3 key considerations to build better homes for multigenerational living

Date: 06 August 2018

Taking a fabric first approach will help deliver more homes that are adaptable for multiple generations

As we move away from the nuclear family home, multigenerational living is continuing to rise as a major housing trend in the UK.

The National House Building Council (NHBC) report “Multigenerational living. An opportunity for UK house builders” estimates that 1.8 million homes are already multigenerational with figures still soaring. With news of potential demand for 125,000 multigenerational homes needed per year in Britain, this presents a real opportunity for house builders to design their homes to offer greater flexibility to meet the requirements of every generation.

We take a look at three key considerations for building a multigenerational home.

  1. Consider space
  2. The shape of a room, minimum access dimensions and the width of access corridors all need to be considered when designing a multigenerational home as lack of space can really impact on modern lifestyle needs. As people and their lifestyles change over time, homes need to be adaptable so they can cater for those evolving needs. Afterall, homeowners might need to transform today’s home office into next year’s nursery or downstairs bedroom for an elderly family member.

    The London space standards provide the best available minimum benchmark from which to assess whether a home is going to be big enough.

    As people and their lifestyles change homes need to be able to adapt

  3. Incorporate enhanced acoustics
  4. Noise transfer between walls and floors can cause problems if a home is not designed with acoustics in mind. In a multigenerational household, teenagers might want to watch a movie whilst dad is working in his home office and grandparents are trying to have a nap. In the first instance, designing out noise problems by looking at room layout is the ideal solution so that adjacent rooms aren’t at risk of noise transfer. This means not putting a lounge next to a utility room, for example, or a large kitchen underneath a bedroom.

    If designing out acoustic conflict is not an option then housebuilders should consider upgrading the building materials in their developments to advanced building fabrics that exceed basic Building Regulations.

    British Gypsums’ Silent Floor can create noise separation between upstairs and downstairs and the solution exceeds Building Regulation requirements by up to 15dB. Creating this sound barrier makes a home more flexible to change function at different periods of a family’s lifecycle. British Gypsum is already working with a number of housing developers to offer these enhanced building materials as standard across their developments and the initiative is being met with great delight from potential buyers.

    Silent Floor can create noise separation between upstairs and downstairs

  5. Design for durability
  6. The key to achieving homes with strength and durability lies in the building materials that are specified to form the internal walls of the home. Incorporating materials that will stand the test of time is essential for building flexible homes. Gyproc Habito is the ideal plasterboard for building better quality homes and minimising homeowners pain points and preconceptions around ‘flimsy’ walls. 5 x stronger than standard plasterboard it allows homeowners to minimise the need for repairs when it comes to changing the purpose of a room, for example.

    The plasterboard’s engineered core provides enhanced levels of strength and durability so homeowners can easily hang 15kg off a single no.10 woodscrew without causing damage to the walls. It makes adapting the purpose of a room too easier  and has been impressing potential house buyers across the country since housebuilders started to implement the latest material innovation in their developments.

    Gyproc Habito is five times stronger than standard

    Similarly, ThistlePro DuraFinish provides up to 60% tougher resistance to accidental damage, which is particularly practical for multigenerational households. ThistlePro DuraFinish is effective for plaster finishes in high traffic areas that are prone to damage such as hallways and stairs. Everyday damage caused by young children with bikes and scooters or similarly caused by an older generation who may need to use mobility frames or wheelchairs.

    ThistlePro DuraFinish is effective for high traffic areas

    With multigenerational living on the rise, the building fabrics that are used to construct the home can significantly enhance how a family can live in a home and will be an increasing consideration for potential homebuyers. Housebuilders and manufacturers can work together to build a better standard of home because it is inevitable that people and their lifestyles will change over time and their homes need to be able to adapt with them.

    To learn how other housebuilders are delighting homeowners and building better homes, please visit:

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