Epwin Group

What’s driving change in UK housing design?

About the Research

Epwin Group, the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of PVC-U windows, doors and fascia systems, has asked architects and specifiers what’s driving change in UK housing design? And how are these factors impacting on the way homes look and perform for their residents?

Building for the Future tackles these questions, combining the results of a survey of UK’s architects with in-depth interviews and desktop research.

What has emerged are nine key themes driving change in the way our homes look and perform. A short summary of each of these themes is available online, however the full Building for the Future research paper can be downloaded by [clicking here].

Sharn Samra, Marketing Director at Epwin Group, said: “As a business we’ve placed a focus on product innovation and meeting the ever-evolving needs of our market and customers.

Keeping one eye on the future has helped us to become the successful business we are today, and we are always looking for ways that we can learn more about the market and meeting our customer’s needs.

As such, it’s important that we’re not only looking to the future and understanding trends that are affecting design, but also evaluating the impact of these trends on the built environment. That way we are able to develop products which will help architects meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Building for the Future has unearthed some insightful trends affecting housing design, furthermore the feedback we’ve received is that this research has been conducted at a pertinent time, with many architects attempting to manage and make sense of conflicting influential factors.

These factors present a significant challenge for the design community, and there is a sense of concern about how they will meet the task that lies ahead – designing homes which will meet the needs of our changing population, framed against issues such as increasing urban populations, skills shortages in the construction industry and a lack of available land for development.

However, there is also hope and optimism within the industry. Positive findings include; the impact of the technological advances being seen in the architectural world which are changing the face of design, innovation in sustainable building and green technologies which are improving the way housing performs for its residents, and the flexibility and speed of construction offered by modular homes which could help to offset some of the negative issues facing the industry, such as skills shortages.”

Epwin Group

Epwin Group is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of PVC-U windows, doors and fascia systems with some of the best known manufacturing and service names in the sector. The Epwin Group has changed significantly from its origins as one of the first PVC-U window fabrication businesses in the UK. Founded in 1976, the Group has grown both organically and by acquisition to become a market leader in the low maintenance building products sector. In July 2014 the Epwin Group was listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market starting a new era in its history.

Epwin Group serves the trade, retail, new build and social housing sectors through a nationwide network of merchants, plastics stockists, window, door and conservatory manufacturers and installers. Group businesses also produce high quality cladding, guttering, decking and prefabricated GRP building components. Epwin products are designed and manufactured in-house to suit the needs of our end-user markets and are sold under established and trusted brands. Epwin Group have a wide product range to cater for all requirements and are constantly investing and innovating in new processes, products and services.

Read more about Epwin Group here.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Those surveyed see the issue of an increased urban population as the factor that will have the most influence on housing.

Booming Urban Population

Not only is our population bigger than it has ever been, but it’s changing where it’s choosing to live. In 1950, the population living in UK cities was 79% – already a significant figure – but one which is set to rise to 92.2% by 2030.

Overwhelmingly, those surveyed see the issue of an increased urban population as the factor that will have the most influence on housing design over the next decade; 70% of those surveyed see it as a significant issue, with 60% saying that new build properties are already smaller than they were 10 years ago.

Some consider this issue, combined with a lack of available land for development in our cities, to be one of the great challenges of our time.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

An aging population

It isn’t just the numbers that worry our design community – it’s also the demographics. A growing proportion of UK inhabitants are aged at least 65, with the percentage in this age group rising from 14.1% in 1975 to 17.8% in 2015. It is forecast that a fifth (20.2%) of the population will be aged 65 and over in 2025, rising to a quarter (24.6%) in 2045.

Just over 60% of those surveyed see this trend being a significant factor in the future of housing design.

There is concern that properties are not being designed and built specifically with this group in mind and figures show that almost half of the UK’s pensioners would consider moving to a smaller home if it met their specific needs.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

It is forecast that a quarter (24.6%) of the population will be aged 65 and over in 2045.
Left Quote Access to green spaces in urban environments improves mental and physical wellbeing. Right Quote

The need for green spaces

It has been acknowledged for some time that access to green spaces in urban environments improves the mental and physical wellbeing of residents, and 30% of survey respondents feel that this will be a significant factor in housing design over the coming years.

Concern lies in the push for increasing density having an adverse effect on open spaces in our towns and cities, as well as pressure being put on existing parks and open spaces.

Although innovation in this area, such as vertical gardens being built into new developments as well as biophilic design, looking set to become exciting trends.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Design for climate change

More than half of respondents see climate change as an issue that will drive change in the way properties are designed and built over the next 10 years.

Temperatures in the UK have risen by about one degree since the 1970s. Even if emissions are cut quickly and sharply to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, there will be some unavoidable impacts that the UK will have to adapt to.

Flooding, water scarcity and the need to design houses which can withstand the low temperatures which are becoming the norm during the winter months, are all concerns facing the design community.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

More than half of respondents see climate change as an issue that will drive change in the way properties are designed and built over the next 10 years.
Left Quote Green technologies are also evolving at a rapid pace and architects are following suit. Right Quote

Green technologies & architecture

Almost half of respondents believe that advances in technology and innovation in sustainable building materials and products is changing the way housing looks and performs for its residents.

Green technologies are also evolving at a rapid pace and architects are following suit, offering progressively innovative interpretations of sustainable trends. Green technologies are already becoming more commonplace within homes, with architects designing the likes of solar panels, ground source heat pumps and rainwater harvesting systems into some new build housing.

Green architecture is also becoming more popular. This isn’t just about choosing sustainable technologies for homes – it seeks to minimise the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, development space and the ecosystem at large.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

The impact of skills shortages

Some 18% of respondents stated that skills shortages in the construction industry will have an influence on housing over the next 10 years.

The construction sector is extremely important to the UK economy generating almost £90 billion annually (6.7% of GDP) and employs in excess of 2.93 million people, the equivalent of about 10% of UK employment (BIS). However, it is an industry in crisis, as it is not receiving the necessary investment to plug a skills gap that looks set to widen over the next decade.

With a significant percentage of construction workers set to retire, an industry that struggles to attract young people, and the possible impact of Brexit, this is an issue which could cause a skill shortage crisis in the near future.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Some 18% of respondents stated that skills shortages in the construction industry will have an influence on housing over the next 10 years.
Some 35% of survey respondents believe modular homes are set to be a major design movement and potential solution to the UK’s housing crisis.

The flexibility of modular homes

For many the word “prefab” conjures images of the cheap, ugly, ready-made homes that were hastily erected in post-war Britain.

Today, as the country faces another severe shortage, the government is turning once again to modular, or off-site, construction in an effort to accelerate housebuilding.

Some 35% of survey respondents believe modular homes are set to be a major design movement and potential solution to the UK’s housing crisis.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Technological advances in architecture

Are technological advances in architecture affecting the way buildings are designed? Just over 15% of respondents believe so.

Technology is changing architecture. The world of computational design means architects are pursuing new frontiers where architecture can be generated through the writing of algorithms and software, where interactive physical mechanisms can be built that respond to their environment, adapting and evolving as necessary.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Just over 15% of respondents believe technological advances in architecture are affecting the way buildings are designed.
100% of respondents agree that good design will always be at the heart of delivering successful communities.

The value of good design

All respondents agreed that, regardless of the pressures facing the architectural world, there is a sense that good design will always be at the heart of delivering successful communities.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Challenges and possibilities for the future

Building for the Future has unearthed some interesting challenges for the future of housing design.

Architects are facing a future where they must balance the complex needs of a growing and aging population against fundamental human necessities and design integrity.

Challenges such as skills shortages in the construction industry and dealing with the consequences of climate change, are also creating concern.
However, the outlook is far from bleak, there is significant hope and positivity for the future.

Technological advances in construction techniques, materials, sustainability and design are having a positive influence on our environment, the homes we live in and the way they are delivered.

Buildings, which seemed futuristic only a few years ago, are now becoming a reality across the globe, and it seems likely that they will become commonplace in our lifetimes.

Moreover, the architectural community is as determined as ever to use its positive influence to design homes which will create sustainable communities for the future.

See how Epwin have addressed some of these challenges.

Profile 22- http://www.profile22.co.uk/case-studies
Spectus- http://www.spectus.co.uk/case-studies
Ecodek- http://ecodek.co.uk/case-studies

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

If you have any questions, a media enquiry or you would like to share your opinions on Building for the Future, please get in touch commerical@epwin.co.uk.

Epwin Group

Registered Office: 1B Stratford Court, Cranmore Boulevard, Solihull, B90 4QT. Registered in England: 7742256.

Epwin Group

What’s driving change in UK housing design?

About the Research

Epwin Group, the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of PVC-U windows, doors and fascia systems, has asked architects and specifiers what’s driving change in UK housing design? And how are these factors impacting on the way homes look and perform for their residents?

Building for the Future tackles these questions, combining the results of a survey of UK’s architects with in-depth interviews and desktop research.

What has emerged are nine key themes driving change in the way our homes look and perform. A short summary of each of these themes is available online, however the full Building for the Future research paper can be downloaded by [clicking here].

Sharn Samra, Marketing Director at Epwin Group, said: “As a business we’ve placed a focus on product innovation and meeting the ever-evolving needs of our market and customers.

Keeping one eye on the future has helped us to become the successful business we are today, and we are always looking for ways that we can learn more about the market and meeting our customer’s needs.

As such, it’s important that we’re not only looking to the future and understanding trends that are affecting design, but also evaluating the impact of these trends on the built environment. That way we are able to develop products which will help architects meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Building for the Future has unearthed some insightful trends affecting housing design, furthermore the feedback we’ve received is that this research has been conducted at a pertinent time, with many architects attempting to manage and make sense of conflicting influential factors.

These factors present a significant challenge for the design community, and there is a sense of concern about how they will meet the task that lies ahead – designing homes which will meet the needs of our changing population, framed against issues such as increasing urban populations, skills shortages in the construction industry and a lack of available land for development.

However, there is also hope and optimism within the industry. Positive findings include; the impact of the technological advances being seen in the architectural world which are changing the face of design, innovation in sustainable building and green technologies which are improving the way housing performs for its residents, and the flexibility and speed of construction offered by modular homes which could help to offset some of the negative issues facing the industry, such as skills shortages.”

Epwin Group

Epwin Group is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of PVC-U windows, doors and fascia systems with some of the best known manufacturing and service names in the sector. The Epwin Group has changed significantly from its origins as one of the first PVC-U window fabrication businesses in the UK. Founded in 1976, the Group has grown both organically and by acquisition to become a market leader in the low maintenance building products sector. In July 2014 the Epwin Group was listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market starting a new era in its history.

Epwin Group serves the trade, retail, new build and social housing sectors through a nationwide network of merchants, plastics stockists, window, door and conservatory manufacturers and installers. Group businesses also produce high quality cladding, guttering, decking and prefabricated GRP building components. Epwin products are designed and manufactured in-house to suit the needs of our end-user markets and are sold under established and trusted brands. Epwin Group have a wide product range to cater for all requirements and are constantly investing and innovating in new processes, products and services.

Read more about Epwin Group here.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Those surveyed see the issue of an increased urban population as the factor that will have the most influence on housing.

Booming Urban Population

Not only is our population bigger than it has ever been, but it’s changing where it’s choosing to live. In 1950, the population living in UK cities was 79% – already a significant figure – but one which is set to rise to 92.2% by 2030.

Overwhelmingly, those surveyed see the issue of an increased urban population as the factor that will have the most influence on housing design over the next decade; 70% of those surveyed see it as a significant issue, with 60% saying that new build properties are already smaller than they were 10 years ago.

Some consider this issue, combined with a lack of available land for development in our cities, to be one of the great challenges of our time.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

It is forecast that a quarter (24.6%) of the population will be aged 65 and over in 2045.

An aging population

It isn’t just the numbers that worry our design community – it’s also the demographics. A growing proportion of UK inhabitants are aged at least 65, with the percentage in this age group rising from 14.1% in 1975 to 17.8% in 2015. It is forecast that a fifth (20.2%) of the population will be aged 65 and over in 2025, rising to a quarter (24.6%) in 2045.

Just over 60% of those surveyed see this trend being a significant factor in the future of housing design.

There is concern that properties are not being designed and built specifically with this group in mind and figures show that almost half of the UK’s pensioners would consider moving to a smaller home if it met their specific needs.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Left Quote Access to green spaces in urban environments improves mental and physical wellbeing. Right Quote

The need for green spaces

It has been acknowledged for some time that access to green spaces in urban environments improves the mental and physical wellbeing of residents, and 30% of survey respondents feel that this will be a significant factor in housing design over the coming years.

Concern lies in the push for increasing density having an adverse effect on open spaces in our towns and cities, as well as pressure being put on existing parks and open spaces.

Although innovation in this area, such as vertical gardens being built into new developments as well as biophilic design, looking set to become exciting trends.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

More than half of respondents see climate change as an issue that will drive change in the way properties are designed and built over the next 10 years.

Design for climate change

More than half of respondents see climate change as an issue that will drive change in the way properties are designed and built over the next 10 years.

Temperatures in the UK have risen by about one degree since the 1970s. Even if emissions are cut quickly and sharply to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, there will be some unavoidable impacts that the UK will have to adapt to.

Flooding, water scarcity and the need to design houses which can withstand the low temperatures which are becoming the norm during the winter months, are all concerns facing the design community.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Left Quote Green technologies are also evolving at a rapid pace and architects are following suit. Right Quote

Green technologies & architecture

Almost half of respondents believe that advances in technology and innovation in sustainable building materials and products is changing the way housing looks and performs for its residents.

Green technologies are also evolving at a rapid pace and architects are following suit, offering progressively innovative interpretations of sustainable trends. Green technologies are already becoming more commonplace within homes, with architects designing the likes of solar panels, ground source heat pumps and rainwater harvesting systems into some new build housing.

Green architecture is also becoming more popular. This isn’t just about choosing sustainable technologies for homes – it seeks to minimise the negative environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, development space and the ecosystem at large.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Some 18% of respondents stated that skills shortages in the construction industry will have an influence on housing over the next 10 years.

The impact of skills shortages

Some 18% of respondents stated that skills shortages in the construction industry will have an influence on housing over the next 10 years.

The construction sector is extremely important to the UK economy generating almost £90 billion annually (6.7% of GDP) and employs in excess of 2.93 million people, the equivalent of about 10% of UK employment (BIS). However, it is an industry in crisis, as it is not receiving the necessary investment to plug a skills gap that looks set to widen over the next decade.

With a significant percentage of construction workers set to retire, an industry that struggles to attract young people, and the possible impact of Brexit, this is an issue which could cause a skill shortage crisis in the near future.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Some 35% of survey respondents believe modular homes are set to be a major design movement and potential solution to the UK’s housing crisis.

The flexibility of modular homes

For many the word “prefab” conjures images of the cheap, ugly, ready-made homes that were hastily erected in post-war Britain.

Today, as the country faces another severe shortage, the government is turning once again to modular, or off-site, construction in an effort to accelerate housebuilding.

Some 35% of survey respondents believe modular homes are set to be a major design movement and potential solution to the UK’s housing crisis.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Just over 15% of respondents believe technological advances in architecture are affecting the way buildings are designed.

Technological advances in architecture

Are technological advances in architecture affecting the way buildings are designed? Just over 15% of respondents believe so.

Technology is changing architecture. The world of computational design means architects are pursuing new frontiers where architecture can be generated through the writing of algorithms and software, where interactive physical mechanisms can be built that respond to their environment, adapting and evolving as necessary.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

100% of respondents agree that good design will always be at the heart of delivering successful communities.

The value of good design

All respondents agreed that, regardless of the pressures facing the architectural world, there is a sense that good design will always be at the heart of delivering successful communities.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Challenges and possibilities for the future

Building for the Future has unearthed some interesting challenges for the future of housing design.

Architects are facing a future where they must balance the complex needs of a growing and aging population against fundamental human necessities and design integrity.

Challenges such as skills shortages in the construction industry and dealing with the consequences of climate change, are also creating concern.
However, the outlook is far from bleak, there is significant hope and positivity for the future.

Technological advances in construction techniques, materials, sustainability and design are having a positive influence on our environment, the homes we live in and the way they are delivered.

Buildings, which seemed futuristic only a few years ago, are now becoming a reality across the globe, and it seems likely that they will become commonplace in our lifetimes.

Moreover, the architectural community is as determined as ever to use its positive influence to design homes which will create sustainable communities for the future.

See how Epwin have addressed some of these challenges.

Profile 22- http://www.profile22.co.uk/case-studies
Spectus- http://www.spectus.co.uk/case-studies
Ecodek- http://ecodek.co.uk/case-studies

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

Download ‘Building for the Future’ full research here.

If you have any questions, a media enquiry or you would like to share your opinions on Building for the Future, please get in touch commerical@epwin.co.uk.

Epwin Group

Registered Office: 1B Stratford Court, Cranmore Boulevard, Solihull, B90 4QT. Registered in England: 7742256.