Building for the Future – What’s driving change in UK housing design?

Published: 26th January 2018

Building for the Future – What’s driving change in UK housing design?

Building design changes over time, and this is down to more than simply shifting design trends, many other factors influence the way our housing is designed and built.

So what is currently driving change in UK housing design? And how are these factors impacting on the way homes look and perform for their residents?

These are questions that Epwin Group asked the UK’s architects and specifiers in its research project Building for The Future.

Epwin Group carried out a survey asking architects and specifiers what factors they feel will affect housing over the next decade and what impact they will have on design and build.

What this survey unearthed are nine key trends, and here is a summary of those findings:

  1. Booming Urban Populations – Overwhelmingly, those surveyed see the issue of an increased urban population as the factor that will have the most influence on housing design over the next decade; 70% of those surveyed see it as a significant issue, with 60% saying that new build properties are already smaller than they were 10 years ago.
  2. An Aging Population – Just over 60% of those surveyed see this trend being a significant factor in the future of housing design, with not enough housing currently being built with the older generation in mind.
  3. The Need for Green Spaces – Green spaces in urban environments improves the mental and physical wellbeing of residents, and 30% of survey respondents feel that this will be a significant factor in housing design over the coming years.
  4. Design for Climate Change – More than half of respondents see climate change as an issue that will drive change in the way properties are designed and built.
  5. Green Technologies & Architecture – Almost half of respondents believe that advances in technology and innovation in sustainable building materials and products is changing the way housing looks and performs for its residents.
  6. The Impact of Skills Shortages – Some 18% of respondents stated that skills shortages in the construction industry will have an influence on housing.
  7. The Flexibility of Modular Homes – Some 35% of survey respondents believe modular homes are set to be a major design movement and potential solution to the UK’s housing crisis.
  8. Technological Advancements in Architecture – Are technological advances in architecture affecting the way buildings are designed? Just over 15% of respondents believe so.
  9. The Value of good Design – All respondents agreed that, regardless of the pressures facing the architectural world, there is a sense that good design will always be at the heart of delivering successful communities.

Some of these factors will present a significant challenge for the design community, and there is a sense of concern about how architects will meet the task that lies ahead – designing homes which will meet the needs of our changing population, framed against issues such as increasing urban populations and a lack of available land for development.

However, there is also hope and optimism within the industry. Positive findings include; the impact of the technological advances being seen in the architectural world which are changing the face of design, innovation in sustainable building and green technologies which are improving the way housing performs for its residents, and the flexibility and speed of construction offered by modular homes which could help to offset some of the negative issues facing the industry, such as skills shortages

To download the full research document please visit, you can also receive updates by following @EpwinGroup on Twitter.

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