Housing comes first

Quality and space remain at the forefront of our concerns

In my first month of being President of the RIBA I sense the level of expectation and am grateful for all the good wishes. I will do my best to meet those expectations. I will champion a programme for the Institute to become a hub for clients, optimising opportunities for our members; oversee a membership review; continue to work for closer engagement bet­ween schools of architecture and practice; and promote architecture to a wider audience. And I will continue to campaign on important issues to ensure that the RIBA has a place at the table during government discussions.

This government favours deregulation and cutting red tape, so it is significant that the RIBA’s major campaigning issue for the introduction of minimum space standards is still on the table

One such issue which the RIBA has been working on for some time is housing. The government is reviewing the various sets of standards and regulations that apply to housing in England. It is a much needed review of a disparate and sometimes overlapping set of standards, something the industry needs clarity on. It is also an opportunity to ensure that the core components for delivering quality housing are in place so that this country produces homes that people want and that are fit for the future.  This government favours deregulation and cutting red tape, so it is significant that the RIBA’s major campaigning issue for the introduction of minimum space standards is still on the table.

As we seek to address the housing crisis, there has never been a more critical time to debate what the wider industry should deliver. This is one area of opportunity for our profession, and one that the new Client Liaison Group will be examining.

In my view one of the things that the RIBA is doing better and better is making the vital link with what the public wants. In numerous pieces of research RIBA has found that confined space is a major reason why people choose not to live in new build homes.  In particular many private sector homes in England today fall short of the London Housing Standards, the only current standard. This indicates that the market is not delivering. When asked, four out of five members of the public say that they would buy a new home if it met space standards. This is important; it is not just we architects who say that quality matters, because we know it does, but that view is borne out in independent objective research.

This marks a significant shift in the ­RIBA’s approach, and is something that I will continue to champion. It is important that we translate what architecture means for people. And as architects we can be campaigners. You, your colleagues and your clients can support the campaign. Visit www.withoutspace­andlight.com and email your support to the government.


NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS

The RIBA welcomes to Council newly elected members Geoff Alsop, Albena Atenassova,  Robert Franklin, Tzena James, Owen Luder, Roger Shrimplin, Gordon Smith, Karl Smith, Dawson Stelfox, Philip Waddy, Francesca Weal, Warren Whyte, Christopher Williamson and Katie Wilmot.