New home buy­ers want more stor­age and big­ger rooms

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE - Sharon Dale

STOR­ING the vac­uum cleaner at mum’s house a 20-minute drive away and BOGOF su­per­mar­ket deals kept in the boot of the car are just two ex­am­ples of how some Bri­tish house­holds are con­strained by the de­sign of their homes, say the Royal In­sti­tute of Bri­tish Ar­chi­tects.

The RIBA Ip­sos Mori re­port re­veals that some prop­er­ties lack space for ev­ery­day ba­sic house­hold items, in­clud­ing iron­ing boards, re­cy­cling bins and even food.

The way we live now: What peo­ple need and ex­pect from their homes, is the first study of its kind for over 50 years and will be used by the Fu­ture Homes Com­mis­sion to de­velop rec­om­men­da­tions for how houses should be de­signed and de­liv­ered in fu­ture.

The eight key needs iden­ti­fied in the re­port are:

Long-term and short-term stor­age for func­tional items and per­sonal pos­ses­sions;

Ded­i­cated space for do­mes­tic util­ity items and tasks, such as vac­uum clean­ers, wash­ing, dry­ing and iron­ing clothes as well as stor­ing rub­bish and re­cy­cling;

Large win­dows for nat­u­ral light, large rooms and high ceil­ings for a sense of space;

Large main liv­ing area for so­cial func­tions such as eat­ing, en­ter­tain­ing and re­lax­ing. Peo­ple typ­i­cally pre­fer to have an el­e­ment of open-plan lay­out;

Home that take into ac­count tech­nol­ogy, so enough sock­ets and stor­age;

Space for pri­vate time away from other mem­bers of the house­hold, es­pe­cially where gen­er­a­tions live to­gether. Pri­vate space makes an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to our sense of well­be­ing. Noise re­duc­tion within and be­tween house­holds is also es­sen­tial;

Pri­vate space out­side or ac­cess to green public space in ur­ban lo­ca­tions. This is im­por­tant for well­be­ing and par­tic­u­larly cru­cial for fam­i­lies. Par­ents want a safe place for chil­dren to play out­side;

Op­tions for dif­fer­ent home lay­outs. De­spite some univer­sal needs such as flex­i­ble space to en­ter­tain and so­cialise, there were dif­fer­ent needs and ex­pec­ta­tions ac­cord­ing to the life stage or the size and age of house­holds, which meant that there was no sin­gle, stan­dard lay­out that would cater for all peo­ple.

The re­search also re­veals how peo­ple choose a home and how they think the house buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence should be im­proved. Sta­tis­tics show that they find it dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand and com­pare space and size.

Emo­tional con­sid­er­a­tions, such as the “feel of a home” and the des­per­a­tion to get on the hous­ing lad­der can over­rule prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tions such as “where can I store the vac­uum cleaner?” or “where will the rub­bish bin go?”.

The re­port con­cludes that con­sumers would like to see an in­de­pen­dent, cross-pro­fes­sional body to reg­u­late the qual­ity and size of new-build homes.

The qual­ity of build­ing ma­te­ri­als, fix­tures and fit­tings, noise re­duc­tion and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, are the big­gest con­cerns. Peo­ple also feel the bed­rooms in many new homes are too small.

Harry Rich, RIBA chief ex­ec­u­tive said: “It has been over half a cen­tury since a gov­ern­ment­tasked com­mit­tee re­searched how house­holds live, yet the size and designs of homes be­ing built now are still de­fined by that great but out-of-date re­port, from a time when we had sewing boxes in our liv­ing rooms and in­door toi­lets needed reg­u­lat­ing.

“Un­til to­day there has been no ev­i­dence base that sets out how we are liv­ing now and what we want from our homes.

“This new re­search pro­vides im­por­tant ev­i­dence on which we can base some changes to the way our homes are de­signed, de­liv­ered, mar­keted and sold to us.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ip­sos MORI, Ben Page said: “The re­search graph­i­cally shows just how cramped and poorly planned much of our hous­ing is to­day, and the ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths peo­ple go to cope with it.”

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