"I want to live in my home for the next five years" is very different from "I want to live in my home for the next twenty!"
Whatever your situation, if you want to renovate your home, one of the priority questions that needs answering is,
"how long are you planning on living in your home?"
A sustainable and healthy home requires special consideration of each occupant's future changing needs. Strategic action at the start of a project to future-proof a home will provide the flexibility to adapt and respond to changing requirements so that your renovated home can work better and harder for your needs and improve your quality of life.
Whilst we don't have a crystal ball to see into the future. We have enough information at our fingertips to make informed and educated decisions about the design of our homes when renovating. Not only what you need from it now but also in the future. Naturally, this will change through the stages of life, so it's worth considering this if you plan on living in your home for more than five years.
Here are three prominent drivers for considering renovation and future-proofing a home.
The rise in 3G homes
For some time now, it's become increasingly challenging for younger generations to get on the housing ladder due to a lack of affordability and a shortage of housing stock. In a recent survey by Hiscox, 45% of people polled expect their children to live with them longer than previous generations. And if your children do happen to fly the nest for education, the chances are they will become 'boomerang children' and move back into the family home once their studies are complete.
Add to this a rise in childcare costs and a growing older population, with more than one in ten Britons who foresee their parents coming to live with them in the future. There has been a considerable rise in 3G homes, where three generations of a family live together.
According to Hiscox Home of the Future Report, the trend in multi-generational housing is set to continue. So the demand for more space and flexibility in living arrangements within the home will become an increasing priority for many people.
Ageing in place
The UK is undergoing a massive age shift, with 11 million people aged 65. In ten years, this will have increased to 13 million, 22% of the population.
Life expectancy is rising, and design must cater to older people. Who will, by the very nature of ageing, have reduced or weaker functional capacity and require additional support.
No one likes to dwell on the idea of getting old. There is much stigma around home design for the older generations as it conjures up style eschew from the medical and hospital canons that usually inform furnishings for the elderly.
However, you can no longer describe senior generations as "old" in the traditional sense of the word. Senior generations do not behave like older people and are no less discerning in aesthetic taste. They do not feel old concerning the environment in which they live. And there is the expectation to be supported while preserving the same personalities, comforts and distinctive features that have characterised their lives.
The home, where we spend a large part of our existence, is active in supporting activities, especially in the later stages of life. Ageing in place is a term used to describe a person living in a residence of their choice for as long as they can whilst maintaining or improving their quality of life.
This multi-dimensional and complex subject can, in part, be serviced using strategic architectural and interior design. Part M (Accessibility) of the UK building regulations incorporates several aspects of the Lifetime Homes model and goes some way to ensure a set minimum of standards in new builds to enable this.
However, older generations generally live in older properties. So if this is you, the benefits of renovating your home with future-proofing in mind can be fundamental in enabling you to continue living comfortably in your home for as long as possible.
Climate Change and the environmental impact on your home
With 21% of all carbon emissions in the UK coming from our homes, the pressure is growing to make homes more energy efficient. Reinforced by recent spikes in energy prices and costs, the financial equation shifts households towards creating a home that consumes little to no energy to heat or run. Advances in technology mean that this is now possible. Whilst the initial investment may be offputting for some, the long-term savings to the environment and your pocket make this a serious contender for future-proofing your home.
The 2017 Climate Change Risk Assessment reported that "flooding and overheating posed such high risks to the UK population that they required additional action in the next five years." This prediction has become a reality, given the recent events in our weather patterns!
This problem is going nowhere and will continue to affect our daily lives. According to the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2022, we face a genuine risk of severe flooding. An increase in the number of properties prone to overheating (which seriously impacts well-being). And a rise in the spread of infectious diseases from as early as 2050.
In summary, as the saying goes,
"prevention is better than cure".
Whilst these driving factors are incredibly complex, the future is somewhat unknown. We have the information, technology and ability to start designing homes that better support their occupants' health, well-being and longevity, now and in the future.
Renovating your property can be a significant investment, whether it's your forever home or you wish to sell it. When designing your renovation, you should consider future-proofing. Creating a home as adaptable and flexible as possible will make it more appealing to a broader range of people, so if your circumstances change (after all, life happens!). It will add value should you decide to move on.
If you have any questions or want to understand how Potent Sapiens by Design can help you future-proof your home, please get in touch.