‘Shameful shoeboxes’ are squeezing our living space
RESEARCH from RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects reveals that the average new three bedroom home in Yorkshire is 13 square metres smaller than the basic recommended minimum size.
The Case for Space report says the properties are failing to provide the space families need and leaving people across the region short-changed.
The findings, based on 80 sites across England, eight of which were in Yorkshire, show that the average new three-bedroom home in Yorkshire is missing the space equivalent to a double bedroom or dining table for six people and a three seat sofa.
The most common new three bedroom home in England is smaller still at 74 square metres.
At only 77 per cent of the recommended size it is missing 22 sq m.
The RIBA say their report exposes the lack of transparency existing around the size of UK homes. Its new HomeWise campaign calls for consumers to demand better information from estate agents and house builders so they can choose the most ideal layout, size and design of their new home. The organisation also want house builders and estate agents to include the floor area of properties in their marketing material and indicative floor plans with furniture as well as the number of bedrooms. Finally it suggsts that the Government to work with the house building industry to produce an industrywide voluntary agreement to ensure data is published about the size and quality of new homes.
Harry Rich, RIBA chief executive, says: “Thousands of cramped houses – shameful shoe box homes – are being churned out all over the country, depriving households of the space they need to live comfortably and cohesively. At a time when the Government, housebuilding industry, economists and housebuyers and renters are concerned about whether we are building enough new homes in the UK, it might seem odd to suggest that the focus should move to thinking about the quality of those homes. And yet this is the very time to do so. In a rush to build quickly and cheaply we risk storing up unnecessary problems for the future.
“The Homewise Campaign will engage households, architects, builders and policy-makers in a conversation about how to deliver homes to meet or exceed the real needs of our population in the 21st century. This report is the beginning of the conversation.
“We hope to ask the right questions and we look forward to working in partnership with consumers, housebuilders, government and many others as we seek the answers.”
The Home Builders Federation say the report is a missed opportunity and concentrates on housing size statistics in a vacuum, without addressing any of the issues behind them.
HBF executive chairman, Stewart Baseley says: “This report is a disappointing missed opportunity. We’ll happily work with RIBA and others but if they are serious about the future of housing in this country they must support the proposed National Planning Policy Framework and ensure that they fully understand the pressures on land and viability that home builders face every day.
“Even with these constraints developers are building the homes that people can afford, that this country desperately needs and providing billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure and the environment.”
The full RIBA Case for Space report can be downloaded from www.behomewise.co.uk. The HomeWise website is at www. behomewise.co.uk. It features a series of online resources to help people to ask the right questions when choosing a home.
The resources include The Nest Test – an easy-to-use online calculator that helps home seekers to find out what the floor area of their home should be according to the recommended standards.