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New-build homes too small for families

Hannah Uttley
Written By:
Hannah Uttley

Thousands of families are being deprived of the space needed to live comfortably, according to findings published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The research revealed that more than half of the new homes being built are not big enough to meet the needs of people who purchase them. RIBA explained that new homes were failing to offer sufficient storage space, the space required to eat and socialise together and room to accommodate a growing family or ageing relatives. Homeowners who need additional storage space have the option to rent self storage units.

On average, buyers of a new three-bedroom home are missing four square metres, equivalent to the size of a family bathroom. Furthermore, the smallest three-bedroom homes included in RIBA’s survey were found to be missing space equivalent to an entire double bedroom.

RIBA is calling for a radical change to the way homes are built, asking for a national space standard that applies to all homes in every location.

Homes in Yorkshire were identified as the smallest in England by the report, with the average new three-bedroom 25 square metres smaller than one in London.

In October, rules were introduced allowing local authorities to set minimum sizes for new homes but RIBA criticised the process as ‘complex and onerous’. Due to the level of administration required, it can take several years for local authorities to adopt any changes, while the space standard does not apply to all new homes.

RIBA said a regulatory approach to the issue by embedding the national minimum space standard within building regulations would creative a level playing field across the country.

RIBA president, Jane Duncan, said: “We urgently need new homes, but building small homes or cutting corners when converting office buildings to flats is short-sighted and fails the people these new homes are meant to serve. The government must take action to ensure a fairer minimum space standard is applied to all new homes across the country.”