New home buyers want more storage and bigger rooms
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.”