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More Homes, Better Homes

More Homes, Better Homes is part of our commitment to campaign on your behalf, writes Christine Murray

Last week, Andy von Bradsky, chairman of PRP, was appointed to the four-strong government task force charged with simplifying and scrapping the Building Regulations. This week, Bradsky said that he will review and consider the AJ’s More Homes, Better Homes campaign before reporting to government next spring.

It was a first note of success for our campaign, which aims to encourage house building while defending design quality. Since its launch last week, we’ve been collecting perspectives on the barriers to house building and opinions on the regulations cull from developers, architects and policy figures.

It is too soon for conclusions, but early results suggest that while there may be some slack in the regs, they are not a barrier to development. As Baerbel Schuett, development director at Londonewcastle, said: ‘The Building Regulations have a very small impact on whether or not a project gets realised and built.’ And in the words of Satyen Joshi of Chest Properties, ‘The threat of more banal “shoeboxes” spreading across the UK has more to do with the standards set by volume housebuilders’ than the Building Regs. To share your view, please visit TheAJ.co.uk/Morehomes

As part of the campaign, this week’s building studies focus on two inner-city housing projects; the first residential block in Argent’s King’s Cross development by PRP, and Urban Splash’s latest addition to New Islington in Manchester by Mae. We’ve featured the schemes on two special-edition covers with two headlines: More Homes and Better Homes.

More Homes, Better Homes, as well as other AJ campaigns such as Women in Architecture, serve multiple purposes: to inform the profession, and to lobby for change on its behalf. Similarly, rolling coverage of the RIBA - recently, its revision of the Plan of Work - and the ARB - its fee hike - hold these organisations to account and inform our subscribers of decisions that will affect them financially and professionally.

Do the AJ’s campaigns make a difference? Since the launch of Women in Architecture, I’ve been approached by several senior partners at architecture firms who said they were unaware of gender pay inequality in the profession and have examined their practice’s salaries in response. Women in Architecture has been shortlisted for the British Society of Magazine Editor’s Campaign of the Year. In fact, in the last 24 months, the AJ team and its work have been shortlisted for a total of 14 awards.

We launched More Homes, Better Homes as part of our renewed commitment to you, our subscribers. Our ambition is to represent your views to government, the RIBA, the ARB, architecture schools, planning authorities, and the industry at large; to serve the profession and give it a voice, without being beholden or pandering to it. The reach of our digital audience makes it easier than ever to lobby on behalf of architects, with millions of visits to our websites every year. But it’s your continued support that makes it possible.

christine.murray@emap.com

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