The Grand Designs paradox

Admit it: you would secretly love to build your own home. But even though many people will have probably considered it at some time or another, very few of us will ever take the plunge. This is the Grand Designs paradox: the ubiquity of property programmes on TV encourages us all to dream of designing the perfect home, while simultaneously presenting a hellish vision of construction nightmares and financial ruin that ensures only the bravest will ever attempt it. But that could all change if housing minister Grant Shapps achieves his ambition to make self-build a more realistic option. In this article for Construction Manager magazine, I assessed his chances of transforming the UK into a nation of housebuilders.

The £36bn question

My article for Building magazine on the many flaws in the government’s healthcare reforms turned out to be very timely – by the time it appeared, they’d had a major rethink. Indeed, there was so much to say on the unanswered questions in the Health and Social Care Bill that the article ended up expanding over five pages, and that was only looking at a relatively non-emotive aspect of the plans: what exactly is going to happen to the £36bn-worth of property owned by the Primary Care Trusts once they’re gone?