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Bridgeman

Quality of houses

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so......if you're buying a house in Oz, who would you emply to check it out and notify you (in plain Oz), areas of concern...........certainly holes in the floor would raise my eyebrow!

 

I can vouch for the gaps in the floor. In our old house (shudder) which was 50 year old weatherboard bungalow, you could see through the holes in the floor and see daylight. Like most weatherboards its built on wooden 'stumps'. It literally sits on top of them. If a tsunami came through the area it would float out to sea. At least new builds now appear to be built on a concrete base.

 

As for the insulation, there was none. Weatherboard on the outside, wooden frame in the middle, plasterboard on the inside. Thats it. Peering up into the roofspace was an eye opener, again no insulation, and a great big gap under the eves. It was windy up there!

This in an area where it dips down to zero degrees during winter. I suspect there are HUGE numbers of houses in Vic with the same degree of insulation.

 

Our current house is also weatherboard (70 years old, historic) but does at least have a thin layer of aluminium foil insulation in the walls and under the floor, and lagging in the roof.


My Brain Hurts!

 

 

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If a place has one extreme season I think houses are geared towards that and generally perform less well if the opposite season is a relatively mld one. For example in the uk it is cold enough that insulation/heating is mandatory, walls are thick, rooms are pokey for heating etc, but can be very poor places to live when it is hot...stuffy, small windows, poor outdoor options etc. Another example is where I live in Brisbane...the original houses are geared towards heat and would be out of place in a cold climate as generally poor defence from the cold, poor heating options etc.

 

Our houses are on high stumps for overland water flow and breezes, have cross flow air design in the room layout and window position, provide elevated outdoor living on large, high, covered verandahs, survive tropical storm events, protect from termites, have high ceilings etc but they would be ridiculous in the uk just as a uk style house would be a poor choice in my street. The design, lightweight construction materials and methods are geared towards the hot, stormy season, not insulation from the very mild winter. Though things like gaps in the floor are usually only in the cheaper houses and many do not have this.

 

Obviously I am talking about older houses and their design not just construction but I often think one instructs the other.

Edited by fish.01

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so......if you're buying a house in Oz, who would you emply to check it out and notify you (in plain Oz), areas of concern...........certainly holes in the floor would raise my eyebrow!

 

A professional pre purchase inspection builder.

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Yeah, the ones that are still there, are still there. The ones that used to be there and now aren't, err, aren't

 

See what I mean? You can't say "not one of them has fallen down" because it's quite likely - indeed almost certain - that some of the older ones have done exactly that and been replaced, you just don't know that because they're not there

 

.......

 

 

 

I can see what you mean but if your suburb is choc full of original 1920's/1930's houses with relatively few newer houses surely that says most do not fall down in a short time?

Edited by fish.01

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When choosing to build a new house the majority (not all) go for the untreated timber frame rather than the treated timber or steel frame. They would rather spend their money on something they can see. Therefore giving the house a lesser life expectancy.

 

Andy

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Guest Shell15
Here in the UK we expect to be able to walk around indoors toastie warm even when it's freezing outside....I really do think that Aussies have lower expectations in most things....in theory you could say that's why they are so happy and we are miserable buggers...but it is really difficult not to challenge things when as a nation it's what we are used to doing.

Here in the UK we live in an Edwardian house which has no double glazing what so ever due to the characteristics of our property - lead light windows etc.. it is absolutely freezing in the winter. We could double glaze or secondary glaze but have decided not to as those characteristics are what we fell in love with when we bought it. We rug up every winter and all cuddle around the fire to keep warm, and to be honest have become used to it. Its not just Australian properties that have dont have insulation, the period homes in the UK are exactly the same..

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Here in the UK we live in an Edwardian house which has no double glazing what so ever due to the characteristics of our property - lead light windows etc.. it is absolutely freezing in the winter. We could double glaze or secondary glaze but have decided not to as those characteristics are what we fell in love with when we bought it. We rug up every winter and all cuddle around the fire to keep warm, and to be honest have become used to it. Its not just Australian properties that have dont have insulation, the period homes in the UK are exactly the same..

 

It's not just the glazing, it's the lack of insulation and tiled floors and lack of heating. It's rare you see that anywhere in the UK....most houses have somesort of central heating and insulation.

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Guest Shell15

We don't have insulation, it was built in 1910 and its still in its original state, the walls cannot be insulated because they have flemished bond brick work and there is no cavity, like alot of properties around here. We do have central heating but the heat just escapes..

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It's not just the glazing, it's the lack of insulation and tiled floors and lack of heating. It's rare you see that anywhere in the UK....most houses have somesort of central heating and insulation.

 

With regards to heating I presume weather has to be at an extreme before things become mandatory. It is obviously cold enough in the UK to make these things non optional. Would probably be optional in the UK as well if it was not as cold.

Edited by fish.01

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With regards to heating I presume weather has to be at an extreme before things become mandatory. It is obviously cold enough in the UK to make these things non optional. Would probably be optional in the UK as well if it was not as cold.

 

I'm saying from experience of living in Oz the houses are freezing in winter.....generally speaking in the UK they aren't. Many Aussies I met and family over there accepted the fact that they just had to live in the cold....but really didn't like it. They seem to have a form of acceptance in Oz about a lot of things that we don't have. My house here in the UK is nearly 100 years old my last one was 200 years old...very draughty but nothing like a new build in Oz.

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I'm saying from experience of living in Oz the houses are freezing in winter.....generally speaking in the UK they aren't. Many Aussies I met and family over there accepted the fact that they just had to live in the cold....but really didn't like it. They seem to have a form of acceptance in Oz about a lot of things that we don't have. My house here in the UK is nearly 100 years old my last one was 200 years old...very draughty but nothing like a new build in Oz.

 

My house is not freezing in winter and nor are the houses of any of my friends, maybe you have heard about "central heating". We had central heating in our house in Aus in the seventies and we have central heating in this house. We also have cooling and living on a slab with lots of insulation we have very very good climate control. Of course maybe Victoria is ahead of other States :laugh:

 

Unfortunately older houses that are rentals are not so nice but I imagine that is the same most places in the world as people do not want to spend on investment properties they just want the dosh.

 

There are inspection services people can employ to inspect a house before buying it to see that the house is up to scratch.


Petals

:ssign15:taking no prisoners :wink:

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I'm saying from experience of living in Oz the houses are freezing in winter.....generally speaking in the UK they aren't. Many Aussies I met and family over there accepted the fact that they just had to live in the cold....but really didn't like it. They seem to have a form of acceptance in Oz about a lot of things that we don't have. My house here in the UK is nearly 100 years old my last one was 200 years old...very draughty but nothing like a new build in Oz.

 

Agree but think it is because of the weather, not a different "form of acceptance" people take. For example in the UK I would have loved a/c on some summer days (and a totally different designed house) but accepted that it was not extreme enough, often enough to warrant installation. But there is no way I would have accepted no central heating for the extreme winter.

 

I live in Brisbane and have ducted air con in my 1930's house but rarely turn it on in winter. The house is well sealed. A blanket over the knees is enough for me on the coldest nights and a UK style central heating system would be overkill for me. A well designed house has outdoor living areas that face the winter sun rather than sitting in a cold house.

 

I guess my point is that it takes an extreme weather condition before climate controlled houses become mandatory...if you live in a milder climate you accept living with what nature gives you more because you can, not because you have any extra inbuilt tolerance. I recognise that this is one of the challenges of changing climates mid life though.

Edited by fish.01

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My house is not freezing in winter and nor are the houses of any of my friends, maybe you have heard about "central heating". We had central heating in our house in Aus in the seventies and we have central heating in this house. We also have cooling and living on a slab with lots of insulation we have very very good climate control. Of course maybe Victoria is ahead of other States :laugh:

 

Unfortunately older houses that are rentals are not so nice but I imagine that is the same most places in the world as people do not want to spend on investment properties they just want the dosh.

 

There are inspection services people can employ to inspect a house before buying it to see that the house is up to scratch.

 

This illustrates my point. In Victoria where it is far colder than QLD less people accept living without it, though it is still not mandatory for all like the colder still uk. How cold it is dictates things.

Edited by fish.01

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I have read some discussion about the shoddy quality of Australian houses, especially in WA where apparently new houses are only expected to last 17 years. Don't want to spend our hard earned money on something that's not going to last a bit longer than that.

 

Is this the same in all states, or are some houses in other states better built? What about older houses?

 

To answer the original question, it depends, there are well built houses and not so well built houses. There are plenty of forums here where you can find out all about housing construction and whether people are happy or not

 

http://forum.homeone.com.au/viewforum.php?f=1

 

Since we have had self regulation I believe that there are more disgruntled new home owners it was a lot different previously. That does not mean that all homes are rubbish they are not and you get what you pay for. A house is a big investment and in my view not one that needs to be skimped on and if you want bigger for cheaper then its going to be skimped. Individual builders are a lot more expensive than spec building companies who have basic plans etc. Old houses are old house and a lot of them are timber and can be mine fields, so if looking to buy an old victorian say which needs renovation it will need $$$$$$$$$ spent on it. The houses that are about 30 years old probably have ceiling insulation but no wall insulation but need to check that out. Insulation can be put in on renovation so its not a big problem if the house is the right price in my opinion and in the right location. Inspection services will advise what needs to be done, termites can be a problem in older homes, and some new ones so that is something to have checked prior to purchase as the damage they do can be big bucks to fix.

 

The councils building departments are very helpful and they have brochures for people to help them with buildings. Also Consumer Affairs departments have a lot of down loadable information.

 

When purchasing remember you get the land but the house on it is like the used car comes warts and all.


Petals

:ssign15:taking no prisoners :wink:

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Guest The Ropey HOFF

Regards to the heating throughout winter, don't most new houses have a dual air con and heating system? And i wondered how effective they are, both for heat and for air con. I pay the equivalent of nearly $4,000 per year for my gas and electric here in the uk and i won't skimp on keeping warm.

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Guest km75

I'll be looking for a house with mains gas to get my heating!! I think it's crazy they gear the houses up for the heat but not the cold; I think you need heating more days than you need air con (well in the five years I lived in Sydney) Reverse Cycle air con works, but is expensive!

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Regards to the heating throughout winter, don't most new houses have a dual air con and heating system? And i wondered how effective they are, both for heat and for air con. I pay the equivalent of nearly $4,000 per year for my gas and electric here in the uk and i won't skimp on keeping warm.

 

Reverse cycle air con and heating is a very expensive way to heat a house. We have gas central heating and we use two refrigerated air conditioner units which we only use on days when its extremely hot. On very hot days we find that if we keep the block out blinds and drapes drawn the house will stay cool till late in the day and we only have to use the aircon for a short time. In winter our heating comes on automatically at different times of the day to the temps we have set. We find that we need the heating early in the morning, it goes off about eight thirty in the morning and its set to come back on at four thirty in the afternoon. We also have a wood fire, so if its particularly cold in the day we light it. We also have ranch style home with verandas all the way around so our walls are shaded and in the winter they are protected also. With a steel roof the house also cools and heats quicker. Tile roofs in Aus get very hot and they retain the heat.

 

We also have solar panels so we actually do not pay much for electricity as we export a lot in the summer months.


Petals

:ssign15:taking no prisoners :wink:

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If you ever feel as though you need further incentive to stay in Oz, have a look at rightmove.co.uk

 

It's the most depressing website ever. If we were to go back and start again, based on what we could afford, the options are appalling.

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I can vouch for the gaps in the floor. In our old house (shudder) which was 50 year old weatherboard bungalow, you could see through the holes in the floor and see daylight. Like most weatherboards its built on wooden 'stumps'. It literally sits on top of them. If a tsunami came through the area it would float out to sea. At least new builds now appear to be built on a concrete base.

 

As for the insulation, there was none. Weatherboard on the outside, wooden frame in the middle, plasterboard on the inside. Thats it. Peering up into the roofspace was an eye opener, again no insulation, and a great big gap under the eves. It was windy up there!

This in an area where it dips down to zero degrees during winter. I suspect there are HUGE numbers of houses in Vic with the same degree of insulation.

 

Our current house is also weatherboard (70 years old, historic) but does at least have a thin layer of aluminium foil insulation in the walls and under the floor, and lagging in the roof.

 

 

Asbestos

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Guest Guest66881

Older houses here (ours included) suffer from really poor window designs. They rattle when it gets really windy in some rooms are single glazed and are about as effective as ice cubes in hot coffee.

New windows and front door coming soon, as for warming a cold house here in winter, we have gas fire in living room and a couple of our old oil storage heaters from the Uk in bedrooms when it gets below 15c.:biggrin:

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I'm no expert but I'm guessing the build of houses here don't have to be the same quality as uk houses as they don't have to withstand the same extremes of weather as uk ones.

 

Having said that one of my mates in the uk recently had the whole side of his 5year old house collapse.

 

Also I'm sure you get a 30 year mortgage here, so they wouldn't lend the money if it was only supposed to last 17 years.

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I'm no expert but I'm guessing the build of houses here don't have to be the same quality as uk houses as they don't have to withstand the same extremes of weather as uk ones.

 

Having said that one of my mates in the uk recently had the whole side of his 5year old house collapse.

 

Also I'm sure you get a 30 year mortgage here, so they wouldn't lend the money if it was only supposed to last 17 years.

 

Unfortunately even though the mortgages are so long, does not guarantee a good build. Really do have to sit on the builders to get one. Painful clients always get the best service, should not be that way but it is I think. Unfortunately the guarantee given for a home is a limited guarantee and it pays to check the small print to see exactly what is covered. My friends had a house built and they went for the cheap but nice looking plan and then spent 5 years in and out of Court with the builder and solicitors and eventually settled after spending 25,000 dollars in fees they got 40,000. So many things wrong with the house. They still live in it and funnily enough the only thing that got fixed was the drainage under the house, its on stumps and sat in a pool of water in winter. They never bothered to fix other things.

 

Have seen a case where people ordered a house from a large building company and they built it with the wrong roof on it. The roof belonged to another in the range. Not much was done about it.

 

Building disputes are like family law a bottomless pit of money. So be careful and check everything whilst the build is going on. At one time the mortgagees used to check the buildings at every stage when money was to be released and I am not sure that they do that now.


Petals

:ssign15:taking no prisoners :wink:

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I'm no expert but I'm guessing the build of houses here don't have to be the same quality as uk houses as they don't have to withstand the same extremes of weather as uk ones.

 

 

It depends on the area and the local council and state building regulations. New builds in tropical areas have to be built to withstand cyclones, Some councils have particular standards for buildings in bush fire areas. And new builds in highland areas with frequent snow will have double glazing and high R rated insulation. Double glazing is quite common in my area now, although our winters aren't as cold as the UK (and the summers much milder than mainland Australia).

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