RIBA calls on Government to set space and light standards for new build homes

Public wants better, bigger and brighter homes

  • 80% of the public would be more likely to choose a home that meets minimum space standards
  • Lack of natural light (20%) and lack of space (32%) are among the most cited causes of dissatisfaction with current homes
  • Lack of space is the main reason why people living in homes built less than 10 years ago want to make changes or are considering moving home

Exclusive research by Ipsos MORI for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed strong public support for the introduction of minimum space standards for new build homes across England.

The RIBA research, an independent gauge of customer attitudes to housing, has been published as the Government prepares to make an announcement on its crucial Review of Housing Standards in England within the coming weeks, which could result in current housing standards being reduced or abolished. Future generations will live and grow in the homes we build now and the size and quality of new homes built in this country will be dependent on the outcome of this Review – the RIBA is demanding the Government does not sacrifice quality in a bid to get the country building at any cost.

The compelling research has found that the majority of the public would support the introduction of minimum space standards. 80% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose a new home that met minimum space standards*. The impact of the abolition of the Parker Morris minimum space standards through the 1980 Local Government, Planning and Land Act may also be apparent with concerns over a lack of space more prevalent amongst those living in homes built after the standards were removed.

Urging the public to take a stand, 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.

'Quality cannot be sacrificed by the urgent need to provide more homes. To do so would be a false economy, leaving us with homes people don’t want to live and don’t want to have in their neighbourhood.

'The Government wants to build an Aspiration Nation, so let’s make that possible by building homes that not only suit our most basic lifestyle needs, but are flexible and fit for the future.

'We urge people to back our HomeWise campaign and demand better homes now.'

The research has been revealed today to coincide with the launch of a website to empower people to demand their local MP supports the RIBA’s HomeWise campaign for national minimum standards on space and natural light. The RIBA is calling on the public to act now and ensure their concerns and the views of their local communities are acted on by Government.

Visit www.withoutspaceandlight.com 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 howard.crosskey@riba.org 
  2. The survey can be downloaded here: http://www.withoutspaceandlight.com/Resources/WithoutSpaceLightReport.pdf
  3. For further information on the survey please contact Stephen.Finlay@ipsos.com
  4. Other reports published by the RIBA reveal that space and light are the top concerns for consumers choosing a new home, and that the public believe new homes are too small. See our research reports and the Future Homes Commission report on the dedicated campaign website www.behomewise.co.uk
  5. The Government announced a Review of Housing Standards in October 2012, aimed at rationalising current housing standards
  6. * Standards only currently exist in London and for new English homes that are publicly funded (e.g. some affordable homes built through HCA funding)
  7. The Government’s 2011 Housing Strategy – Laying the Foundations: a housing strategy for England – pledged to improve standards of design and sustainability in housing and argued that “[The] strategy is not about building more homes at any cost” (paras 25-26)
  8. The National Planning Policy Framework (2011) specifies that ““Local authorities should identify the size, type, tenure and range of housing that is required in particular locations, reflecting local demand” – for more detail on the NPPF visit: 
  9. In his 2011 Conservative Party Conference speech, the Prime Minister said that “most people [want to own] a home of their own: not just any old home but a decent one: light and spacious, a place with a proper front door and room for the kids to play in.”
  10. Interviews and images of people living in new build homes from across Great Britain who took part in the survey are available upon request from the RIBA. 
  11. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members www.architecture.com
  12. Follow the HomeWise campaign on Twitter for regular updates www.twitter.com/BeHomeWise