Fitness standard

The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 prescribes the Housing Fitness Standard in England and Wales. Houses not complying with this are classed as 'unfit for human habitation'. In Scotland the term

Table 8.3 The three phases of the non-traditional building boom in the UK (adapted from Chandler, 1991)

Phase

Period

Extent

1

1919-1944: The inter-war non-

Approximately 52 000 non-traditional dwellings were

traditional stock.

built during this period.

Although they were built using many traditional features and internal floor plans, the external walls were replaced by a combination of concrete blocks or in-situ and pre-cast concrete frames and cladding components.

2

1945-1955: The Post-War Low-Rise

During this period 305 256 non-traditional dwellings

Stock.

were completed in England and Wales, and 100 648 in Scotland. These comprises a mixture of steel framed houses (such as the BISF house), pre-cast and in-situ concrete (such as no-fines).

3

1955 to c. 1980: The Second Post-War

Approximately 31 000 dwellings were built during this

Building Boom.

period.

Total stock of non-traditional housing in the UK: approximately 388000 dwellings (about 2% of the total stock).

Total stock of non-traditional housing in the UK: approximately 388000 dwellings (about 2% of the total stock).

'Tolerable Standard' as defined in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 is used to describe a similar set of requirements. Houses not complying with this are classed as 'below tolerable standard'.

From the findings shown in Table 8.3, the degree of unfitness appears to be a greater problem in England and Wales than in Scotland. A dwelling is said to meet the requirements of the standard if:

• it is free from disrepair;

• it is structurally stable;

• it is free from dampness prejudicial to the health of the occupants (if any);

• it has adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation;

• it has adequate piped supply of wholesome water available within the house;

• it has an effective system for the draining of foul, waste and surface water;

• it has a suitably located WC for the exclusive use of the occupants;

• it has for the exclusive use of the occupants (if any) a suitably located bath or shower and wash-hand basin, each of which is provided with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water;

• there are satisfactory facilities in the dwelling home for the preparation and cooking of food, including a sink with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water.

The current fitness standard for England and Wales was introduced through the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 which inserted a new Section 604 in the Housing Act 1985. According to the DETR (1998) 'a dwelling is unfit if, in the opinion of the authority, it fails to meet one of the requirements set out in paragraphs (a) to (i) of Section 604 (1) and, by reason of that failure, is not reasonably suitable for occupation. The requirements constitute the minimum deemed necessary for a dwelling house (including a house in multiple occupation) to be fit for human habitation'.

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