More than half of the new homes being built today are not big enough to meet the needs of the people who buy them, according to new research published today (Wednesday 2 December) by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). This squeeze on the size of our houses is depriving thousands of families of the space needed for them to live comfortably and cohesively, to eat and socialise together, to accommodate a growing family or ageing relatives, or even to store possessions including everyday necessities such as a vacuum cleaner.
RIBA’s #HomeWise – Space Standards for Homes published today, reveals:
- On average buyers of a new three bedroom home are missing 4 sqm – that’s the size of a family bathroom.
- The smallest three bedroom homes surveyed by RIBA are missing space equivalent to an entire double bedroom.
- Homes in Yorkshire are by far the smallest in England – the average new three bedroom home in Yorkshire is 25 sq smaller than one in London. At only 84 sqm, the average new home in Yorkshire is smaller than one on London by the equivalent of a double bedroom and a family living room.
RIBA is using this research to make the case for an urgent amendment in legislation currently passing through Parliament to end to the building of sub-standard homes:
- In October 2015 new rules were introduced to allow local authorities to set minimum sizes (space standards) for new homes, but the process is extremely complex and onerous
- The level of administration required means that it will take several years for local authorities to adopt any changes
- The space standard doesn’t apply to all new homes, for example for housing developments that are created under new rights that allow the change of use from office to residential use
RIBA is calling for a national space standard that applies to all homes, in every location.
RIBA President, Jane Duncan, said:
“Tiny rabbit-hutch new-builds should be a thing of the past. But sadly our research shows that for many people, a new home means living somewhere that’s been built well below the minimum space standard needed for a comfortable home.
“We urgently need new homes, but building small homes or cutting corners when converting office buildings to flats is short-sighted and fails the people these new homes are meant to serve. The Government must take action to ensure a fairer minimum space standard is applied to all new homes across the country.”
The RIBA is campaigning for the national minimum space standard to be embedded within Building Regulations that set the standards for housing design. This would mean that all new homes across the country would be covered. A regulatory approach would create a level playing field and a fair housing offer wherever you live, irrespective of tenure.
Notes to editors
- For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7307 3761
- To download the full report, infographics and associated documents visit: https://riba.box.com/s/5l28y18nhg52qx6a394naa9ox4zacuxt
- The full report and associated documents will be available at www.architecture.com/homewise after the embargo has passed.
- Unlike most countries in Western Europe, the UK has no regulation in place to ensure that all homes are built to a proven acceptable size. The Nationally Described Space Standard 2015 is a voluntary standard that can only be introduced by a Local Authority when need and viability have been proven.
- RIBA first exposed the blight of tiny new houses in a 2011 report ‘Case for Space’. https://www.architecture.com/files/ribaholdings/policyandinternationalrelations/homewise/caseforspace.pdf
- The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members www.architecture.com
- Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates www.twitter.com/RIBA @RIBA
Posted on Wednesday 2nd December 2015