The building industry cannot be described as revolutionary, well not in the UK anyway. The majority of houses currently being built certainly lack character, charm and quality. With 70% of houses being built by the private sector, 70% of houses are built with economics in mind, not to improve the lives of the people who live in them. Innovation from this majority is seen as a marketing front, not genuine attempt to improve the quality of the homes in the UK and this is the most worrying sign of all.
So the Government have decided to step in and stop them getting away with house building murder. The Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) demands improvement in quality of new build houses by reducing – and eventually eliminating – the energy demand. It seems the only way to drive social improvement is to hit the commanding forces where it hurts – Their wallets. A sad but true statement.
As of 2016, new houses will have to be carbon neutral in the UK, produced as much energy as they consume. The days of leaky, fuel thirsty homes will be a thing of the past (hopefully) and the opportunities for product innovation within the building industry are huge but challenging, given the time scale. When the CfSH was announced, it was swept under the carpet by everyone in the industry, but it hasn’t gone away. Now the big players are worried and are actively seeks solutions to problems. Both process and product improvements require significant attention and this direction is an industrial designers dream.
Forced innovation may be sad but without it, the future of the UK home was doomed.
We might even see some charcter return to the UK’s housing stock!