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The English housing market: Pressures for change and barriers to innovation.

The successful application of innovative construction requires an appreciation of the cultural, economic and regulatory context. The current drivers of innovation, barriers to change and attitudes of consumers are explored here.

Housing experimentation in England has been carried out largely in the public sector. Private house builders have prospered since the speculative housing boom of the 1930s by appealing to popular tastes in design and the conservatism of the English housebuyer. This has resulted in large volumes of popular and commercially successful housing, but, until recently, very little innovative practice.

Current conditions are making the conventional approach to speculative housing increasingly untenable. Demand for new housing is strengthening and conventional house types are becoming obsolete due to demographic change. Availability of the green field sites preferred by developers is decreasing, and regulations on energy use are tightening.
For more details, download Irresistible force? Pressures for change in English speculative housing.

A number of factors act to prevent housebuilders from innovating in response to these pressures. The planning system creates delays and encourages mediocrity, the house is more a financial investment than an efficient, functional dwelling.
For more details, download Immovable object? Barriers to innovation in English speculative housing

A very particular aspect of the English housing market is consumer resistance to 'prefab', partly the result of previous technical and social failures and partly due to the lack of choice in the market place.
For more details, download Steel frame or concrete block inner leaf? Consumer survey

"Choice modelling" techniques make it possible to estimate the value that house buyers would put on houses built with steel frame compared to those built 'traditionally' (with a brick/block cavity wall). A choice modelling experiment was caried out in Jan/Feb 2004 to tackle this question. The experiment and results were described in an academic paper delivered to the July 2004 European Network for Housing Research conference in Cambridge.
For more details, download the paper.

Irresistible force? Pressures for change in English speculative housing. Cast Research Jnl 2 (2000)

Immovable object? Barriers to innovation in English speculative housing Cast Research Jnl 3 (2000)

Steel frame or concrete block inner leaf? Consumer survey Nottingham Trent University (2004)

Consumer response to steel frame housing: A choice modelling experiment enhr (2004) conference paper

 

 

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