More than half of the new homes being built today not big enough to meet the needs of the people who buy them, according to research published 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 accommodate a growing family, ageing relatives, or even to store possessions including everyday necessities such as a vacuum cleaner.
The repot, HomeWise: Space Standards for Homes, reveals that on average, buyers of a new three bedroom home are missing 4 sq m – 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 m smaller than one in London. At only 84 sq m, the average new home in Yorkshire is smaller than one in 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 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, and the space standard does not 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 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.”
RIBA / architecture.com