How does London Housing Design Guide affect balconies?

London Housing Design Guide – Key Points

  • Min 5 sqm for 2 people + 1 sqm per additional occupant
  • Min 1500x1500mm space
  • Level, watertight threshold at max 15mm height.
  • Consider privacy, shelter and “Secured By Design”

What is the London Housing Design Guide?

The London Housing Design Guide was published in 2010 by the Mayor of London and forms a common set of housing design standards across the whole of London. They are applied through the London Plan, London Plan Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and the London Funding Standards Framework.

All new London housing is expected to meet the design standards set out in the SPG, which is intended to create policies for better neighbourhoods, high environmental standards, improved accessibility and better design. There is also a minimum acceptable standard for the amount of floor space, private outdoor space, natural light and ceiling height.

How does London Housing Design Guide affect the size of balconies?

Section 4.10 Private Open Space (POS) in the guide requires all dwellings to be provided with adequate private open space in the form of a garden, terrace, balcony or winter garden. POS standards consider space requirements for furniture, access and activities relating to the number of occupants.

A minimum of 5 sqm of private outdoor space is required for all 2 person dwellings with an extra 1 sqm for each additional occupant. The minimum width and depth for all balconies and private external spaces is 1500mm. The dimensions aim to provide space sufficient for a meal around a small table, clothes drying, or for a family to sit outside with visitors.

What other effects does the this have on balcony design?

Balconies under the SPG should have level access from the home with an upstand not exceeding 15mm and a level, weather-tight threshold. Exemptions are considered for inset balconies and roof terraces where a step up is necessary to accommodate thermal insulation to the accommodation below.

Balconies should be designed to provide some privacy and shelter from neighbouring properties. This can be achieved using glass enhancements, screens or by stepping back the façade. Where balconies overlook noise sources, parapets and/or absorbent soffit materials should be considered for acoustic benefits. Balconies should also have solid floors draining to downpipes.

Secured by Design principles should be incorporated into a POS. For example, balconies should be designed so as not to provide climbing aids to enable access to a property.

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