New build homes in Britain are the smallest in Western Europe, (Source, BBC). Some purchasers believe that their cramped new homes are oppressive, with not enough space to socialise entertain guests or spend quiet time in private.
RIBA, (The Royal Institute of British Architects), have recently carried out a study, “The Way We Live Now”: their findings conclude that many British homes lack the storage space for basic day to day items, such as rubbish bins, household appliances and food.
The report states that people are having to go to “extreme and “absurd” lengths to fit belongings into their houses, (Source, The Telegraph). RIBA also reports that three-bedroom newly built houses are 8% smaller which equates to the space of a single bedroom, (Source, BBC).
The institute looked at approximately three thousand four hundred and eighteen homes in England. They have based their findings on building regulations which have come into force in London.
It found that some people are having to store vacuum cleaners at relatives houses and keep food in their car boots.
This is the first piece of research into housing space since the Government commissioned a report over fifty years ago.
People also complained about the bedroom sizes in many newly built homes, reporting them too small, and have called for size regulations for rooms in newly built properties. This report is to be used as evidence for the Future Homes Commission, which is conducting an enquiry into newly built housing.
The Home Builders Federation, however, have argued that if new homes were to be built bigger, then some people would be priced out of the market, first time buyers, small families etc.…
Volume builders represented by the Home Builders Federation, defends the policy of squeezing more properties into smaller and smaller spaces. They state that: “if you increase standards you’re going to increase costs,” according to the federations head of planning Andrew Whittaker.
The Department for Communities and Local Government says it is “putting local communities themselves in control” of house building. This means under planning reforms, neighbourhoods will be able to design and vote on their own plans for the future of their areas. The aim of this is to enable local people choice over the type and size of homes that are built, whilst giving developers a chance to benefit from a smoother process regarding planning permission, by working with locals from the start.
RIBA quotes Greater London Authority (GLA) research that found a 10% increase in the size of a house did not lead to a 10% increase in costs for the developer.
“Micro-build” architect Ric Frankland, from Manchester, argues that small houses necessarily mean cramped houses. He works on the notion that if you design in an open-plan feel, with bright airy rooms, high ceilings, a clever use of sleeping platforms and tall ceilings which create an illusion of space, with an added bonus of being energy efficient.
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