Four Steel Walls:

Housing market

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Consumer choice modelling: What is steel frame worth to

house buyers?

"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


For more details, download the paper.

Selling steel houses

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

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,

factors which are too often ignored in the development of new

housebuilding methods. Housing experimentation in England has

been carried out largely in the public sector. Private house

builders, by contrast, 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