Are new homes too small?
Some British homes lack storage space for basic household items such as vacuum cleaners, ironing boards and even food, according to latest research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for their HomeWise campaign to improve the quality of the nation’s new build housing.
Their latest report – ‘The way we live now’ – follows earlier research for the campaign last year which argued that the average new three bedroom home being built by the UK’s top house builders is about 8% smaller than the recommended minimum size. The result is that families are being deprived of the space needed for children to do homework, adults to work from home, guests to stay and for members of the household to relax together.
Storing the vacuum cleaner at a parent’s house a 20 minute drive away and keeping food in the boot of the car are two of the real-life examples of how some British households are constrained by the design of their homes.
More storage space is one of eight key features that people need when choosing a home says the new Ipsos MORI research report. These include:
1. Long-term and short-term storage for functional items, and for personal possessions
2. Dedicated space for domestic utility tasks, such as vacuum cleaners, washing, drying and ironing clothes as well as storing rubbish and recycling
3. Large windows for natural light, large rooms and high ceilings
4. Large main living area – for social functions such as eating and entertaining and relaxing
5. Layouts which take into account technology used within the home such as enough sockets and storage
6. Space for private time away from other members of the household
7. Private space outside or access to green public space in urban locations
8. Options for different home layouts
The research also reveals how people find it challenging choosing a home and find it difficult to understand and compare space between homes. 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?’
“It has been over half a century since a government-tasked 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researched how households live, yet the size and designs of homes being built now are still defined by that great but out-of-date report – from a time when we had sewing boxes in our living rooms and indoor toilets needed regulating,” said Harry Rich, RIBA Chief Executive.
Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI, Ben Page added: “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. RIBA is absolutely right to draw attention to it.”
For regular updates, follow them on Twitter at @BeHomeWise. There are also some excellent videos on the site explaining the problems including this one below.
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