Authored by Chris Coxon, Head of Marketing at Eurocell plc – the leading manufacturer, recycler and distributor of high quality, cost efficient and sustainable PVC-U solutions.
The UK’s housing stock, or shortage of, is a story that has continued to grab news headlines for what seems like an eternity. And for good reason: it’s threatening to become a national crisis – if it isn’t one already. In response, the UK government recently pledged to build 300,000 new homes a year, yet analysis suggests this is simply not enough to address a backlog of over three million homes.
With an urgent need to build so many new homes the construction sector faces some challenges to ensure that the current shortfall is addressed, not least how it can ensure that quality is not sacrificed in the race for quantity. As such it is critical that as a nation, we work together with the construction industry, architects and designers, to listen to consumers to ensure the quality of the homes we build aligns with consumer expectations.
This is something Eurocell had in mind when we recently commissioned a report to provide the construction sector with a resource that truly reflects homes of the quality and specifications that homeowners and renters want to live in. ‘The Future Home Report’ draws on the findings of a survey of 1,000 25-40-year olds that either own or rent homes, about design and build considerations and the analysis of architects from some of the UK’s leading practices. The report highlighted five key trends which are currently shaping the homes that are built. Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
A more advanced PRS model
PRS buildings are likely to develop over time to be operated more like clubs where renters will have access to facilities across developers’ estates. This model is certainly interesting in the higher value PRS model, with developers in the bigger cities starting to make initial inroads into this market.
Creating outdoor public areas within this model, for example gardens, can have a huge influence over the perception of the building. In the past, tower blocks with little to no communal areas, were often hotbeds for crime, squalor and social dysfunction, with critics arguing that the wide open spaces between the blocks of modernist high-rises negatively impacted the sense of community.
Creating adaptable living spaces
There is increasing interest and demand for adaptable living spaces that cater for the short-term flexibility people need – for instance turning storage space into a bedroom for a weekend or using partitions to split rooms.
Regeneration of places is being seen more and more across the UK, largely driven by public and private sector collaboration. For example, houses being built near new schools to meet an increase in demand for housing around these areas, or housing being built above public hospitals and gyms to utilise the space.
With stringent sustainability and carbon savings targets set out by the Government, it’s important than any Government funded projects, including social housing developments, are as sustainable as possible. This again reinforces the sustainability aspect of homes of the future, especially when public and private sectors are collaborating on projects such as social housing.
An increase in modular building
Broadly speaking, ‘sustainable’ means producing houses that are designed to reduce their overall environmental impact, both during and after construction. Historically, the construction industry is notorious for its waste, however, in recent years modular building has begun to grow in popularity, with the technique often being cited as a more sustainable way of building due to the use of a controlled environment and waste reduction.
Inner vs. outer city living
An emerging trend is the difference between rural design which tends to be more restricted and city centre living, which tends to be more innovative. As more and more people start their lives in the city and then move out of the city (taking their preferred design trends with them) it is anticipated that this will eventually evolve what developments in more rural areas look like.
By analysing the views of architects that are currently designing the ‘homes of the future’ with the findings of Eurocell’s research, we are able to develop a rounded view of what the buildings of the future will need to look like in order to ensure that the quality vs quantity dilemma is addressed appropriately. If utilised correctly these findings will help ensure that housebuilders can implement these trends into the homes they are creating, while ensuring enough are built to solve the current housing crisis.
The Future Home Report can be downloaded in full here www.eurocell.co.uk/whitepaper