Developers claim that important housing projects are being delayed for years by red tape that forces them to make window sills a certain colour, protect slow worms or meet other taxing demands before they can start work. Each condition can require pages of official documentation and hours of work to comply.
These revelations have been made by major building firms in the wake of allegations that the industry is hoarding land, but builders have warned that construction is being held back by a wall of bureaucracy.
Developers dispute the claims that housebuilders are sitting on land to increase profits, and instead believe that planning laws need to be addressed, with the real issue behind the housing shortage being excessive red tape.
Many small, medium and even large developers have said they would find it more difficult to start in the housebuilding business today due to the sheer complexity of bureaucracy.
The recent publication of a government white paper on the subject of fixing the broken housing market, and the decision to look into land banking has stirred the debate.