Age-friendly, inclusive & healthy living

  • By 2030, one in five people in the UK (21.8%) will be 65 years old or over, and 40% of the working age population will have a long-term health condition [ONS, 2017]. The Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge mission is for people to enjoy 5 more years of healthy, independent living by 2035. Through innovative technologies, finance and housing models the mission is enabling continuation of access to employment, care and help to stay connected to overcome loneliness, regardless of age. Decent and accessible homes are key to continue to live in our own homes. However, 93% of our current homes fail accessibility standards [MHCLG, 2016]. It is estimated that illness and injuries caused by poor housing with a significant HHSRS hazard, costs the NHS £2 billion per year in the first-year treatment costs [Nicol,S, 2011]. With most of us spending 65% of our time indoors at home provision of a heathy and safe internal environment is fundamental [UKGBC, 2016]

  • The future labour market is expected to be significantly shaped by the emergence of technology-led interconnectivity and collaboration [UKCES,2014]. Flexible working is estimated to contribute £148 billion to the UK economy by 2030 [Workplace insight, 2018]. Work and travel trends are set to change significantly, with more people working from home and for longer as they age. This will be combined with growing demands for digital and smart technologies in the home.

  • Loneliness affects people of all ages, with younger adults aged 16 to 24 years having reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups. In 2017-18, 8% of 25-34 year olds reported feeling lonely often or all of the time, compared to 5% of 50-64 year olds and 3% of 65-74 year olds. [ONS, 2018]

  • We need the right type of homes that meet the needs of all age groups and household types. 24% of over 55s are considering moving home; 49% of this group said that they were prevented from moving by the lack of housing options (Stern, D, Warren, I and Forth, A, 2019)

  • In 2019, a poll of 4000 UK adults found that 72% of people agreed that homes should be built to be suitable for all ages and abilities. The same poll identified that 62% of respondents don’t think their current home would be suitable for a person with a disability or an older relative to move around, with 45% of over-65s concerned that they would struggle with everyday activities like cooking, bathing or eating in the future. A quarter of 18-24s (25%) and 25-34s (28%) say they would be encouraged to buy homes with features such as level access entrances, walk-in showers or handrails with around half of that age-group saying they would be neither encouraged nor discouraged (Centre for Ageing Better, 2019)

  • Families and households are changing, with increasing numbers of people in their 50s and 60s living alone and divorcing. This has implications for the role of communities in ensuring people remain physically and socially connected and supported in later life [Centre for ageing better, 2019].

  • 3.4% of people aged over 50 move home each year, half as many as other age groups. The majority of older people appear to be in a ‘rightsizing gap’, where housing options supporting a better quality of life are neither available nor accessible to them. (Centre for Ageing Better, 2019)

Climate change

  • In June 2019, the Government set a legally binding target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Buildings Mission 2030, led by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), aims to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030. Homes are responsible for 14% of carbon emissions in the UK. By 2030, this needs to reduce by a minimum of 24%

  • Evidence shows a substantial performance gap in energy performance and build quality of new build homes. The housebuilding sector and housing design must respond to these issues and provide highly energy efficient new homes with the highest architectural and build quality.

  • The construction industry is converging in defining a framework and approaches to deliver net zero carbon (in operation), the focus is shifting to include embodied carbon and other impacts associated with the materials used to construct them.

  • Every year about 2,000 deaths in England and Wales are estimated to be heat-related. With a changing climate this number is expected to triple to over 7,000 by 2050. Around 20% of homes in England overheat, and 1.8 million people live in areas at significant risk of flooding. Conversely, areas of the UK with the greatest housing demands suffer from water scarcity (CCC 2019).

Housing supply and productivity

  • Around 340,000 homes/year need to be built by mid-2020s to meet current housing requirements. However, in 2018, only 165,090 new homes were completed. The proportion of flats in the housing mix had more than halved by 2016/17 to 21% of output, while the proportion of one- and two-bedroom homes fell from 53% of output to only 29% by 2016/17. Annual shortfall in build and housing type, continues to contribute to increasing levels of unaffordability and unsuitability of stock to ageing population.

  • House building needs a 340k workforce to deliver 250,000 homes a year, but we are 40% short. This, combined with an ageing construction demographic and 30% of the construction workforce being aged over 50, means we do not have enough skilled workforce to deliver the rate of output required. Low productivity, poor predictability of completion date and cost of construction is a challenge for both clients and supply chain.

  • Smart construction and digital design are two strategic priorities set out within Construction 2025. This forms the basis for a number of policies focusing on digital solutions such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and adopting modular construction to ensure quality of construction and increase rate of delivery. Whilst there is a significant opportunity to delivery good quality, sustainable homes at a higher delivery speed, it is vital to ensure that new build homes are acceptable to consumers, adaptable and flexible over time.