The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has stepped up its campaign for quality, environmentally friendly and affordable housing with the release of its Better Homes and Neighbourhoods policy paper this month.
Minimum space standards for housing in England and Wales is at the top of its list of priorities. It says it wants to see better cooperation between architects and the housing industry to try lift housing standards, in regards to size, back to what they were up until the end of the 1920s.
RIBA president Jack Pringle says architects have been ‘disenfranchised’ by the housing industry for too long and that it is now time for architects to be involved in house planning and policy.
“It can’t be right for individuals, families or communities to live in matchboxes,” Pringle says.
“We’re way behind the rest of Europe –even densely populated Holland has better proportioned houses than are being built in the UK. As a profession we [architects] have the necessary skills, knowledge and passion for producing homes and neighbourhoods, and it’s important that he architectural profession takes a lead of housing.”
The institute also called on the British Government to do more to encourage current house owners to further reduce carbon emissions in the home.
While new homes all have to meet set guidelines for sustainable housing, only 1% of housing in UK each year will be new.
It says older houses must also do more to meet standards already set by the government for new housing, by which all new homes will be built to zero-carbon standards by 2016.