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Make do and mend: Renovation rules as one in eight homeowners improve rather than move


19 April 2011

Press office contact:

Mina Vadon
T: +44 (0)207 307 3761
E: mina.vadon@riba.org

Average homeowner spends £12,000 on changes to their home  

Almost one in eight homeowners (13%) who have made structural changes to their home have done so because they cannot afford to move, new research reveals today.

A YouGov online survey commissioned by housing charity Shelter and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) showed that homeowners who have made structural changes to their property have made an average of three since moving in, spending an average of £12,000 in doing so. A quarter said they had spent over £20,000.

The two organisations conducted the research to coincide with the launch this week of Architect in the House, the hugely successful fundraising initiative in which RIBA architects give up their time to offer hour-long consultations to homeowners about how to improve or adapt their property. In return, homeowners make a suggested donation of £40 to Shelter in support of the charity’s work with homeless and badly housed families.

The survey revealed that most popular changes made to homes include opening up walls (18%), renovating a new home on purchase (17%) and fitting a conservatory (15%), with 60 per cent of those who have made changes saying that creating more space to improve their living environment was their main motivation. One in eight (13%) were improving their existing home because they couldn’t afford to move.

Ruth Reed, President of the RIBA, said:

'The difficulties of the unsettled economy mean that moving home is simply no longer an option for many homeowners and people are looking at how to improve their existing property. 

Participating in Architect in the House is an excellent opportunity for people to arrange a consultation with an architect who will have the expertise to advise them how to achieve their home improvement goals while supporting Shelter’s vital work. With some expert advice, the house of your dreams could be the one you already live in.'

TV presenter and founder of Tepilo.com Sarah Beeny, who is supporting Architect in the House this year, said:

'I know how daunting it can be to embark on a home improvement project, but whatever the size and scope of your plans, consulting an architect can really add value.

Whether you’re renovating a new property or want to create extra space for a growing family, architects can advise on anything from latest design trends and fixtures and fittings to finding builders to carry out the work. Architect in the House is a great way to make the most of their experience while raising money for a good cause at the same time.'

Now in its 15th year, Architect in the House has already raised over £1.1 million for homeless and badly housed families and helped more than 50,000 homeowners realise their property potential. This year the scheme is sponsored by TV channel Home.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:

'We all know the value of having a decent, safe and secure place to live, so it’s shocking to think that more than 70,000 children in England have no home to call their own, and that over a million live in housing that is overcrowded, damp or in disrepair.

The money raised through Architect in the House is absolutely crucial to Shelter, enabling us to provide vital housing advice and support to over a million people each year and to work towards a future where no child’s life is blighted by bad housing.'

Homeowners or architects can register by visiting www.architectinthehouse.org.uk. Participants will be matched with architects in early July and consultations can take place any time up to the end of November. Participants in Northern Ireland will be matched in August.

This year, award winning bed makers Warren Evans are offering every homeowner who takes part in the scheme the chance to win a beautiful handcrafted ‘Sunday’ bed and ‘Sienna’ mattress worth more than £1,000. More details are available at www.architectinthehouse.org.uk.

Notes to editors

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2005 adults of which 1314 were homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th - 8th April 2011 . The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2. A regional breakdown of the data is available by calling Mina Vadon in the RIBA press office on 020 7307 3761 or mina.vadon@inst.riba.org or Julia Pitman in the Shelter press office on 020 7505 2058 or julia_pitman@shelter.org.uk To request an interview with Sarah about Architect in the House, please call Julia Pitman

3. Consultations with a local architect are subject to availability in your area

4. This year Architect in the House is supported by title sponsor TV Channel Home. Home is the UK's first dedicated homes channel, packed with inspirational home and gardens programming from home grown commissions such as Nick Knowles' Original Features, My Flat-Pack Home, Celebrity DIY with Craig Phillips with Craig Phillips and If It's Broke, Fix It, to the phenomenally successful Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, to favourites DIY SOS, Escape to the Country and Ground Force. Targeting a core demographic of 25-54 years, Home is a welcome refuge with energetic, stylish, and motivating programming that shows viewers how to enjoy and maximise their space, both inside and out. Available on Sky channel 246, Virgin TV 265, Top Up TV 26. www.lovehome.co.uk. For a logo please contact the Shelter press office.

5. This year Architect in the House is supported by associate sponsor Rockwool. Rockwool Ltd has manufactured stone wool insulation at its factory in Pencoed, South Wales since 1979, and employs over 350 people from the local area. Rockwool insulation is created from naturally occurring volcanic diabase rock with the ore smelted and spun into fibres to create a wide range of insulation materials, ranging from loft insulation rolls to impact-resistant roofing boards. It is also bonded to produce high performance panels.

Rockwool provides a four-in-one insulation solution, providing high grade thermal insulation, noise insulation, non-combustible and strong environmental credentials. Rockwool insulation is one of few products that can save more than 100 times the energy used for its manufacture. Rockwool insulation is also completely recyclable and can be re-smelted and spun into new stone wool insulation rolls and panels. For a logo please contact the Shelter press office.

6. This year Architect in the House is supported by award-winning bed makers Warren Evans who are donating a bed for a free prize draw for all homeowners who sign up. Warren Evans has been handcrafting bespoke wooden beds for over 30 years. Beds and furniture are handcrafted in a unique green workshop in London, using energy efficient tools, and best environmental practice. Warren Evans has won eight prestigious environmental and ethical awards, including three Sunday Times Best Green Companies Awards and two Observer Ethical Awards. Customers can buy online at warrenevans.com at one of the Warren Evans eight showrooms in Camden, Clapham, Shoreditch, Hammersmith, Bromley, Kingston, Brighton and now St Albans.  Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm.  Saturday 10am – 6pm.  Sunday 11am – 5pm**. For a logo please contact the Shelter press office.


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