Alex Coleman BA(Hons) DipArch (Kingston)
Roberto Scalzullo ARB RIBA
31st March 2015

Space standards adopted in radical shake-up for homes

The long-awaited national space standards, dubbed the ‘biggest change in housing standards in a generation’, have been given the go-ahead

The space standards which are intended to streamline technical requirements into a single housing standard, as championed by The AJ’s More Homes Better Homes Campaign, were given Royal Assent on Friday (27 March).

The introduction of the first national space standard will see the rest of the UK adopting similar standards to those already in place in London.

The new rules apply to every new home, from one-off houses to the entire private-rental sector, and enforce a minimum size dependant on the number of bedrooms and occupants (see table below).

The standards are similar to those recommended by the expert ‘challenge panel’ headed up by PRP Architects’ Andy von Bradsky, and have not changed since the draft gross internal areas were released after a public consultation in October last year despite initial concerns that the standards could still be too small.

Requirements contained within the standards

Minimum gross internal floor areas:

  Minimum area (m2)
Number of bedrooms Number of people One-storey dwellings Two-storey dwellings Three-storey dwellings
1 1 39    
  2 50 58  
2 3 61 70  
  4 70 79  
3 4 74 84 90
  5 86 93 99
  6 95 102 108
4 5 90 97 103
  6 99 106 112
  7 108 115 121
  8 117 124 130
5 6 103 110 116
  7 112 119 125
  8 121 128 134
6 7 116 123 129
  8 125 132 138
  • Two-bedroom homes must have at least one double bedroom
  • Single bedrooms should have a minimum floor area of 7.5m2
  • A double bedroom should have minimum floor area of 11.5m2
  • Areas with less than 1.5m headroom will not be counted in the gross internal area unless used solely for storage
  • Minimum floor to ceiling height is 2.3m

The government has also failed to make changes to a ‘loophole’ which would allow local councils to opt-out of the standards. The requirements can only be applied where there is a local plan in place and where the viability of the development would not be compromised by adopting the standards. This optional element initially prompted concern that the changes would not be taken up.

Communities minister Stephen Williams, said: ‘Under the old system of housing standards, builders faced a confusing and contradictory mass of measures.

‘The coalition government is introducing a simple, easy to understand set of requirements. These will help housebuilders and councils to work together to build more of the high quality and sustainable homes for people right across the country.’

Communities secretary Eric Pickles, added: ‘This rationalises the many differing existing standards into a simpler, streamlined system which will reduce burdens and help bring forward much needed new homes.’


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