A survey from LABC Warranty has revealed that more than a third of builders and developers plan to include work-from-home study rooms or areas in new build housing from 2022, as hybrid working rises
Builders are also anticipating better insulation, more electric car charging points, integrated digital connections and alternative heat sources as well as underfloor heating.
The poll, conducted by structural warranty provider LABC Warranty, has revealed how the pandemic and the climate-change agenda has influenced developers’ and builders’ thinking as the UK continues to tackle the housing shortage.
Changes ahead of the fossil fuel heating ban
With the Future Homes Standard requiring alternatives to fossil fuel-based heating systems in new homes from 2025, builders and developers are already considering a range of measures needed to transition to new technologies, such as air- and ground-source heat pumps.
69% of respondents said that they intend to improve insulation in new homes from 2022, while 42% are already looking at installing alternative heating systems.
Other energy efficiency measures such as triple-glazed windows (23%), power generation, for example solar panels (29%), and mechanical air ventilation (29%) are less likely to be specified in new homes, as sustainable housing becomes the new normality.
Homebuilders are also anticipating the continued growth of electric car use, with 44% saying they will be installing electric car charging points in new homes.
Hybrid working to influence new-home design
Developers and builders also expect the work-from-home era to continue post-pandemic, with 35% intending to include either a dedicated home office room or space, while 40% recognise the value of combined USB, internet and power sockets.
Outdoor space, which became so valued during the pandemic lockdowns, remains lower priority, with 20% stating they will be providing larger outdoor areas.
Smaller, town-based developments on the rise
72% of the respondents in the LABC Warranty poll expect to build more new homes in 2022 than in 2021 to meet the increasing housing demand.
The most likely location for new homes will be in commuter and provincial towns, with larger suburban developments expected to make up 24% of new-home provision.
Just over a quarter of developments will be smaller in size, located in village or town boundaries, whilst one-in-five (20%) will be inner-city residences.
‘Increased use of new technologies’
Daniel Hughes, technical partnership director at LABC Warranty, said: “As one of the UK’s largest providers of structural warranties for new homes, we are seeing increased use of new technologies, methods and materials in new-home construction as the sector seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.
“Builders and developers know that, building regulations aside, homes featuring better insulation and lower energy bills will be more attractive to buyers and renters.
“Equally, the increase in working-from-home could be reflected in layout, with designs seeking to incorporate study rooms or more adaptable spaces.
“Even with all the extra considerations with regards building safety and energy efficiency, it’s good to note the majority expect to build more new homes in 2022 compared to 2021.”