|Image: James hardie Scyon™ Matrix cladding|
The quoted list of material substitutions, and lowering of construction quality sounds superficially plausible, but is actually constrained by building regulations. Thus for instance, the systematic deletion of eaves on closely spaced two-storey houses is either a product of the smaller land parcels, or of historic cost cutting measures with their origins at least 20 years ago, rather than more recently. But you can't argue with sources close to the supply chain, if they are indeed seeing the stripping out of higher value materials in the speculative home offerings.
What interests me more is that there is the barest mention of any move towards reducing the sizes of individual homes. It is as if the value management exercise was predicated on building the grotesquely large individual dwellings, on which I have reported before. I do not want to rehearse again my distaste at the idea that Australians build the largest homes in the world. In fact, it is ironic that I was just thinking of writing a blog post defending the design quality of Australian McMansions. I have long been bothered by the way that the architectural establishment and some of the design press have long conflated the poor sustainability outcomes of oversized houses, with an assumption that they are also badly designed, or of poor build quality. But now I don't think I will bother.
Read the full article here.
But for sake of completeness, I should also mention that I wasn't entirely happy with the uncritical way that the title of 'biggest homes in the world' was conferred on Australia. So I did a little bit of background research into the McMansion phenomenon.