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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
After nearly a decade of writing about home information packs and home condition reports (HCRs) in these columns it looks as if they are finally going to come into being – or are they? June 2007 is the date set for full implementation of the scheme and after that date anyone failing to compile a pack (to include a HCR) before marketing a home in England or Wales will be liable to a fine. However, the Government estimate that we will need about 7,400 home inspectors to carry out this work (compared to the 2,500 or so residential surveyors currently working). So far only a handful of people have gained the necessary qualification and it is difficult to see where the 5,000 or so extra inspectors are likely to come from. Many existing residential surveyors have up to now shown little inclination to gain the new qualification. Concerns have been raised about the implementation of the scheme to large and/or historic buildings and about the insurance arrangements. Whatever arrangements for insurance are put in place, home inspectors will have to perform rather better than the current crop of residential surveyors if the insurance pot is not to be exhausted before the scheme is only a few years old. Given that the new recruits to this new profession may receive rather basic training they may not even perform as well as residential surveyors currently do. We are in for some interesting times! Let us hope that the new legislation is more effective than the ‘ban’ on fox hunting. If it is not, there could be chaos in the housing market or yet more widespread flouting of the law.
Papers in this issue
In their important paper on defects in new homes Sommerville and McCosh present the results of a study of nearly 1,700 new homes. One of these houses had a frightening and mind-blowing 389 defects! A very interesting mathematical model is developed to predict the number of defects a new home may have – based purely on the number of bedrooms. Alan Scott presents another of his illuminating papers on the roof coverings of vernacular buildings – this time in the North York Moors National Park. Hassanien explores hotel renovation projects based on case study hotels located in Egypt while Hassanain and Al-Mudhei present a checklist for assessing the fire safety of petrol stations. Finally Wong and his colleagues from Hong Kong University present a method of assessing the health and safety of residential buildings in the Special Administrative Region.