Optimising the design of new build housing in the United Kingdom
: the case of size and form

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


The house is the most life changing and most expensive product that most people will own in their lifetime. House design and construction is a very complicated process that affects and is influenced by various stakeholders such as government and non-governmental organisations, local authorities, housing developers, the general public, national and international environmental agencies. Even though modern lifestyle requirement has changed dramatically in the last 15 years, UK houses remain amongst the unchanged, smallest, uncharacteristic, energy inefficient and most expensive in Europe, this study provides evidence of the negative consequence of building small houses includes overcrowding, unhealthy and unsustainable developments. Furthermore, replication of the old design and lack of innovation in modern design becomes a trend and resulted only 1 in 4 people prefer to live in new built houses (RIBA 2013). Initially, this research provides insight into many problems associated with new houses built in the last 15 years, in term of small spaces, recycled form design, energy performance, cost, lack of architectural characteristic, marketing difficulties and scarcity of accommodating modern life requirements. Subsequently, addressing most of the factors impacted on the design aspect, such as land price, housing shortage, role of Green Belt, environmental and energy agenda, mind-set, modern lifestyle needs and public involvement in the design process.

However, the focus of this study is an in-depth research into two aspects housing design: Size and Form, investigating the factors affecting the size of newly build houses and form design only. The research also outlines the key issues that led to the current space allowance and the lack of architectural innovation. The study identified and provides suggestions for tackling theses problems and produce healthier more liveable homes that will be adaptable under different future lifestyle changes.

The aim of this study is to ‘investigate the factors that influences the current size and form of the newly built houses in the UK’ The research has been carried out using a mixed methodology targeting architects, estate agents and professional within the construction industry. Secondary data from governmental agencies and NHBC data has been reviewed to establish the trend in housing design and to understand the key reasons behind replication and recycling old house design (post war or 19th Century housing design).The outcome of this study highlights the necessity of having an immediate action and coordination among all the stakeholders involved in the housing production to optimise the design of new spacial and form design in a way to encourage innovation in design and encourage. The study concludes that providing National Minimum Space Standard is essential in helping the industry meets the minimum expectation liveable spaces that help in meeting the life style demands of 21st Century.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorAbdullahi Ahmed (Supervisor) & Matthew Kinross (Supervisor)

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