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Paul Lewis

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Comments (9)

  • Comment on: Revealed: 10 winning solutions to London's housing crisis

    Paul Lewis's comment 12 October, 2015 10:46 am

    I can't see how any of these solutions solve the housing crisis without eating into greenbelt or building above public buildings (imagine the logistics and costs!) The minimum space standards and having to build 50 sqm is the problem. Most people trying to get their first property don't need 50 sqm. When buildings are built and sold by the sqm, space costs. Make starter flats 30 sqm of very well designed space instead of 50 sqm of badly designed space and the costs are reduced by 40% and there are more properties available to buy, simple! I am not, by the way, implying that families live in 30 sqm, singles and couples can however and 30 sqm is affordable and environmentally efficient. There will then be more larger properties available for families. On top of this CIL / S106 / affordable housing contributions, all taxes added by the government only add to housing costs and affordability, scrap them on starter flats under 30 sqm and amend the minimum space standards!

  • Comment on: Fraser blames fee levels and tick-box procurement for demise

    Paul Lewis's comment 4 September, 2015 9:52 am

    Unfortunately it nearly always comes down to costs, especially with housing. This is where design gets pushed out and is considered an additional expense.

    Taking the Scotland issue out of the equation and looking at a typical 3 bed developer house in outer London the developer costs are colossal and all created by government.

    In Merton the offset affordable housing payment is £71,000 per house. Cil payments in parts of London are £575 per sqm plus mayoral of £50 sqm. That is an additional £60,000 in tax per new house. Add on again the S106 payments which are typically £10,000 per house and that adds up to £141,000 in tax per house.

    This does not take into account the cost of land, construction and professional fees, never mind corporation tax on profits. All this squeezes design down to the minimum and causes low quality materials to be used with minimal allowance for carbon reducing measures to be incorporated.

    As architects we are fighting a losing battle created by government. We either take work from developers and accept our design advice and recommendations will bear little weight or stick to our guns, like Malcolm Fraser bravely appears to have done, and suffer the consequences.

    Unfortunately when the ultimate aim of development is profit and the taxes imposed by government are so high then architecture and quality not be of primary importance to developers and the architects value to the project will decrease.

  • Comment on: Space standards adopted in radical shake-up for homes

    Paul Lewis's comment 30 March, 2015 3:15 pm

    Yes Michael, good point, not forgetting the S106 payments (tax) and the CIL payments (tax). S106 payments including payments for education, NHS, roads, open spaces and other services typically add up to around £10,000 per dwelling.

    CIL payments in Wandsworth are £575sqm and £50sqm for Mayoral. So that's another £60,000 on to the cost of each house in Government taxes which are passed on to the purchaser.

    On top of this affordable housing must be provided at offset costs of £71,000 per 3 bed dwelling (Merton affordable housing calculator tool). Add all that up and its an additional £141,000 per dwelling.

    In addition the amount of information, consultant reports and time required to make a planning application are all adding more cost (payed for by the purchaser).

    So take the additional £131,000 in badly designed over sized dwellings and add to the £141,000 in taxes and that makes an overall government levy of £272,000 PER 3 BED HOUSE! This is simply not sustainable. The government asks why no houses are being built, well there is the answer, who can afford to pay those additional taxes (and lets not forget stamp duty). The minimum space standards do not help, housing policy is out of control, radical change is required!

  • Comment on: Space standards adopted in radical shake-up for homes

    Paul Lewis's comment 30 March, 2015 1:55 pm

    Ian / Industry Professional,

    The whole point is people have to be able to get on the housing ladder and dictating how much space you MUST purchase is wrong. Of course people have children but it does not mean we need to build inefficient houses. If we build to these space standards a new 3b / 5p house / apartment in the SE of England will cost a minimum of £800,000! Most people cannot afford that and will be forced into sub-standard rented accommodation or away from the areas they live, work and go to school in. This fractures communities and increases commuting times / CO2 production and worsens family life. In order for young people to get a start in life smaller accommodation needs to be available, which they can sell on later. The space standards make the situation of most people in the SE worse off and this has not been considered. These £800,000+ dwellings will only be purchased by overseas investors and rented at extortionate rates to those who cannot obtain a mortgage for them. My point was the mini was, and still is, a very well packaged starter car for a family on a budget. This is the accommodation we need in the SE of England.

  • Comment on: Space standards adopted in radical shake-up for homes

    Paul Lewis's comment 30 March, 2015 10:19 am

    This is the worst concept ever. What architects should be promoting is good design not minimum space standards. Any good architect should be capable of designing a 35sqm dwelling for 2 people. What is the point of 50sqm? Houses and apartments are already too expensive and dwellings are sold by the sq.ft. 50sqm / 540 sqft at £800 (current average Balham / Highbury prices) is £432,000. Anyone can make a 1 bed flat with 50sqm work, with clever design this can easily be reduced to 35 sqm by just eliminating a corridor. This would bring prices down to £301,000. Why should we be FORCED by these space standards to pay an additional £131,000 for a corridor? In addition mortgage companies typically charge 4x the purchase amount meaning the corridor you have been FORCED to purchase will have cost you £524,000 over 25 years. Lets promote good design, Alec Issigonis radically changed car design with the Mini and architects should be doing the same. We have limited space and resources and the minimum space standards are a step backwards towards the gas guzzling American V8 cars, not forwards.

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