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Are Modern Homes Too Small for the Modern Family?

In a recent piece of research published by RIBA, a worrying notion has been conveyed. Despite keen developers working tirelessly to provide further housing stock in this time of shortage, it has been highlighted that over half of those homes being developed right now aren’t actually large enough to provide

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RIBA Invites Architects for "Constructing Communities" Showcase

RIBA has recently sent an open invitation to both its members and students at Chartered Practices to be involved in its “Constructing Communities” instalment, asking them to submit designs for the event, with entries open until the 6th of April this year. Over the course of this summer, the invitation

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RIBA North East Shortlist Announced

A few days ago, RIBA North East announced that it has shortlisted eleven new and exciting projects which will compete for a coveted RIBA North East Award in April. Over the coming weeks leading up to the cermony, RIBA’s judging panel will be stopping by at a host of the

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RIBA Awards South West Shortlist Announced

Most recently, RIBA South West has released its list of the 16 shortlisted buildings for the South West’s RIBA Awards. Having shortened the original list of entries down from 49, the present 16 represent some of the newest and most innovative buildings around, of which RIBA’s very own panel of

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RIBA Contracts Face Harsh Critique From Build UK

One of the UK’s leading trade assocations for the construction industry, Build UK, has urged contractors to take more care before entering into contracts with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). During a review of the RIBA Concise Building Contract and the RIBA Domestic Building Contract, it was highlighted

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RIBA Future Trends Workload Index Positive Outlook

This January, a positive outlook has been highlighted for architects with the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rising to +29, an increase of 14 since last December. The figures showcase improved positivity about workloads from the top to the bottom of the UK, with a specific surge in the southern

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

RIBA

Are Modern Homes Too Small for the Modern Family?

In a recent piece of research published by RIBA, a worrying notion has been conveyed. Despite keen developers working tirelessly to provide further housing stock in this time of shortage, it has been highlighted that over half of those homes being developed right now aren’t actually large enough to provide for those individuals purchasing them. Perhaps due to the need for squeezing as many separate housing plots in small geographic areas, a severe minification process is being seen for new homes, with thousands of families not being able to utilise their home to live in a manner deemed comfortable and sociable – effectively, not having a great deal of social space, not having any room for relatives or an expanding family, or even having room for storing away household essentials. In the research, RIBA highlighted that the, in the case of a new three-bedroom property, the average amount lost with modern property is about 4sqm, the same size as an average bathroom for the family. Yet, in the smallest of three-bedroom properties, it has been reported that the space missing jumps up to the size of an entire double bedroom. Across England, Yorkshire homes are reportedly those smallest in size across England, with the average three-bedroom Yorkshire property being a shocking 25sqm smaller than one in London, whilst the average new home as a whole in Yorkshire is actually smaller by the approximate size of both a living room for the family, and an additional double bedroom. And so, while it’s great to see developers trying to develop housing stock quickly, and even in a manner of space efficiency, the quality of such housing stock is of incredible import. As such, RIBA is presently making the case for amendments to be made to legislation to bring an end to the development of homes deemed sub-standard.

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RIBA Future Trends Shows Index Falls, Yet Industry Remains Optimistic

While the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index has been reported to fall considerably at the close of last year, with December’s value sitting at +15, as opposed to the +27 reported in the month previous, optimism is still maintained in the architecture sector. Additionally, the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also saw a dip down to +9, a short fall from +14, yet even on this front the sector does not seem overly worried. Despite a drop in the workload index, it has been highlighted that this is nothing to worry too much about, with the drop itself being hinted to as a predicted fall in enquiries due to the time of the year; a period when there is traditionally a drop in interest. With larger practices showing little concern at present (+67), the majority remains confident as to being able to maintain a healthy workload as well as respective levels of staff. In fact, a mere 5% has predicted a fall in the number of staff held over the next quarter. Even smaller practices also showed a degree of optimism for their future (+16), with only those practices in-between, with staff levels of 11-50 showing a more pessimistic balance figure of -7. As of the disparity of results, the majority of the UK did report on positive balances in the index, with only a few regions falling into the negative such as Wales and the West, as well as Scotland, reporting figures of -3 and -50 respectively. On the flip-side, figures shown in the South of England show great results, with a balance of +30 reported. As for the staffing index, again both large and small practices have maintained a positive balance and market outlook, with those sitting in the middle then again showing a degree of concern, though in this respect maintaining a balance neither positive nor negative (zero in total)

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RIBA Invites Architects for "Constructing Communities" Showcase

RIBA has recently sent an open invitation to both its members and students at Chartered Practices to be involved in its “Constructing Communities” instalment, asking them to submit designs for the event, with entries open until the 6th of April this year. Over the course of this summer, the invitation is primarily for architects, students and the association’s members to showcase the quality of their designs throughout the London area (specifically along Peckham Levels through to RIBA’s HQ). The opportunity is effectively the association’s response to the widely regarded London Festival of Architecture theme of “community”, with RIBA contributing by showcasing projects capable of laying out the way in which structural architecture, both for short and long-term use, may be able to support more engagement from communities on varying levels. Ideas which architecture professionals may be looking to consider might target a number of key “community” concepts such as modern arrangements for residential property, the layout of combined working and habiting ideas, mobile enterprises, or even simple (and important) areas of any town or city – spaces for general public usage, activities and general community life. Of these ideas, RIBA will be assessing those submitted to pinpoint original projects capable of showcasing innovation on a technical level, as well as those capable of creating changes in the way that society and specific communities interact through architecture. In total, three winners will then be offered the opportunity to develop their idea on a one-to-one scale to then be installed at the RIBA HQ, with the goal to then being presented across RIBA. This is also then to be shown alongside the summer exhibition which will be in the Architecture Gallery, which is set to open on May 18th. To assist with the development of the scaled models of their designs, the construction of the structures will be undertaken by both the winning entrants as well as the RIBA Young People’s Forum.

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RIBA North East Shortlist Announced

A few days ago, RIBA North East announced that it has shortlisted eleven new and exciting projects which will compete for a coveted RIBA North East Award in April. Over the coming weeks leading up to the cermony, RIBA’s judging panel will be stopping by at a host of the North East’s highest quality buildings in the hope of finding the region’s best. Buildings are marked against a number of criteria from interior design to environmental performance. Properties selected vary widely and include: a redevelopment still in its infancy which will house Blyth Workspace, and the new Ashington Community and Leisure Centre at the heart of Ashington town centre’s strategic regeneration. Alongside the much-revered Building of the Year Award, the shortlist will also produce a Small Project of the Year Award for a project costing less than £500,000. The jury panel will also be on the lookout for Project Architect of the Year, which is awarded to the architect who stands out as having significantly contributed to an award-winning project. Several North-East based architects are vying for the prize with a range of period, Grade II Listed developments, though they face stern competition Edinburgh-based, Sutherland Hussey Harris’s Edge Hill home renovation. The RIBA Awards have been running for 50 years, and continue to champion and celebrate the best and most progressive architectural feats. Despite being known for setting the aesthetic standard, the association prides itself on handing out gongs to those who effectively improve the lives of residents and tenants, and RIBA demands that functionality and operational afterlife be taken into account. Accolades are available for buildings in the UK by RIBA Chartered Architects and International Fellows. The RIBA North East award winners will be announced at an evening event at As You Like It in Newcastle upon Tyne on Friday 22nd April 2016.

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RIBA Awards South West Shortlist Announced

Most recently, RIBA South West has released its list of the 16 shortlisted buildings for the South West’s RIBA Awards. Having shortened the original list of entries down from 49, the present 16 represent some of the newest and most innovative buildings around, of which RIBA’s very own panel of judges will be touring for the awards. Having been in operation since 1966, the RIBA Awards are both presented and judged on a local level, setting the benchmark for architecture across the entirety of the UK. Most specifically, the awards are for those buildings by International Fellows and Chartered Architects with RIBA. As a keen champion of driving forward architectural standards and practices across the UK, of course, the awards are widely recognised and respected by the wider industry. As John Watkins, South West Regional Director for RIBA comments: “RIBA Awards always bring out the best in the national architects across our vast region.” As such, this year’s list presents a a diverse range of archetype, design form, size, scale and overall innovation to represent a vast range of areas for architectural excellence. Of the awards up for grabs, there is the well-regarded Building of the Year Award in addition to a number of category-specific awards to provide a variety of different awards for organisations to aim towards. For this, the winners are to be announced on the 29th of April at the Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare. And of those nominated for awards, as aforementioned, a range of different building archetypes are represented on the shortlist, including a mixture of educational buildings and structures, creative and performing arts centres, public buildings and even training centres for more practical pursuits – please see the RIBA website for a complete source of those shortlisted for an award and for future updates on them.

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RIBA Contracts Face Harsh Critique From Build UK

One of the UK’s leading trade assocations for the construction industry, Build UK, has urged contractors to take more care before entering into contracts with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). During a review of the RIBA Concise Building Contract and the RIBA Domestic Building Contract, it was highlighted that contractors were setting themselves up to take a large proportion of the financial risk. The small print means contractors are subject to potentially costly implications, including forfeiting the right to an EOT/additional payment if changes are made without the contract administrator being made aware within 10 days of the change instruction. Details of both time and cost implications must be forwarded by contractors under the two RIBA contracts. Greater awareness of the accompanying responsibilities and obligations is therefore required and, if in doubt, contractors should seek appropriate legal advice. The research was carried out by legislation expert and industry body, the Contractors Legal Group (CLG), of which Build UK is a member. The Concise Building Contract is designed for small-scale commercial building projects while the Domestic Building Contract covers the breadth of non-commercial work, including: new builds, extensions, renovations and maintenance. Following CLG’s review, Build UK also pointed out the lack of standard sub-contracts to go hand-in-hand with the RIBA contracts. For contractors reliant on their supply chain, RIBA’s contracts could therefore prove a costly learning curve. The trade association insisted that any and all sub-contracts should be clear and need to adhere with RIBA’s specific requirements. RIBA has since been made aware of the issues raised by CLG and Build UK. The organisation is currently reviewing the two contracts though its is not expected to published the revised versions until later this year. It is hoped the revisions will take into account the disproportionate risk contractors currently face and present a more financially viable alternative from which all parties can benefit.

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RIBA Future Trends Workload Index Positive Outlook

This January, a positive outlook has been highlighted for architects with the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index rising to +29, an increase of 14 since last December. The figures showcase improved positivity about workloads from the top to the bottom of the UK, with a specific surge in the southern England where a figure of +38 has been reported. Across the index, only Scotland, in fact highlighted any negative territory to be aware of, thus highlighting great prospects for the majority of the UK as a whole. The survey, which originally began some seven years past, has, until now, recorded steady reductions in the overall value of architecture projects being undertaken at the time. Regardless of this running history, the industry has since seen 11 quarters of persistent growth up until now, and while the speed of this growth has tapered down most recently, the figures still showcase a notable 3% increase each year. Naturally, as the figures have highlighted a slowing down in this growth, this also highlights a point at which practices should try to step up, take advantage of the positive market outlook and collaboratively try to drive the industry forward yet further. Although different practice sizes and archetypes have communicated different levels of positivity over the future workload prospects, with larger practices remaining the most positive, practices of all shapes and sizes appear to be expecting their respective workloads to expand over the coming months. As Adrian Dobson, RIBA Executive Director Members explained: “As we entered the New Year confidence seems to have been renewed somewhat, with a number of our practices reporting an increase in enquiries in that month.” Additionally, practices have reported that their employments levels are presently around 3% higher than the start of last year, and, in addition to this, only 2% of such practices expect to have less staff over the course of the next three months. This is because, unlike many sectors, architecture does not yet seem to have hit a point whereupon there are a lack of skilled individuals in the market and so, while practices do still sometimes struggle to find the right individuals to recruit, the profession remains popular enough to sustain further employment growth.

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