Home-building is a slow process and the results last a long time. This means that home builders always need to be thinking ahead and planning for the future. Here are some of the trends influencing home-builders and improvers right now.
Part of the reason why homes have been getting smaller is that there has been a trend towards replacing in-home facilities with communal facilities. This trend has been most obvious in city-centre flats.
Here, kitchens have shrunk into kitchenettes and laundry facilities have become rarer. The assumption behind these changes is that occupants would eat and do their laundry elsewhere. This trend has probably been pushed as far as it can go. In fact, it may even have been pushed a bit too far. It is now set to go into a clear reverse.
Post-COVID19 even renters are likely to want the reassurance of knowing that they have all essential facilities in their own home. What’s more, the definition of “essential facilities” is likely to expand. Modern homes are likely to be places where people both work and work out as well as relax.
Even though there are going to be increasing demands placed on homes, they are unlikely to get bigger. This means that they are going to need to get smarter. Over the next few years, there’s likely to be a massive increase in the uptake of smart devices. In simple terms, people will be using their homes more than ever before, so they’ll be prepared to invest in them.
There is also likely to be a convergence of technologies to squeeze more functionality into less space. For example, old-school TVs are regaining their edge by reinventing themselves as multi-purpose smart screens. There will still be a place for single-use gadgets, but only where they offer a clear advantage (e.g. ebook readers).
Homes may also increasingly use biometric controls for the highest security. This could be a requirement for mainstream working from home.
There is absolutely no doubt that homes will be at the forefront of the push towards sustainability. In simple terms, they need to be. The government clearly recognizes this. For example, it has announced that from 2025, it will be illegal to fit gas boilers in new homes.
The government did try to push forward the electrification of homes by means of the Green Homes Grant. Unfortunately, this was largely derailed due to the impact of COVID19. At present, the government’s position is that unspent money will be recouped rather than rolled over. This position has, however, been strongly criticized by MPs.
It may be that the government will introduce some new variation of the Green Homes Grant using money from the new Green Bonds Scheme. This is intended to raise £15b to help the UK reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
As well as moving to greener heat, the UK also needs to move to greener transport. Part of this is going to involve the shift to electric vehicles. Part of that is going to involve a huge expansion of the UK’s charging infrastructure. Hopefully, the government will work with home-builders to support the installation of charging facilities in new developments.
Dominic is the director of Chill Air Conditioning, which are specialists in air conditioning installations for both commercial and domestic use across East Midlands.