Anyone building a house in Germany has to consider a number of things. But that’s nothing against British regulations.
Dhe property developers, who clearly dominate the large British market for single-family homes, have to deal with increasingly difficult and at the same time more complex changes in their business in purely technical terms. This is partly due to shifts in the market, but also to the fact that regional building regulations are increasingly divergent.
As far as the market is concerned, the London market, which had dominated for decades, is now clearly losing importance. This can be explained by the fact that single-family house prices in London have now reached an average of ten times the average annual income. But that resembles a sound barrier that is difficult to overcome. Buying interest is rapidly declining here.
At the same time, the mortgage banks are starting to be extremely cautious. This particularly affects those property developers who have so far mainly built in the Greater London area. Nationwide, one of the consequences of this is a shift in construction activity to the north. The old English industrial areas are experiencing a renaissance in the construction of single-family homes. Most of the larger property developers are now achieving double-digit growth rates in the number of houses they have completed.
The “market power” of the regional authorities
With the respective building regulations and their changes, there are no clear dividing lines between the regional markets. The decisive factor is often the “market power” of the regional authorities, especially the county-like councils. Depending on how many single-family houses a property developer wants to build in one place, the more diverse the influence of the approval authority. If a local building contractor plans three, four or five houses of a similar size, then this is usually approved relatively quickly and without problems. Large projects with 50, 500 or even 5000 single-family houses often require negotiations with the building authorities, which can extend over a very long period of time.
More than a year is by no means unusual. This starts with the fact that, depending on the volume of the project, the developer must also build roads, possibly a school or a community hall free of charge and make them available to the community. Another point of negotiation is the number of so-called affordable houses with simpler equipment that every property developer has to build as part of the project and offer at significantly lower sales prices for less well-off home buyers or tenants.
But also for those houses that individual property developers build for the free market, i.e. for every buyer willing to pay, there are plenty of conditions to be negotiated. It starts with the exterior of the houses. In doing so, the planners want to avoid entire streets offering a similar picture, as was once common practice.
Regulations of individual counties
But even when it comes to the interior design of the houses, the building regulations can vary greatly from one district to another, and at the same time offer additional material for in-depth negotiations. Nowadays it is more or less required nationwide that new single-family houses must be largely handicapped accessible. It starts with the door widths, stepless entrances from the street as well as toilets and bathrooms, which have to be larger than before.
In addition, there are regulations from individual districts that charge far more for their placet on larger projects. This starts with the fact that the toilet on the ground floor has to be so large that it can later be converted into a full bathroom if necessary. This can go so far that all connections for a shower or bathtub have to be installed under the floor during construction, so that the conversion can be carried out later at comparatively low costs.
The provisions for the case of a disability of the residents can go much further. The district of Uttlesford in the province of Essex is likely to occupy a leading position in the provision for possible disabilities. Here the developers even have to take all the precautions so that a simple elevator can later be installed in every new single-family house that has more than just one ground floor.