Friday, 30 August 2013

Government consults on minimum housing space standards

The UK Government is inviting views on a national minimum space standard as part of its’ current review of Building Standards. The consultation is being promoted as part of moves to streamline the welter of housing standards and regulations facing house builders.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the administration was inviting views on “minimum space and access standards that would allow councils to seek bigger homes to meet local needs, including those of older and disabled people”.

Essential safety and accessibility rules will not be changed, DCLG stressed, but a mass of additional and often confusing housing standards that councils are free to apply locally – creating a patchwork of different standards – are proposed to be reduced. 

London is currently the only area in the UK with minimum space standards. The Government’s proposals, now out for consultation, involve scrapping more than 90 per cent of the existing standards – cutting them down from more than 100 to fewer than 10.

Harry Rich, Chief Executive of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said:“This rationalisation of local housing standards is important to ensure quality for its consumers across the country and certainty for the industry. We are pleased to see the government consulting on space standards.  Our public research has repeatedly revealed that space in new homes is a major concern.

The RIBA is currently running the ‘HomeWise’ campaign for the adoption of national space standards and are urging the Government to go the step further by incorporating them within the Building Regulations.

David Orr, chief executive of National Housing Federation said:“We were involved in the housing standards review because we want to see greater consistency and clarity across standards for all new housing. For truly sustainable new homes that will provide enough space for families to grow, have low fuel bills and reflect local character and conditions we need strong guidelines that ensure good homes are built, but without imposing needless or inappropriate requirements. Moving from 100 standards to 10 is a good start in reducing red tape while safeguarding good quality home building but we look forward to seeing further details of the review.”

Read about the RIBA HomeWise campaign here.

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