Government outlines minimum space standards

The government has outlined its proposals for the development of a nationally described space standard which would be available to local planning authorities to use in setting their housing policies.

DCLG: has set out plans for nationally described space standard
DCLG: has set out plans for nationally described space standard

The proposed set of space standards, set out in a government consultation, outline requirements for the gross internal floor area of new dwellings at a defined level of occupancy as well as floor areas and dimensions for key parts of the home, including bedrooms, storage and floor to ceiling height.

Under the proposed space standards, the minimum gross internal floor area for a two-storey three bedroom house with four bedspaces would be 84 square metres, rising to 102 square metres with six bedspaces.

The minimum gross internal floor area for a two bedroom single-storey dwelling with three bedspaces would be 61 square metres under the proposed standards, rising to 70 square metres with four bedspaces.

A study published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2011 found that the average size of a one bedroom home in England is 46 square metres and the average three bedroom home is 88 square metres.

The Department for Communities and Local Government's consultation document says that the government believes that it is right that local communities and neighbourhoods should have the ability to influence the size and types of new housing in their local areas, providing that this does not affect the viability of housing coming forward.

But it added: "The government also takes the view that high quality housing can be more effectively delivered where a single space standard is used throughout England, wherever a local authority decides to introduce such a policy."

According to the document, the space standard "will be a nationally described standard triggered by planning policy and conditions".

"Currently, it is the role of the planning authority to assess and discharge conditions relating to compliance with space standards where these are set in local planning policy," the document said.

"This would continue to be the case, but we are interested in exploring alternative effective methods of compliance, and in particular whether there might be a role for building control bodies."

Housing Standards Review: Technical Consultation

Nationally Described Space Standard: Technical Requirements

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