Through the centuries, housing has taken different shapes and forms. From caves to cottages, traditional houses to high-rise condos, it’s interesting to see where people choose to live.
Never has the financial catastrophe of a below-average insurance product ever been more pronounced, though. This is especially true when it comes to blocks of flats and apartments. Flats have a higher-than-average risk of things such as storm damage, fire and water damage. The penalty for under-insuring a block of flats is also more of an issue. When the value of these property behemoths is taken into account, just think of the loss that would be incurred when a building is incorrectly valued at 50% of it’s true worth, and then for the insurance payout in the event of a disaster to cover only 50% of the claim.
Why don’t we take a look at the past, present, and future of housing around the world?
Ghost of Housing Past
Did you know that the Romans built the first flats? During the rise to power of the Roman empire, the population boom led to creative housing solutions that can accommodate more people within the same area. They built higher and stronger structures using concrete and standardized bricks that also made construction faster and more reliable. Their flats, which comprised of two or more stories of apartments above a shop on the ground floor, were called insula or “islands”.
In terms of leasing, land laws in Britain take its roots from the feudal system that followed the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. It wasn’t until the Law of Property Acts 1925 was enacted that new leasing practices were followed in England and Wales. Meanwhile, Scotland abolished the feudal system in 2004.
Ghost of Housing Present
There are fascinating housing structures around the world today. These include the Bosco Verticale (or the Vertical Forest) in Milan where two high-rise buildings are adorned from top to bottom by 20,000 trees and plants, the apartment buildings in Chongqing, China that were built around railways systems, and the “recycled” buildings all over the UK. (The BBC Television Centre in White City and the Battersea Power Station and the Hoover Building in London were converted into flats and loft apartments.)
In 2010, a flat in Paris was found frozen in time. Apparently, an actress in the 1930s named Marthe de Florian fled her apartment during WWII, and it was left untouched for decades until the building owner died.
When it comes to world record holders, the tallest housing is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa at 2,720 feet high, the smallest is Wuhan, China’s two-person apartments that are only 50 square feet, and the largest is Sao Paulo, Brazil’s The Copan Building, which has 1,160 apartment units housing more than 5,000 residents.
Now let’s talk about rent. Did you know that to live comfortably in London, you need £7,090 a month? This puts the city in second place for the highest cost of a city centre flat in the world, right after Hong Kong. Not surprisingly, the most expensive flat in the UK is also in London. One Hyde Park is valued at £160 million. With these prices, a good building insurance policy is vital. Brokers such as http://www.deacon.co.uk have become a mainstay due to the importance of a correctly identified insurance product.
Ghost of Housing Future
The future of housing is truly exciting. A shape-shifting tower block by the architectural firm Dynamic Group is set to open in Dubai by 2020. Meanwhile, plans for a 35-storey, underwater, upside-down, pyramidal apartment building is being drawn in Mexico City. The Burj Khalifa’s record for the tallest building in the world is also in jeopardy. In 2020, the 3,280-foot Jeddah Tower is set to open in Saudi Arabia.
ASo, the history of housing continues to evolve, one thing is for certain. A building insurance is and will always be a wise investment. For 29 years, Deacon has expertly provided building insurance and associated products for flats and apartments. Find out more at deacon.co.uk.