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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
It is exactly 7 years since I sat down to write my first editorial for “Structural Survey” and that first piece was all about a then recently published government consultation paper entitled “The Key to Easier Home Buying and Selling”. Now at last the legislation envisaged by that consultation paper is on the statute book. There have been many false dawns in the birth of these changes and we are still several years away from seeing a Home Condition Report being prepared every time a home is marketed in England and Wales. The Housing Bill received Royal Assent on 19 November 2004 and the government describes it as “a major reform of the private housing sector, improving the protection of vulnerable tenants, overhauling home buying and selling and regulating estate agents”.
However in a last minute concession to critics of the controversial home information packs, in the run up to the final reading of the bill in the House of Lords, the government introduced the proposal to allow a dry run of the scheme.
The government plans to institute a national, voluntary 6 month “dry-run” of the home information packs in summer 2006. A government statement says: “This is not a trial or a pilot, it is a dry run which will give an opportunity for the industry to test its new systems and processes in a full home information packs environment in the run-up to introduction of the statutory scheme across England and Wales from the beginning of 2007”. It seems that the surveying industry and those planning to educate and train the many thousands of Home Inspectors required, can at last commit to the changes, but there may still be nagging doubts about that “dry run” in the back of our minds. Meanwhile the conservative opposition has pledged to suspend the packs' introduction immediately if it is elected before the packs become mandatory. I have a feeling that this story will run and run.
Expanded Editorial Advisory Board
Eagle-eyed observers will have noticed that the EAB of the journal has some new members. I am delighted to welcome Professor Malcolm Bell of Leeds Metropolitan University, Professor Michael Chew of the National University of Singapore, Professor Charles Egbu of Glasgow Caledonian University, and Sara Wilkinson of Melbourne University onto the Board. This is part of a drive to increase the international focus of the journal and further appointments will follow shortly.
Papers in this issue
This issue has an international flavour with two papers from England and one each from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Scotland! Charles Egbu and his colleagues' paper, deals with a crucial part of the surveying practice's work – how to manage the knowledge within it. Edward Yiu's paper on the amazingly high incidence of unauthorised building works in one of the most densely populated places on earth makes fascinating reading. My colleague Ian Frame presents his own software modelling tool to evaluate the annual energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from non-domestic buildings. My building surveying students at APU are always raving about how fantastic this software is and it is clear from reading his paper that this tool has considerable potential for industrial use. Factors affecting construction labour productivity for Malaysian residential projects by Kadir et al. will be of interest to anyone involved with the management of construction projects and Steve Donohoe presents a review of recent legal case and its implications for anyone involved with adjudication.