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Over half of new-build homes too small for modern family life

Over 50% of the new-build homes on the market today are unsuitably small for the lifestyles of the families who will live in them.

According to new research published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), thousands of families are being deprived of the space needed to live comfortably and cohesively, due to the ever decreasing size of new-build homes.

The report entitled #HomeWise – Space Standards for Homes reveals that on average, buyers of a new three-bedroom house are missing 4sqm – the size of a family bathroom and that these homes do not accommodate a growing family or ageing relatives.  The smallest three-bedroom homes are missing space equivalent to an entire double bedroom.

The survey also found that homes in Yorkshire are by far the smallest in England, with the average three-bedroom home measuring 25sqm less than its London equivalent.  At 84sqm, this works out as being a double bedroom and family room smaller than the average family home in London.

RIBA is calling for an end to the building of sub-standard homes and is using this research to make the case for an urgent amendment in legislation currently passing through parliament. 

The Institution says that the rules introduced in October 2015 do not go far enough and that they make the whole process onerous and overly complex. Currently

‘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 says in its report.

It is campaigning for a national space standard to be embedded within Building Regulations that sets the standards for housing design.   

RIBA believes that a regulatory approach would create a level playing field and a fair housing offer wherever one lives, irrespective of tenure.

Jane Duncan, RIBA President 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.”


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