The housing crisis is primarily caused by a lack of affordability. Why aren’t houses affordable? Not because we are poorer than we used to be, but because houses are far more expensive than they used to be. With the government recently being accused of prolonging the national housing crisis by failing to sell enough land for affordable and social housing, we hope to address some of the issues regarding the crisis and provide some solutions.
Critics suggest that policy makers mostly ignore the demands for housing, instead choosing to focus on supply – i.e. how can we build more houses? Clearly, we need to remove the main constraints – of which three are the most basic, applying not only to housing, but to nearly everything.
A lot of people don’t want new housing near their own homes, fearing the disruption that it could cause. Therefore their unhappiness generates political pressure against new developments which aim to protect the wishes of locals.
Solution? We should aim to build housing which appeals to locals, as well as the prospective residents. At ethical partnership we have considerable experience and success in securing permission for houses ranging from an Arts & Crafts movement inspired house, to a home and garden based on permaculture principles, to a modernist pavilion designed around the needs of a disabled family member. Similarly, we offer ‘auditing and certification’ services for clients who want to ensure their buildings conform with Part M and ‘Lifetime Homes’. These homes provide accessibility for those with disabilities, as well as support the elderly, ensuring people can live in their own homes for longer. We hope that residents would recognise the uniqueness of designs and the aesthetic merits within such developments, as well as be happy to support the local community with housing that is designed to aid those with additional needs.
It seems like there is never enough of it! In the United Kingdom, we still primarily build houses by hand, which is a lengthy process. This means that it can be difficult to keep up the supply with demand.
Solution? By utilising factory-built houses and advanced onsite and offsite fabrication technologies to speed up the process of construction, we can drastically reduce the amount of time needed to produce the required amount of housing. At ethical partnership we can design kit-houses that are not only focused on the needs of residents, but are also sensitive to the needs of the local environment. With our work focused around our values, we always seek to protect and conserve the natural environment and finite resources of the planet.
This is always at a premium where people most want to live, and is often is the tightest constraint on building new homes.
Solution? By investing more into the development of ‘tiny houses’, we can have more of them on any available site. Also, with increasing numbers of us living alone or as couples without children, family-sized homes often seem like a waste of space – not to mention a waste of other resources like energy. Smaller homes would mean that more people can live in sought-after areas, such as city centres or rural beauty spots, where much of life is lived outdoors anyway. In urban settings, tiny homes lend themselves to more modular forms of construction and can make use of every piece of land. While in rural settings, the 21st-century version of the log-cabin treads lightly on the landscape. True to our commitment to sustainability, we have been involved in designing and building sustainable housing for more than 15 years – long before it became fashionable or topical! We can design and specify passive houses, Scandinavian log houses, kit houses and low-impact eco homes, all of which make the most use of available space as possible, as well being sensitive to the needs of the local environment.
Tiny homes, prefabricated homes, beautiful homes, ‘Lifetime Homes’ – all have their benefits to easing the housing crisis. We hope that this has provided you with an overview of some potential ideas for your next build – contact us for more information about the work we do and the services that we offer. You can also find us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date with the work that we do.