Housing Architects Respond to the Misguided RIBA #HomeWise Campaign Picture 1

Ben Derbyshire's response to the recent re-launch of the RIBA's 'research' into housing standards

Ben Derbyshire, Managing Partner of HTA Design LLP, is cosignatory of a statement in response to the recent re-launch of the RIBA's 'research' into housing standards.

The nations' house builders have been entrusted by Government with the delivery of one million new homes by the end of this parliament, and will hopefully be supported in this endeavour by a promise of billions of pounds of public money.  This should be seen as an opportunity by the RIBA to engage collaboratively with the industry to support the creation of better buildings, stronger communities and a sustainable environment and at the same time help its members engage with the challenges and opportunities of a building programme at the very top of the nation's priorities.  Instead of this positive message, we regret the RIBA has relaunched its #HomeWise campaign.

The RIBA’s aim is to persuade government to embed Nationally Described Space Standard in building regulations by amendment of the Housing and Planning Bill. The unintended consequence appears in the press as a reckless attack on the house building industry, resorting to pejorative sound bite language, and with the possible outcome of alienating an important market for architects' services. In so doing, the RIBA ignored the advice of its own housing experts who have pointed out the flaws in its research and signalled alternative approaches to working with house builders to continuously improve the quality and value of the housing product.

There are a great many award winning examples of high quality housing delivered by house builders and designed by architects.  Many architects are working closely with house builders and other stakeholders on ways to improve the regulatory and policy context for the delivery of better quality and value in new housing.  Ironically, many house builders share the RIBA's view that the Nationally Described Space Standard should be adopted universally and not at the discretion of local planners.  It should have been perfectly possible to enlist house builders in the campaign and instead the RIBA chooses to publicly insult them.

We once again implore the RIBA Communications team to change tack and abandon the #HomeWise campaign which we have specifically advised against.  We also regret that the President has put her name to the use of such derogatory language aimed at the industry she should be seen to support.  And we call upon the Institute to listen to and take the advice of its expert members on such matters as the policy context for the delivery of quality housing.  It is not true that all publicity is good publicity

As a further addendum Richard Lavington – MacCreanor Lavington also wishes to add his name to the list of signatories. So the final list is:

Andy von Bradsky - PRP

Ben Derbyshire - HTA Design LLP

John Assael - John Assael Architects

Andrew Matthews and Stephen Proctor – Proctor Matthews

Alex Ely – Mae Architects

Andrew Beharrell - PTE

Richard Lavington – MacCreanor Lavington

David Levitt