Chipboard – Is It The Builders Fault?

I’ve seen some pretty dodgy stuff done by builders over the last twenty five years. Ranging from straight forward insanity or greed to work done under high levels of pressure. Being part of a nationwide company, I’m exposed to different builders work all over the UK. From small, medium, and large builders.

One thing that helps me with my opinion on this matter is regulations and culturally ingrained practices. From the 1970’s, house building hasn’t really changed that much due to regulations and mass habits, at it’s core that is! In line with the context of this article, we still have joists, we still have plasterboard, we still have noggins, we still have chipboard, and we still have the basic order in which all these components are put together.

Our solution encompasses all properties from the 1970’s to present, so clearly, we’re well placed to see the repeating patterns of regulated house building across the generations.

When we apply our solution, we rarely see anything different from one job to the next. We are repeatedly addressing the same issues over and over again. I’ll say it again for clarity, we do this to properties from the 1970’s to present day. We do this, Nationwide. Yes, the odd job does present certain challenges in relation to how any one builder has approached a particular development or if there’s been weather related issues etc, however, regulations are regulations. There’s only so far anyone can stray off the beaten path when it comes to regulations. Habits are habits, even culturally. It doesn’t take long for a way of doing something to become ingrained. Even when regulations allow alternatives, economics will always make it easier for people to snap back into widely accepted habits. For example, Chipboard is cheaper than most of the alternatives. Naturally we adapt to do things the quickest and easiest way – oh, it just so happens that’s the cheapest way too.

So, let’s for a minute look at this from a common sense stand point. We see the same patterns over and over. We see chipboard installed a finite number of ways. We see joists and noggins in the same place give or take. We see plasterboard ceilings. We see these things all over the UK. We see these things fail dramatically on a daily basis. We hear our clients tell us every house on their estate is the same.

The points above have brought us to the realization that – as a general statement – it’s NOT the builders fault. Yes, on occasion it may well be, however, when builders construct in line with national regulations and when the status quo is to use a particular (regulatory allowed) set of products, how can it be the builders fault?

I have no vested interest in sticking up for builders. It doesn’t matter to me or my company if it’s the builders, regulations, or Colonel Mustard in the Library with a candle stick. The facts from our perspective are that regulations, economics, and of course a nod to materials sustainability are far more to blame than your builder.


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