Recently, Governments within the United Kingdom have proposed a housing standards review considering the minimum space standards. First announced in 2010, the government stressed the need for an industry-led examination of housing standards. This topic was aroused by the shocking statistics of new homes that were being built at smaller sizes than the already existing homes.

In accordance to other countries within Europe, the UK generally has a low average size for housing (displayed below). Building new homes at a smaller size would evidently be deemed as even more cramped. The amount of space for a house affects a person’s quality of life, and hence needs great attention.

Average House Sizes

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has established a campaign in support of the Governments proposal called ‘The Case for Space.’ Emphasizing the benefits of increasing the minimum space standards for housing, RIBA also provide the negatives that some have commented on. A main conflicting view is whether bigger homes mean fewer homes.

Fewer homes would result in a lack of affordability, creating even more difficulty for new homeowners to be on the property ladder. The cost of building new homes would also increase between 1 and 10%, which would result in the basic becoming the new exclusive. This is because if the cost of the building and the property increases, the cost to the buyer would increase. Furthermore, the cost would make the exclusive even more exclusive. For instance, the image below displays a recent housing development within the exclusive bracket. If these apartments were built after the minimum standards are declared, then perhaps they will lie half empty with people not being able to afford their cost.

Hill Street White Back Drop, Belfast, Ireland

RIBA conducted detailed research that showed the inclusion of a designer would be able to avoid reducing the number of homes on a site. Furthermore, in the research it was emphasized that the use of new technology would provide even more space saving ideas and tools; meaning bigger homes for a smaller plot of land.

RIBA’s research emphasizes the importance of designers in the design of the built environment and the future wellbeing of inhabitants.

The Governments proposal is still being considered, so where should the United Kingdom set it’s minimum space standard for the housing industry? How would you react if your Government imposed a minimum space standard?

Credits: Images by James Foskett. Data linked to sources.