Catalogue description Department of the Environment and related bodies: Research Analysis Division: English House Condition Survey: Datasets

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Details of AT 76
Reference: AT 76
Title: Department of the Environment and related bodies: Research Analysis Division: English House Condition Survey: Datasets

This dataset series contains information gathered by The English House Condition Survey (EHCS). The survey was set up to gather information for the Department of the Environment on the changing condition of England's housing stock. The data was used for determining resource allocation and policy development. Surveys were carried out every five years, with the first being done in 1986.

The English House Condition Survey database is built up from a core sample of dwellings, collected by four separate but related surveys which together make up the EHCS:

  • 1) The Physical Survey: A survey of dwellings to provide a description of the stock, its present condition and its energy characteristics.
  • 2) The Interview Survey: Interviews with households to determine their characteristics, (including detailed financial circumstances), and attitudes to repairs; to identify the nature and cost of improvement and repair work they have undertaken or intend to undertake, and to establish the effectiveness of heating arrangements in the home. The Fuel Survey (usually conducted alongside the Interview survey, or directed at a sub-sample of it) collected data on electricity and gas consumption for these households to measure energy efficiency of the housing stock and the potential for energy savings.
  • 3) The Postal Survey: A postal survey of local authorities and housing associations, to identify the action they have taken, or intend to take, on their own stock and, for local authorities, action on private sector dwellings.
  • 4) The Valuation Survey: A survey of vacant possession market values which can be linked to information on dwelling type, condition and location; may be used with household income data to compare value, particularly equity, with household circumstances.

The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.

Date: 1986-2000

Hardware: Wintel PC system.

Operating System: Microsoft Windows (version unknown).

Application Software: SPSS software.

Logical structure and schema: The English House Condition Survey (EHCS) is a complex data-gathering exercise which encompasses a number of distinct sub-surveys. The components of the 1991 and 1996 surveys are broadly similar and the arrangement of the datasets reflects their structure. The 1991 survey is sub-divided into the following tables:

  • Fuel Survey;
  • Interview Survey;
  • Valuation Survey;
  • Physical Survey;
  • Postal Survey.

The 1996 survey follows the same schema, but with the addition of two further tables:

  • Management System Survey;
  • Derived Variables.

How data was originally captured and validated: All data was double punched and validated using bespoke programs for range checks and similar checks. Results were checked against external sources, for example the census or census-derived estimates. Data imputation was undertaken where appropriate.

Overall responsibility for the design, conduct and analysis of the EHCS remained with the parent Department. The organisation of the surveys was usually undertaken by external contractors, who were employed to obtain and computerise all the survey data and manage some parts of the survey administration.

Related material:

The National House Condition Surveys for 1967 and 1971 are held by the UK Data Archive (

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Copies held at:

Datasets for the 1986 English House Condition Survey have been deposited at the UK Data Archive (, study numbers SN 3209 (Interview and Market Value Surveys), and SN 2995 (Physical Survey)

Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/51
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department of the Environment, 1970-1997

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, 1997-2001

Physical description: 13 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: The English House Condition Survey datasets and their related documentation are open, with the exception of certain fields which contain geographic code information and remain closed for 30 years. Subject to Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research purposes only.
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: From 1986 to 1997 the datasets were housed in the Department of the Environment. From 1997 onwards they were with the Research Analysis Evaluation (RAE) division of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' Housing Directorate. Copies were subsequently transferred to the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD). In 2010 they were transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Selection and destruction information: Selected under of TNA's acquisition policy: the economic, social and demographic condition of the UK, as documented by the state's dealings with individuals, communities, and organisations outside its own formal boundaries.
Accruals: Further accruals are anticipated.
Publication note:

The Department of the Environment, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have all produced reports on the English House Condition Surveys. See the catalogues of individual datasets for further information.

Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 49 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1991-2003

Administrative / biographical background:

The English House Condition Survey (EHCS) is a series of surveys undertaken on behalf of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and its predecessors. The English House Condition Surveys provide the Department with a major source of information to assist in the development and monitoring of policies directed towards the repair and improvement of housing stock, and improvement of energy efficiency.

This survey used to be on a quinquennial basis and has been carried out once every five years since 1967. From 2002 however, the survey will run continuously.

The EHCS provides the only available national picture of the condition of housing stock and how it changes over time. Topics covered by the EHCS include:

  • household characteristics;
  • description of the stock;
  • changes in stock condition - fitness, repair, modernisation, energy efficiency;
  • income and expenditure on rents and mortgages;
  • repairs and improvements by owners, tenants, landlords;
  • expenditure on repairs and improvements by owners, tenants, landlords;
  • householders' attitudes to repairs and improvements;
  • health and disability;
  • landlord responsiveness to repairs;
  • use of renovation grants;
  • local environmental quality;
  • affordable heating;
  • home safety;
  • property values.

The 1991 survey design, organisation and data analysis were the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, but other agencies and organisations were involved in the survey.

The 1996 survey was the responsibility of the Research Analysis and Evaluation Division of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. An external contractor, Market and Opinion Research International (MORI), was used to manage all stages of the fieldwork, validate the data collected and assemble the data onto an SPSS database.

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