Space standard set for new UK home design

According to research carried out by the University of Cambridge, new homes in the UK are among the smallest in Europe. The average new-build dwelling size in the UK is just 76 square metres, a statistic that is putting off home buyers reports Richard Carr

Bigger is better

Richard Carr Arley Road,Sherwood Avenue

Should there be a set standard for UK housing?

Richard Carr is a Commercial and Residential Development Specialist working for Fortitudo Property. Using his 30 years’ of knowledge gained whilst working in the industry, he uses his expertise to gain planning and development opportunities in the UK.

He believes that the UK lacks the creativity and imagination of other countries when it comes to development. The likes of Asia and big European countries are leaving the UK behind in terms of awe-inspiring architecture and development.

The average new-build home in the UK is 33.2 square metres smaller in the UK than in Germany – and this is having a negative effect. A 2010 YouGov poll found that nearly a third of people would not buy a house built during the last ten years. 60% said this was because rooms were too small; 46% cited a lack of style, whilst 45% complained of a lack of outdoor space.

National Space Standard

Prior to 2010, there was confusion over housing standards and assessment processes. As a result, the government’s answer was a “radically simplified system for setting standards in the design and construction of new homes”. The new standards will come into effect October 1 with the amendments to energy introduced in late 2016 as part of the Zero Carbon Homes Policy.

The new standards define floor areas and dimensions for key parts of dwellings, such as bedrooms and storage, as well as floor-to-ceiling height.

Bar set too low

Alex Dutton an urban design associate at consultancy Barton Willmore believes the standards won’t push the boundaries of housing development: “The new standards seem to have been a little under ambitious, with many developers already delivering to higher standards.

“For a single set of national housing standards, the bar should be set at a level that does not stifle development but which can be delivered without putting the quality of new homes at risk.”

Market Forces  

Richard Carr believes that the decision should be left down to ‘market forces’. If not, he feels that potential sites will be narrowed down even further.

He says it’s bad enough with all the financial levies that developers already face, without being told that a one bed flat has now got to be 650 sq ft.