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Test date: 2018/08

Design and construction of housing

Advantage/ Disadvantage
Government and Society

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic.

Some cities have few controls over the design and construction of housing and office buildings. People think that they should be free to choose the design they like.

Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words.

Model Essay

It is true that in some cities, the residents do have the freedom to design their homes or office buildings in their own way because there are limited government regulations on how it should be done. Although some clear benefits of such a trend can be seen, they are, in my view, eclipsed by the considerable drawbacks.

On the one hand, there are many benefits of having less oversight on building design. The first advantage is that it gives scope for creativity. This allows designers or house owners to be more open to new ideas and to freely experiment with new materials and designs, which may eventually lead to the arrival of more innovative and unique buildings. Secondly, the freedom of construction design gives owners an opportunity to fulfill their personal preferences which may vary significantly from person to person. While some may be passionate about a traditional design, others might enjoy a more modern perspective. A building should not be considered a mere shelter but a place where its owner feels a sense of satisfaction and contentment as well. As such, in such circumstances, a loose regulation on the design and construction of buildings is obviously advantageous.

On the other hand, I believe that the disadvantages of this trend are more significant. Firstly, houses and other buildings which are built without any strict or uniform building codes may be vulnerable to serious damage, especially due to natural disasters. A typical example of this are houses in parts of central Vietnam, where there are few regulations from the government on their construction. Due to this lack of government control, whenever a fierce storm strikes the region, thousands of houses lose their roofs, and even worse, are sometimes completely collapsed, leading to both losses of lives and property. Secondly, without strict control on building design, the uniformity of a city can be distorted. This may, in turn, damage the look of the city since the consistency in building design is often accompanied by beauty.

In conclusion, although there are many positive effects of allowing people to freely design their homes or other buildings, it seems to me that these advantages are overshadowed by the drawbacks.

(359 words)


• To have the freedom to do something
• Government regulations (n)
• Scope for creativity
• The arrival of more innovative and unique buildings
• To fulfill their personal preferences
• To be passionate about something
• A sense of satisfaction and contentment
• To be vulnerable to something
• Losses of lives and property
• The uniformity of a city

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