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ebuild is sad to announce its closure - it has become too time and resource intensive to develop, manage and maintain.

However, ebuild will remain on-line in archive mode (ie no posting facilties) for several weeks so that users can use it as an information resource.

Oh Yeah?

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#1 joiner


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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:07 AM


Not as long as local councils continue to maintain that the 'Decent Homes' standard is perfectly adequate for their housing stock. Basically, if it's habitable it meets the criteria.

Some English councils maintain that solid wall houses can't be insulated anywhere except in the roof. (Different in Scotland, as witness the work detailed in the CICStart series of webinars.)

Where windows are double-glazed there is often a single-glazed entry door and TWO air bricks in a pantry or kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.

As an example of how LAs narrow the scope of any improvement schemes, a recent case I was involved in brought to light the criteria for judging whether a kitchen or bathroom warranted improvement.

Kitchen "good condition" / bathroom "good condition" = not scheduled for work.

Kitchen "good condition" / bathroom "poor condition" = not scheduled for work.

Kitchen "poor condition" / bathroom "good condition" = not scheduled for work.

Kitchen "poor condition" / bathroom "poor condition" = scheduled for work ON EITHER KITCHEN OR BATHROOM BUT NOT BOTH.

Shortage of funds is cited. Fair enough. Has anyone in central government ever heard the word "priorities"? At least in so far as it doesn't relate directly to their election manifesto for the next election! :angry:

Edited by joiner, 27 March 2013 - 09:07 AM.

#2 jsharris


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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:39 AM

Scotland seems to have been way ahead of the rest of the UK in terms of building houses with good insulation and airtightness for some time. I was amazed at the thermal efficiency of our 1991 built house on the west coast. It was 100ft up, facing West to the North Channel of the Irish Sea, so in a very exposed position. Despite that the heating bill was around £150 a year for oil for the last year we lived there (1999). It was a timber framed kit house, imported from Norway, and was far and away the warmest house we've ever owned.

To some extent I can understand the position LAs are in. They are being given policies from central government and yet being squeezed financially so they cannot reasonably deliver those policies. I'm certain there is still a lot of waste within LAs that can be got rid of, but even so they seem to be struggling. There seems to be a generic management failing within local government, with a woeful lack of common sense being applied.

As an example of just how wasteful our local authority is, a nearby road and the saga of its repairs illustrate things quite well. As part of the last project I managed, I had to completely rebuild and resurface around 3km of B road (actually MOD owned road with permission granted for public use, but not a right of way). This road is an extension of the road I live on, which would be a cul de sac if the MOD gates are closed. The condition of our road is very poor. Last year the potholes were right through the surface and down to below the sub-base. As we knew that the LA were planning to resurface their bit of the road, the ~3km long cul de sac, we offered to do the whole job (6km in all) whilst we had all the plant on site (our 3km bit took 5 months, as it was a complete rip up and re-build from scratch). The cost to the LA of doing this would have been between 1/2 and 2/3rds of the cost they'd incur by doing it separately. Needless to say they declined our offer. Last year they resurfaced the road using a new quick set slurry surfacing machine. Two days later the entire surface layer (around 30 to 40mm) broke away, leaving the road strewn with rubble. They resurfaced it again, using the same process. This time it lasted for around 6 months before ripping away in large chunks and revealing the underlying potholes again. The road is now such that we get around 1 or 2 cars with damaged tyres/wheels every week from the potholes that have reappeared. The 3km length of road that we rebuilt is still perfect. I did a quick estimate of the cost, and it seems that the LA have spent around 1 1/2 times the cost they would have incurred by accepting our offer, plus they now need to resurface the road yet again. If they do a decent job this time they might get away with a total job cost of around 3 times that they could have incurred.

What saddens me is that there are some good people working within local authorities, people who see this sort of stupidity from their management every day, yet are powerless to do anything about it. Quite how we get local government to work efficiently and sensibly is beyond me. Without some serious changes then I can't see how the more sensible energy saving policies from central government that we all wish to see applied as quickly as possible are ever going to become reality.

#3 joiner


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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:05 AM

Bring back the old section gangers, who TOOK responsiblity for their section of road!

(Just dreaming.)

Supervision is the key and it's the function I thought elected councillors were there to serve - making sure their constituent's tax money was spent wisely on the things they wanted done.

But for the Bulgarian/Romanian obsession, UKIP would be looking more desirable by the day. :angry:

I wouldn't have thought of getting onto the Parish Council if it wasn't for certain events that made me mad as hell. Likewise the decision to stand in the county elections, being completely tossed around for two days trying to get a simple 'yes' or 'no' to a simple question from the Highways Department. Offhand? Tell me about it. BIG ERROR.

Originally put up as official Conservative candidate, but the campaign was being taken over by the local constituency on behalf of the offical party line and local issues were getting marginalised. So stood down and now standing as an Independent with absolutely nothing to lose in confronting stupidity and indifference. THAT'S the value of democratically elected local lay people, especially if they've been kufced around by their local authority and want to confront the people who've done that.

What's surprised me is the upswell of support I've been getting. Everyone, so far, agrees that national party politics has no place in local government. It never used to have, or if it did it was marginal and barely noticeable, local concerns concentrating minds on what mattered. Now, everyone is sick of the bickering.

Anyway, must dash, snowing again and we need to get some more leaflets out! :D

#4 joiner


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Posted 27 March 2013 - 10:07 AM

And that isn't a typo! :rolleyes: