Provocative new film reveals the average new one bed home is as cramped as a tube carriage

Imagine living in a Jubilee Line tube carriage. It may sound far-fetched, but 46 sq m, the size of a Jubilee Line carriage, is the size of the average one-bedroom new build home being built in Britain*. This cramped, environment is a day-to-day reality for many new build residents. And yet space and light are the top things people care about when looking for new homes.**

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) sent TV’s Kevin McCloud underground to see how difficult it is to get ready for work without enough space or light. See what happened here:

England has no national minimum standards for the size of all new homes and there is limited guidance about the size and number of windows in homes. The UK has the smallest homes in Western Europe. People are concerned about the space and natural light when they are looking for homes but these are not luxuries, they are basic needs which are proven to impact on our health, happiness and wellbeing.

The RIBA believes people deserve better, brighter homes – we can’t live without space and light – and now is the time for people to do something about it. In a few weeks’ time Government will be making crucial decisions about the future of our homes including minimum standards for space, energy, security and natural light.  The Government’s Review of Housing Standards in England could result in the current meagre housing standards being reduced or even abolished.

Kevin McCloud said:

'This isn't rocket science. We all instinctively respond to the opportunity for a view, a connection with the outdoors, fresh air, light and space. A return to minimum space standards is crucial for the health and wellbeing of the people who will be living in new build homes.'

Urging the public to take a stand and get behind the HomeWise campaign, RIBA President Angela Brady said:

'The country is in the grip of the worst housing crisis in decades and there is an urgent need to provide more affordable, quality homes. In their rush to build the Government must avoid the temptation to reduce current standards and give the go-ahead for builders to produce another generation of poor quality homes, without adequate space and natural light.'

The RIBA is calling on the public to act now and demand their local MP supports the HomeWise campaign for national minimum standards on space and natural light to ensure their concerns and the views of their local communities are acted on by Government.

Visit and follow the simple steps to locate and contact your MP.




Notes to editors

  1. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761
  2. For more images from the film please visit:
  3. HomeWise is campaigning for better homes across the UK. Visit for more information.
  4. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members
  5. Follow the campaign on Twitter @BeHomeWise
  6. * This average is based on a sample of 1,159 homes being built on 14 sites across the England according to data collected in 2011. For full details see RIBA’s report The Case for Space – the full report here
  7. ** See public research in The Way We Live Now and the Future Homes Commission survey in Building the Homes and Communities Britain Needs