Design For Homes is a social enterprise founded in 2000. The company doesn’t have any shareholders but invests any annual surplus into projects that help improve design. For example, we have run Building for Life for years despite making a loss most of the time, and its value to the industry means we shall continue to do so. We offer cut-price support to neighbourhood planning forums and other not-for-profits, typically charging travel costs only. We make up shortfalls arising from these low-cost/probono roles by charging for some services, notably consultancy to the manufacturers who supply the industry who will pay for information on emerging patterns of design and construction.
Housing Design Awards
We run the national Housing Design Awards. Since 2005.
Research, Reports And Publications
We produce research, some on issues that we feel need greater clarity of advice, such as car parking [link], bin storage [link], new London housing models [link] and density [link] and superdensity [link]. We conduct bespoke research projects for all kinds of businesses, from steel-framing companies to national export councils. In 2007 we produced a report for the Scania region of Sweden advising its exporters not to invest anything in exporting to the UK housing market because we felt it was overheating. A month after the report’s production Northern Rock failed.
Each year the Housing Design Awards make short films about completed winners, interviewing development teams, planning authorities and residents. This is a perfect continuation of the Housing Design Awards’ original purpose, to explain what residents think about innovative design and whether it can be replicated.
We organise study tours around information needs. So whether you are planning a Garden City, an urban regeneration project or simply looking for ideas for a new house type range, we can help. Our study tours are hugely popular owing to the unrivalled access we can organise to developments and people – we have dozens of repeat clients.
We train. Our training relies on many of the industry’s leading specialists from Phil Jones at Phil Jones Associates for roads, bikes and highways, to Professor Sue McGlynn, author of the seminal Responsive Environments on movement structures. We work for many of the UK’s best companies and nearly always get asked back the next year.
We are collaborators. We never aim to be in charge or run initiatives solely to promote ‘our brand’. For years we have been the back office of Building for Life and the Housing Design Awards. We find it works best when all the stakeholders we work with each know their stake is respected. No superstars here.