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By : A. Van der Bos , Frits Meijer

The quality of the housing stock in some parts of cities in the Netherlands fails to meet the varied housing preferences. A more appropriate housing supply is needed if these various preferences are to be met. This can be achieved by demolition, followed by new construction and product innovation in the housing stock. Homeowners have the primary responsibility for the quality of their buildings, but this responsibility must be facilitated, and adequate building regulation is needed for existing hou-sing. Neither local authorities nor consumers currently have sufficient insight into housing quality. Furthermore, there are too many requirements, and the regulations, which are basically oriented toward new construction, are too complex. Solutions for these problems may be found in a proposal made by the Dutch Ministry of Housing to introduce a building file, an instrument that describes the condition of buildings and functions as a user and maintenance manual. Such an instrument could assist homeowners in fulfilling their responsibility for the quality of their dwellings. This article describes the context and development of the Dutch Building File and compares the Dutch approach to improving the quality of the housing stock to approaches and instruments currently in use or being developed in other European countries.
Keywords : Building Regulations, Housing Stock, Housing Quality, Building File, Quality Requirements.

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