Support for a land tax and a plea for frameworks, plus worries over “too small” homes and that bridge made of Meccano

Think tank proposes scrapping council tax

Taxing land is an excellent idea. Where it has been tried in parts of the USA it has encouraged landowners to seek developers and created more jobs in construction.
Dave Wetzel

New homes are too small, finds Cabe survey

I carry out home inspections and EPCs and the difference in accommodation sizes as "homes" get newer is marked. As Ben Allgood says, if you would not be prepared to live in it, don't design or build. Perhaps these cramped conditions really do add to family breakdown and social disorder?

Perhaps we should return to minimum house sizes as under the Parker Morris Standards we used to work to?
Mike Duhig

These research findings just suggest that most people want to live in bigger homes, which is obvious. To have any credibility this survey should also have been carried out with owners of older homes in order to enable a comparison. I would be willing to bet the findings would be very similar.
Gary Austin

James May walks across Atkins' Meccano bridge in Liverpool

Let's hope they've used custom nuts and bolts or else you might find a number of people with those little spanners may transform the bridge into a tower crane, or a steamroller, or a racing car, or Big Ben, etc…
James Jackson

Is there any such thing as a good framework?

It seems to me that the arguments against frameworks – both here and elsewhere – seem to pick up on a few cases of bad procurement or framework management, and apply these as truistic across ALL frameworks.

This is a dangerous way of putting forward the argument against frameworks, as it means that those of us who have seen (and are seeing) good frameworks helping both client and contractors can disregard the other more relevant points being put across.

There are few "perfect" frameworks, but by the same token there are few partnering agreements that can be shown to be providing value for money, which remains critical to many clients for obvious reasons.

In these straitened times, with private clients under pressure to curb costs and the public sector under incredible scrutiny regarding value for money, transparency and sustainability, there almost certainly does need to be a wider debate around the application of frameworks. As they are unlikely to just go away as a contracting mechanism, maybe we need to move away from the "four legs good, two legs bad" mentality regarding the issue, and see where they can be made to work, build up more useful examples of best practice, and share experiences, to the benefit of clients and contractors of all sizes.
James Allen