Modern house building as we know it today has gone through major changes over the years, from the materials used to build new homes to the technical specifications and building regulations requirements which are now in place.
In Wales, building regulations have become more rigid over the years to ensure that high standards are maintained throughout the new build process. For example, it is now part of the legal regulations to fit sprinklers for fire protection and insulation requirements are greater than those required in England. Generally speaking, building processes change in line with legislation which can take some time due to new materials and practices being trialled and evaluated before being introduced. Huw Evans, Production Director at Taylor Wimpey South Wales, gives his three major industry changes in building new homes and how this has transformed over the years.
Higher specification of materials
More and more building items are now being pre-made and factory finished before they arrive on site meaning that they are assembled and painted in ideal conditions. In recent times, advanced machinery has been introduced to take the pressure off tradesmen assembling and finishing items on site whilst other work is going on around them.
A number of the products used in Taylor Wimpey homes are produced in this way including stair handrails, balustrades and internal doors which are proven to be more robust and longer-lasting.
Complicated items, such as hot water cylinders, are manufactured with the necessary plumbing valves and pipework, and are certified before being installed in each new home.
New build homes now incorporate a lot more insulation, designed to be as airtight as possible to ensure there is no heat loss through draughts and air holes. The thermal performance of each house is measured before handover as part of the building regulations requirement. Efficient items such as engineered joists have also been introduced which are less prone to shrinking than traditional timber joists, resulting in less cracking in new homes as they dry out.
To ensure that new build homes remain in keeping with the local architecture and landscape, the most commonly used materials are still brick, stone and render. At Taylor Wimpey’s Clare Garden Village development in Cowbridge, these materials are combined with unique contemporary features to deliver the three, four and five bedroom homes.
There is now a huge emphasis on quality, not just the finished product but during the whole construction process. During key stages of build from the foundations, superstructure, roof and before plasterboarding, external building inspectors check to make sure that work has been carried out correctly and that no defects are being covered up. Thorough checks are carried out by our own site management teams, and are supported by the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) and the National House-Building Council (NHBC).
Site management teams are also be recognised for the work that they do through awards presented by the LABC and NHBC. Awards, such as the LABC Excellence Award which rewards excellent buildings, outstanding companies, partnerships and individuals that go that extra mile, acknowledge quality in all types of building projects.
To recognise the efforts at Clare Garden Village, Chris Jones, Senior Site Manager and his team have recently been nominated for an LABC Excellence Award 2019 and winners will be announced on 24th January 2020.
Ultimately, the changes in building control, materials used and specifications have improved the way modern homes are built.
Taylor Wimpey has recently been awarded a 5* rating by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) for customer satisfaction which is based on homeowner feedback. This feedback is gathered in an independent National New Homes Survey is designed to provide home buyers with information to help guide their purchasing decision and to encourage home builders to deliver excellent levels of service.