Build Quality Throughout the Decades

I’d be interested in getting opinions on the quality of house building throughout the decades.

I’ve read negative reviews of hollow-block or cavity-block construction (not to be confused with cavity wall construction).

How would the house on page 58, built in the mid 80s rank with older or newer housing? … Action.pdf

Technically, modern house construction is superior (a true-ism).

An issue with modern housing in Ireland from a quality view is that it is - effectively - unregulated.
In the ‘old days’ banks were the quasi-regulators as they needed to protect their investment.
I remember building in early 1990s and bank would only let you draw the funds is small lumps.
Every time, an inspector would come to site to check invoices / work and ensure their ‘loan’ was going into the asset.
In the naughties, the bank gave you all the money on day one in a big lump (wanted you paying interest on it all ASAP).
You took 5-10% off the top and sent it to the Cayman Islands.
You then worked with the QS to build for even less and split the profits.
Therefore, there a loads of Priory Halls in Ireland (and worse) - that is a big issue with Irish new builds.

The other big issue is that modern techniques means that you can build ‘acceptable’ houses cheaper.
The lifespan of a modern straight up new build is often lower than that of the older equivalent.
Robert Shiller has made this point in the US that modern houses are more ‘disposable’ - when you factor this in, are a poor investment.

It’s good to see the Noble Economics Prize winner being schooled on the 'Pin.

The Depreciating Asset, - a 'Pin thread

Houses can and do depreciate but the land it’s built on?

From a valuation perspective in this part of the world, yes, the land is the store of value.
Although certain period houses (the good ones) can also behave like land as well (as a store of value).

As US cities tend to really sprawl, there is often a lot of spare land, hence Shiller’s point.
However, I think his depreciation point is often forgotten.

Interesting Post:
Not an easy one to be anyway definitive on as every house (or group of houses if part of a scheme) is very much of its time and place. Build quality would have been defined somewhat differently decade to decade - although being ‘built to last’ has probably been a constant parameter of desired excellence.
A lot of our population did not enjoy durable dwelling types until relatively recent times - the rural poor being in shanties (although probably very eco-friendly - so much so that they rotted back to nature in a generation if abandoned) with crumbling tenaments housing the urban poor.
Permanent.structure thus became a very desirable characteristic for any dwelling that people invested their money into - and remains so this side of the world to this day. We do not see houses as a depreciating asset as their useful life can be extended almost definitely bar some natural disaster happening and, until the recent correction, values had just went up and up here regardless of build quality or age.
Ignore style in this discussion - keeping it technical.
There has always been good and bad construction - the good survives (with maintenance) and the patina of age helps make such housing favourable to our way of thinking - add in a desirable site (a quality issue in itself as posters have noted) in a well serviced environment and a lot of construction shortcomings are forgiven! Witness the concern of some Asian buyers here that their folks back home could not bear the thoughts of them buying old houses rather than new - how odd that attitude seems to us here!
The quest for durability lead to masonry, stone for the upper crust and brick for the rest - then cheaper and quicker rendered block and even mass concrete - very common from 1930s to 1950s - all very sound but all very cold!
Conscious insulation provision was unheard of until the 1970s and broader energy conservation measures really only came into being in the 1990s - so this aspect of housing quality, so important to us nowadays, is largely irrelevant pre-70s. I meself, as a kid can still remember draught sealing being quite a novelty in the late 1970s - yet alone the quantum leap that was double glazing!
The ‘breathng’ house, so beloved of conservationists and lime plaster makers, was an essential mode of building before the wide availability of reliable moisture barriers first bitumen felts (say common from 1920s on) then plastics (1950s on) so you have another quality milestone there - the start of a sealed interior approach to building.- first moisture then outside air.

In short; anybody in construction would have given a big thumbs up to any good state of the art examples of their time!

My personal worsts would be chilly 70s/80s spec. housing (craftsmanship died in the 1960s and we lost the ‘cut roof’ to inflexible trusses ) and Tiger Time apartments - where every expense, including those relating to life safety, was spared and sound weathering details largely abandoned - leaving us with new tenements.
My personal best would be 40s/50s scheme housing - solid but very kind to modifications of all types including energy conservation upgrades…