that ensure optimum sound insulation also need to be considered.   

Although there are obvious pressures to build new homes as quickly as possible and stick to budgets, research clearly highlights the demand from homeowners for the industry to improve the quality of new projects.   

It is clear that the only way to improve the perception of new builds is to use quality products to help the properties stand out against period homes.   

It remains to be seen whether the housing crisis will be solved in the coming years, but the Government’s recent commitment has certainly raised optimism that it is serious about improving the quality of modern homes in the UK. 

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