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Space Standards for Homes

#Homewise - Space Standards for Homes investigates the Nationally Described Space Standard, and makes the case for space in housing.

In October 2015, the government introduced a new housing standard called the ‘Nationally Described Space Standard’. This new standard was supposed to improve the quality of new-build housing by ensuring they are built to an adequate size.

This standard won’t solve the problem of inadequate housing because it is voluntary and too complicated for local authorities to introduce. We decided to look into this problem, we did some research into how this new standard would work and looked into how big (or small) new homes are.

Our research and recommendations has been summarised in a new report ‘#HomeWise: Space Standards for Homes’

What we found out

New homes

  • Outside of London the average new 3 bedroom home is missing 4m² - the size of a family bathroom
  • New three bedroom homes in London are 25m² bigger than in Yorkshire – the size of a double bedroom and family living room.
  • The smallest three bedroom homes surveyed are missing 9m² - the size of a double bedroom.

The new space standard

  • It is likely local authorities will wait until a wider planning review to introduce the space standard.
  • Even if local authorities wanted to introduce the space standard it could take years.
  • Once the space standard is introduced it wouldn’t even apply to all new homes.

What this means

More than half of the new homes being built today are not big enough to meet the needs of the people who buy them.

This squeeze on the size of our houses is depriving thousands of families of the space needed for them to live comfortably.

Local Authorities will struggle to set the new space standard as it is over complicated, costs too much and will take too long.

All of the bureaucratic processes involved in introducing the standard will place an excessive and unnecessary burden on local authorities limiting the introduction of the standard.

What we're proposing

We’re calling for minimum space standards to apply to all homes, in every location. We’re asking the government to create a fair housing offer by embedding the Nationally Described Space Standard in building regulations.

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