Homelessness and interim accommodation: Addressing a national problem

March 20, 2020

Nicolas Maari, Head of Architecture at RSK company Pellings, writing in the latest issue of Architects Datafile, outlined his key piece of advice for other architects when designing interim accommodation for the homeless: “the main thing to remember [when designing interim accommodation] is that we are not trying to achieve award-winning architecture. We are trying to solve a problem.”

According to research by the housing charity Shelter, there are at least 320,000 homeless people in the UK; the number increased by a third between 2012 and 2018. Since the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force in 2018, councils have a legal obligation to find homeless people somewhere to stay. During the last year, Pellings has seen “a rise in requests to work on [housing] projects for this vulnerable demographic”, ranging from an ongoing redevelopment project in Hertfordshire, UK, to a fast-paced new housing scheme in Kent. But the process of bringing this accommodation to life is not without its challenges.

Temporary accommodation units

Pelling is acting as the architect up to the planning stage, and then as the employer’s agent for 74 new temporary accommodation units

“While there is widespread public support for getting homeless people into suitable accommodation, several designing and planning challenges, as well as objections from the local community, continue to arise,” Nicolas explains. “The crux of the problem is planning consent. While councils are trying to tackle the issue of interim homes for the homeless, there is no suitable planning class for this type of housing. This makes the job of an architect a tricky one, but what makes the situation sadder is that planning issues can often stall the build over a long period, meaning more people remain homeless, thus exacerbating the problem.”

The Hertfordshire project

The Hertfordshire project, which is surrounded by general housing, came up against many objections

To tackle this problem, Nicolas says “it is certainly worth looking at what has been done before to get an idea of what is achievable. It is also important to understand exactly what the local authority’s objections are, so their requirements are fulfilled. Robustness, speed of delivery and low maintenance are common needs for interim accommodation.”

You can read the full article in Architects Datafile online (pp.22–24).

🥳 #RSKgroup company RSK Biocensus is delighted to have been named Large Consultancy of the Year at the 2022 Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Awards.

🏆 The awards aim to celebrate the outstanding work of ecologists and environmental managers who work to protect and enhance the natural environment, and are the highest honour an ecological consultancy can receive.

👏 Well done RSK Biocensus! Find out more following the link in bio now

#rskfamily #sustainablebusiness

📣 We are SO excited for the launch of the new kit for @cafcofficial with #RSKgroup as the official front of shirt sponsor

⚽ A retro-inspired design with the classic Charlton Red with RSK #spotted on the front

👏 "We Are One Club! A big thank you to all those members of the Charlton family who came together to help launch our 22/23 Castore home kit" - Charlton Athletic Football Club

#cafc #rskfamily #football #sponsor

📸 #selfiesonsite 🤳

Ryan Dunderdale, Senior Surveyor at Central Alliance, providing technical support and on-site training to datum plate install teams down in Bristol.

Want to join our team? View our latest opportunities 👉 www.rskgroup.com/careers

#RSKgroup #behindthescenes #meettheteam #RSKfamily #RSKonsite #engineering #construction

🌟 In the June edition of our #employeespotlight, we spoke with with Rosie Pearce at Stephenson Halliday and Carmen Snowdon at WRc Group to find out about their recent achievements 🏆

👏 Congratulations to you both!

Click the link in our bio to find out more!

#rskfamily #employeeapprecitation #team #landscapeinstitute #instituteofwater #architecture

"If you don’t feel valued, represented and respected in your workplace, then inevitably your #wellbeing will suffer.”

📌 In our latest edition of #ADayInTheLife, we spoke with Ellen Lapworth-Maisey, Wellbeing, #Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at RSK – a fascinating position that helps to create an inclusive and empowering #culture for all RSK staff.

Click the link in bio to learn more!

#RSKGroup #RSKfamily #diversity #inclusion #mentalhealth

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap