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Thu September 24 2020

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RIBA slams ‘shoe box’ homes

15 Sep 11 British architects have attached housebuilders for making homes that are on average 8% smaller than the recommended minimum size.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) says that housebuilders are leaving Britons short-changed by “churning out shameful shoe box homes”.

The findings feature in a RIBA report, Case for Space, based on 80 sites across England.

The report reveals:

■  The floor area of the average new three-bedroom home is only 92% of the recommended minimum size, therefore missing the space equivalent to a single bedroom. With a floor area of 88m², the average house is 8m² short of the recommended size.

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■  The most common new three-bedroom home is smaller still at 74m². At only 77% of the recommended size it is missing 22m² and therefore the space equivalent to two double bedrooms.

■  The average single storey one bedroom home is 46m², which is 93% (4m² short) of the recommended minimum size.

RIBA chief executive Harry Rich said:  “Our homes should be places that enhance our lives and well-being.  However, as our new research confirms, thousands of cramped houses - shameful shoe box homes - are being churned out all over the country, depriving households of the space they need to live comfortably and cohesively.

“At a time when the government, house building industry, economists and house buyers and renters are concerned about whether we are building enough new homes in the UK, it might seem odd to suggest that the focus should move to thinking about the quality of those homes. And yet this is the very time to do so. In a rush to build quickly and cheaply we risk storing up unnecessary problems for the future. There does not need to be any contradiction between building or refurbishing enough homes and making sure that they are of the highest quality.”

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