Build prefabricated houses

Discussion in 'Housing and mortgage arrears - policy issues' started by Purple, 11 Sep 2017.

  1. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: 11 Sep 2017
    That would be a disgraceful subsidy of an industry which concentrates on political lobbying rather than just being good at doing its job.
    The solution is for the State to buy in factory built homes from major European supplier and have them erect those homes. That would avoid the labour supply constraints on the private sector which would otherwise be caused by a massive State house building program. We'd also end up with a superior quality product.
    Have a look at this site for what can be achieved using 21st century building methods (or even 1970's building methods as opposed to the 1870's methods we use).
    Look at that site and ask yourself what it would cost if the State was buying 60,000 units based on five or 6 base designs.
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2017
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  2. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    I've already offered a solution; the State buys houses from Eu suppliers and has those EU suppliers assemble them here. If there aren't enough EU suppliers then use American suppliers. That way we don't put demand pressure, and therefore price pressure, on local labour but rather increase the supply by importing it. That sould depress demand and so reduce local labour costs. We need to be able to build a fully finished 1400 Square food house for well under €60,000. Site costs, taxes, levies etc go on top of that but the construction cost should be less than half what it is at the moment.
     
  3. letitroll

    letitroll Frequent Poster

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    Purple see your wedded to this pre-fab EU supplier housing as THE solution. Sounds great as I said, an amazing innovation in house building & supply and I look forward to seeing them all over Ireland in the future because even in the EU where your EU suppliers are they aren't that common, which suggests something about the solution or peoples willingness to live inside the solution, perhaps now or in the future it could supply a few 1000's houses we unfortunately need by some estimates 50,000 per year. Unfortunately we don't live in the future and the focus should be supplying houses in the way we've done so safely and consistently for 100's of years - building them on site while welcoming every innovation we can into the process. As I said I'm not wedded to one solution - VAT removal is an important one but one of many - planning / zoning another, infrastructure spending another, higher density units, increased public transport etc. etc.

    *Side note and in jest - Germany makes our cars, lets not have them make our houses too. I like Irish suppliers, Irish labour, Irish profits.....and if not Irish happy for our Eastern European neighbors to come back here in droves and help us solve this problem
     
  4. fidelcastro

    fidelcastro Registered User

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    In some countries particularly the Nordics, houses are assembled in a factory before assembly on site. These houses are far far superior to on site construction techniques found here in terms of quality using modern materials and production control. Its easier to control a right angle using a laser controlled saw than an Irish builder on a Friday morning;).

    They are not called modular or pre fab. Just called a house.

    Fidel
     
  5. letitroll

    letitroll Frequent Poster

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    Sounds good - like i said sign me up to factory assembled homes. I love cheaper, quicker, better quality things. Just not seeing it providing 50k homes in 2019/2020 and I guess before it turned into a housing construction methodology thread we were discussing how to meet the demand, through policy, for the 50,000 homes per year Ireland needs from the 5,000 -10,000 housing run rate we have now. Housing production innovation, lets call it that, I'm all for it and more of it.

    The oldest trick in the book, however, incentivizing someone to provide housing through the profit motive has proven to work very well indeed over time and that profit motive will work just fine for housing assemblers as well as traditional developers.
     
  6. fidelcastro

    fidelcastro Registered User

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    I think modern mass production facilities can easily gear up to meet demand, much much faster than the Irish building sector can. As well as supplying top quality rather than poor quality housing stock, it addresses the bottlenecks of speed, affordability, lack of tradesmen and so forth.
    Oops I forgot, the vested interests!! concrete is better built! And local objections from the snobs, scared from their years schooling in sub standard classrooms.
    Purple's idea is a fine one. It therefore doesn't stand a chance.
    Fidel.
     
  7. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

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    Hard to imagine these 'factory assembled homes' lasting several generations as conventional housing should.
     
  8. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    Why?
    They should last 100 years or so.
     
  9. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    Done right, they can outlast them while all the time significantly out-performing them in thermal efficiency and air quality.
     
  10. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

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    Hmmm. When we built our house 20-odd years ago, we swallowed similar spin about a "revolutionary" new way to have the house plastered. Expensive lesson.

    More generally, durability is the first thing you need in a house. The 'built-to-last' prefabrications of earlier decades are, in general, aging rather badly.
     
  11. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    They've been building them in Germany since the 1940's and in the USA for around the same length of time.

    Unless we find a way of increasing supply any cuts to VAT or any other incentive will just push up prices. This is what happens when a sector is driven by crony capitalism and self interest groups and is not open to the market forces which cause incremental improvements in efficiency.
     
  12. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

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    You mean East Germany and Detroit? o_O

    The building sector is only currently driven by crony capitalism and self interest groups because government over-regulation has forced so many independent builders out of the market.

    And I don't see how cuts in VAT can push up prices? If they make some currently more marginal projects viable, this should increase supply.
     
  13. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    My experience of seeing these homes in the USA was in Rockport, Massachusetts, Houston, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.
    I've aslo seen them all over Germany.

    Right, Section 23, Section 27 and all that stuff, the CIF and an ex-PD minister don't spend their time looking for tax breaks instead of just building things better and cheaper.

    Ok, but they won't reduce prices.
     
  14. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

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    Were these properties all circa 70 years old?

    All things of the distant past.

    Which is why I said "The building sector is only currently driven by crony capitalism and self interest groups because government over-regulation has forced so many independent builders out of the market."

    Thanks for confirming that they won't actually increase prices.
     
  15. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    No. What's your point?
    The house I live in now is about 50 years old and it's falling apart. It was built the old fashioned way; crappy Irish builders using some materials that last hundreds of years and others that rot in a few decades. Like most Irish houses it's over built and under engineering.

    All things that have led up to a point where we have a dysfunctional sector failing the country.

    I think that's nonsense as, like most things in life, a snap shot tells us very little about the why of a situation.

    It may not. It will just increase profits and yet again stunt the development of the sector as they will be protected from real open market forces. It will just be more crony capitalism driven by self interest groups.
    Here's an idea for the construction sector; stop moaning and crying like a bunch of little girls and get better at doing your job!
     
  16. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

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    Last edited: 12 Sep 2017
    If the walls and roof were built of durable materials, it should be ok. Everything else is maintenance.

    These two statements seem to contradict each other. The choking of Irish house building by over-regulation and punitive tax policy has persisted for the past decade and can hardly be dismissed as a snapshot. Neither can the resulting endemic dysfunction.

    The horror.

    Good idea. Do nothing and hope that the problem solves itself before, as Keynes said, we are all dead.
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2017
  17. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    The roof is made of wood, just like factory built homes. There is no technical or engineering reason not to make houses that way. They are superior quality and last for decades.

    Over regulation? Are you serious? Self certification for fire standards etc can hardly be called over regulation. Decades of tax breaks followed by the same tax environment enjoyed by/ foisted upon, every other business in the country can hardly be called punitive.

    No, just not the reason the industry lobby puts forward when pushing for this special treatment.

    How is becoming more efficient and embracing manufacturing techniques from the latter half of the Twentieth Century be regarded as doing nothing?
    Crony Capitalism and political lobbying has rendered the industry bloated and inefficient and not fit for purpose. The result is homelessness and a stagnated sector. We have the choice of stuffing more money down the necks of Irish builders of using a cheaper option which is of superior quality and can deliver faster. I think we should go with the latter option.
     
  18. odyssey06

    odyssey06 Frequent Poster

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    We've actually had a situation where the government relaxed building regulations... and gave the Minister for Environment the power to overrule councils... an open admission that the earlier standards were unrealistic.
    I think certain Dublin councils used the ridiculously high standards as a deliberate way of discouraging building on their massive land banks.

    So yes, there is over-regulation in terms of what is on paper.
    An honest builder trying to build to that standard, well of course it is going to jack up the price.
    And there is under-regulation in terms of what was actually built.
    So a builder cutting corners can get away with Priory Hall situations, declare bankruptcy and leave the state picking up the tab and residents left in a dreadful situation.

    I'd be perfectly happy in a building that actually meets 1990 standards.
    I don't want to be in a building that on paper has some of the highest standards in the world... and is actually a fire trap.
     
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  19. fidelcastro

    fidelcastro Registered User

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    Which is why I said "The building sector is only currently driven by crony capitalism and self interest groups because government over-regulation has forced so many independent builders out of the market."

    I think you'll find, and you should know, the reason for so called builders going bust is the Irish Financial crash starting in 2007. Only certain ex Taoisigh would assert "over regulation" as being a cause, whether that applies to building regulations or the financial sector. Phrases such as "sustainable development is development which can be sustained" come to mind.

    It may be true, the housing stock in the GDR was of poor quality, brought on by a corrupt inefficient system. Sounds familiar?
    If your fortunate to live or visit cities like Berlin or indeed Dresden, you'll find they, unlike ourselves have excellent, modern house's with high comfort levels.
    At least they are not gifting their wealth to our " friends" in Riyadh, when you pay your winter gas, electric bills due a housing stock which has the prize of by far, the worst thermal efficiency in kWh/m2 than any, of the north & western European countries, Britain included.

    Purple its time to give up. Your idea is a good one to overcoming the local impediments. The reaction here only validates the statement "it doesn't stand a chance".

    19 months is time quoted by Dublin city manager on RTE interview to build a "modular" house in Dublin. You must be having a laugh.

    Fidel.
     
  20. T McGibney

    T McGibney Frequent Poster

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    I'm not talking about the builders who went bust. I'm talking about the ones who did well from the boom (remember while there were losers, there were many winners too) but who have since wound down their housebuilding operations or transferred them abroad as a response to government measures post-crash to effectively stamp out both new housebuilding and residential property investment.

    Not true. I have made that assertion. And I'm not an ex-Taoiseach.


    ps Please don't write in italics. Nobody else does so around here and it makes your post more difficult to read.