20 RCI 0514

RCI May 2014

EINROOFSTEiN is a roofing contractor and each month he will seek to take a subject, hopefully slightly controversial in topic, and aim to stimulate some constructive debate... By the time this column has gone to press, we should all know how the latest round of Academy School funding has been allocated, and there stands to be some big prizes for the winners. I have to say, an awful lot of this strikes me as a hugely inefficient way to do business; huge trenches of Government cash handed out with little or no real audit control on how it is spent. Remember: “The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.” “So why not insist that if the specified product of choice is manufactured abroad, then at least a comparison cost must be invited from a similar product manufactured here. Better still, make it a part of the funding application process” I know the funding of these Academies has a huge effect on the construction recovery and no one benefits more than roofing. Roofing accounts for the largest % of spend of the refurbishment funds available. It is not the sums or the general allocation of them that concerns me, but more the value for money aspect. Firstly, this is taxpayers’ money; wealth created by people and companies of this Isle that should, unless economically unviable, be put directly back into the economy that created it. So why is so much spent on products not manufactured in the UK? Let me state here, I am not a Eurosceptic or a member of UKIP. I have nothing against the specification of products manufactured elsewhere, if they are better and / or cheaper. So why not insist that if the specified product of choice is manufactured abroad, then at least a comparison cost must be invited from a similar product manufactured here. Better still, make it a part of the funding application process. The questionnaire (which is already a very simplistic document) should state: “If your funding bid is successful, how committed are you to using products manufactured in the UK?” Lord knows we already ask questions about the environmental impact of almost everything we do, so freighting roofing products all over Europe, when equal products are made here, cannot make any sense. This is not my only concern. Take a look at what is currently happening in the USA, with some very large material suppliers being taken to task (legally challenged) over how they profit from sole specification on Government funded projects, through creating single source specification markets. This is already technically illegal in the UK, through EU Directives. Elsewhere in Europe these Directives are used to protect local producers, yet here in the UK we are at best slow to recognise this, or at worst complicit in the “con”. “Charity begins at home” – said by many and often... Finally, to finish, does anyone know anyone who wants a proper job? I have been speaking recently to two large roofing contractors, both of whom complain they simply cannot recruit trainees. One of these contractors has actually resorted to advertising in Portugal, Spain and Germany! “When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation” anon c 1953 (circa eight years after the introduction of the Welfare State in the UK) Agree, disagree? Send your thoughts to the RCI editor: mdowns@unity-media.com Zink Copper Stainless 01992 801927 www.almhm.co.uk Letter from In his regular look at life in the United States, building products marketing specialist Chris Wright, owner of Utahbased CAW Market Communications, gives an overview of what you can expect to pay for a range of property styles in Southern Utah. Is it a case of read’em and weep? Maybe it’s because Americans and Brits have so much in common, or maybe it’s what seems to be a longing of many Brits to live out here. Whatever the reason, the question I’m most often asked during casual transatlantic conversation is; What is the current price of property here in Southern Utah? With a rarely trumped display of bad timing, I moved out here just as ‘The Great Recession’ was getting under way. At that time home prices were still a lot higher than they are today, although that is certainly beginning to change. Thus, for the first time since my very early 20s, my family and I lived in rented accommodation, until such time as house prices bottomed out which, for the record, was just over two years ago when we purchased our current home. Because I have several clients in the real estate business across the nation, I have become a pretty informed commentator on what is going on in housing in a number of States. Prices are going up and, in many markets, sellers are returning in much greater numbers again. As mentioned in previous Letters from America, affordability is still very good and my clients are united in their confidence of an extremely good 2014 selling season, which generally extends from now until the Fall. For this month’s Letter, I thought it might be informative to quote some pricing examples from my most local client’s current Southern Utah inventory. Knowing UK home prices and seeing as we live just under three hours from the Las Vegas Strip, the term “read’em and weep” may well apply: Approx. £74,000 ($124,900) – Small rural “Bedroom Community” town location. What you might call a “fixer-upper”, in need of some TLC. Four beds, two bathrooms, 2,300ft2 on almost an acre of land. Approx. £136,000 ($229,900) – City residential sub-division location, three bedroom, three bathroom, triple garage, 1,850ft2. home on two thirds of an acre of land. Approx. £168,000 ($284,900) – Out of city location on an old highway road. Five bedrooms, four bathrooms, almost 4,000ft2 including a “granny flat” extension, on one and a quarter acres of land. Approx. £177,000 ($299,000) – Small rural town location. Luxury horse property with modern stables on half an acre of land. Approx. £207,000 ($350,000) – City outskirts location, over 5400ft2 of office space, with ample parking space. Approx. £275,00 ($464,900) – Golf course location, feature-laden with spectacular views in one of America's Top 50 Master Planned Communities. Approx. £414,000 ($699,000) – Luxury 4200ft2 log cabin in one of the most high profile ski resorts in the Western States. On over 1.8 acres with easy access to slopes. Approx. £473,000 ($799,000) – Prominent city centre location. Currently operating motel with 28 fully furnished rooms, generating well over $100,000 per year. Before you start planning to pack your bags and ask for my client’s number, remember that expenses here can still work out pretty high, even though property is relatively cheap. For a start, you’ll need expensive medical insurance as there’s no NHS – and yes, Obamacare is still pricey. Distances here are much greater, so petrol can be a major cost if you travel a lot. Last, and certainly not least, you don’t have to worry about accidently treading on moody rattlesnakes or getting bitten by black widow spiders in Blighty. As ever, there are caveats to living anywhere. Vive la difference. www.cawmc.co.uk


RCI May 2014
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