Making NDSS Compulsory Requires a Standard Minimum Plot Width to encourage MMC

One para in the PMs speech yesterday stuck out

It will be up to my successor in Downing Street to deal with this.

But I believe the next government should be bold enough to ensure the Nationally Described Space Standard applies to all new homes.

As a mandatory regulation, space standards would become universal and unavoidable.

That would mean an end to the postcode lottery for buyers and tenants.

And an end to the era of too-small homes that keep the housing numbers ticking over, but are barely fit for modern family life.

I reject the argument that such a change will make building less likely.

In fact it will have the opposite effect – a more strictly applied minimum would remove the commercial disincentive to develop sites in areas with stricter standards.

And by providing a clear and uniform national standard it will increase the possibilities for the kind of off-site manufacturing we see being pioneered here in the Northern Powerhouse.

Imagine you are doing a continental style zoning plan as beloved of Oliver Letwin followed by a subdivision plan and sale of parcels to developers.  That would work on the continent but not in the UK.

Why?  because volume housebuilders that use timber frame and MMC or any kind of standard house types all have standard units. they vary from company to company in width, if only by mms.  So the first thing they all do in appraising a site is calculate how many of there units they can fit in. In many cases a race to the bottom.

Historically it wasnt like this.  A traditional town terrace home was 1 rod plot width.  A yeomans home facing a village street was 2 rods wide and narrower in plan.  A formula which helped great so any great places.  A rod by the way is 5 12 yards or approximately 5. metres.  Lets make the metric rod (5m) the minimum width for a home or 6.1 where its parking space is parallel to and overlooked by the house.  A near square plot of 12.2m width by 12-15m depth is also an extremely efficient development form replacing long narrow gardens which are hard to maintain by much more functional courtyards. (see Hams Hall for example of this typology)

By standardising minimum plot widths and replacing them with some design code based flexible typologies the power of maseterplanning can be returned to the master developer or local authority.  Mass housebuilders simply them can slot in there housetypes into the preset layout and only apply for the elevational appearance reserved matter.


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