- Design Review is a valuable process that could work harder. The design review community has grown significantly over recent years and has a large talent pool of experience that could be better utilised through more efficient design review processes and earlier engagement in planning applications.
- The tragic Grenfell disaster has inspired a comprehensive safety refresh to ensure it does not happen again. The DCLG has established a building safety programme to ensure residents of high rise buildings are safe from the risk of fire, now and in the future. The first phase in the programme has identified 161 social housing buildings that are at fire risk.
- The Grenfell disaster also highlights more general limitations within our building control process that should be improved. We should consider conducting an objective analysis and revision of legislation and guidance; introducing ‘stop notice power’ for Local Authority Building Control and providing effective enforcement powers beyond building completion to prevent inadequate safety maintenance post-occupancy and to ensure our buildings are safe throughout their full life-cycle.
- We have an affordable housing crisis that demands a fundamental rethink in how we prioritise and regulate our housing sector. Ever-rising house prices have polarised London’s population, forcing lower-income households out of their existing communities, and establishing whole generations of renters. We need to build more social housing, use our current housing stock more effectively, and have better rent regulation that support our most vulnerable.
- Simple building strategies that prioritise the user-experience can dramatically improve the desirability of high-density housing blocks. Research undertaken by Design for Homes have shown that people dislike places because of its design, not because of its density. Building basics like ventilation, outdoor spaces, room size and storage can fundamentally improve the quality of spaces and overall occupancy well-being.
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