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Dwelling design - fit for purpose

A new dwelling should always have spaces for functions such as sleep and rest, cooking, meals, personal hygiene, everyday social contact and storage. These requirements on dwelling design are found in Boverket's Building Regulations.

All functions except personal hygiene may be performed in the same room. But larger dwellings should be designed so that the living room, kitchen and bedrooms can be divided into separate, windowed rooms.

In 2014 and 2016, changes were made to Boverket's Building Regulations concerning dwelling design. Part of the aim was to make it easier to build small dwellings and student dwellings.

There are special regulations on how to perform dwelling design when altering a building. For holiday homes with no more than two dwellings, you do not need to conform to the regulations on dwelling design in BBR.

Design requirements and technical property requirements are reported at different stages of the process

When you apply for a building permit, your building permit documents must show that you can meet the design requirements for the dwelling's design and accessibility. Technical property requirements are dealt with later on, in conjunction with the technical consultation and start-up statement. You can see which of the requirements of BBR 3:1 and 3:2 are design requirements, technical property requirements, or both, in Boverket's guidance, which marks these using three different colours. Guidance: design requirements and technical property requirements can be found to the right (the document is in Swedish).

Dwellings must be fit for purpose

You can read about how to design dwellings to be fit for purpose in the mandatory provisions and general recommendations on dwelling design in Boverket's Building Regulations, BBR, Sections 3:2 and 3:52. There are thus two kinds of regulations on dwelling design: design requirements and technical property requirements. This entails the existence of requirements both on spaces and on fittings and equipment.

The regulations state that dwellings must have separable spaces for sleep and rest, social contact, cooking, meals, hygiene and storage to a reasonable extent. There must be windows to the outside in the spaces for sleep and rest, social contact and for cooking. The dwellings must also have fittings and equipment for cooking and hygiene. This is stipulated in Chapter 3, Sections 1 and 17 of the Planning and Building Ordinance (PBO).

Dwelling design governs dwelling size

How big a dwelling must be, and thus how small it may be, is affected by BBR's requirements on dwelling design and accessibility. The functions that a dwelling must have are described in BBR 3:22, and BBR 3:146 contains requirements that the functions must be accessible and usable for people with impaired mobility.

Dwellings not larger than 35 m2

If you design a dwelling that is no larger than 35 m2, the functions of everyday social contact and of sleep and rest may wholly or partially overlap, that is, use the same space. It is sufficient, for example, that there is space for a sofa bed, a coffee table and an armchair/wheelchair. The functions of meals and working from home may also overlap: there need not be room for both a kitchen table and a desk; it is sufficient if you have space for a table where you can both work and eat your meals. There is no requirement for separability in dwellings up to 35 m2, which means that all functions except the sanitary room may be in the same room and that it is therefore sufficient with a single window in the dwelling. It is also sufficient with less space and fittings for cooking and storage than in larger dwellings.

Student dwellings for one person

If you design a student dwelling for one person, the functions of meals and home working may wholly or partially overlap the functions for everyday social contact and for sleep and rest. It is sufficient with space for a sofa bed, a coffee table and an armchair/wheelchair; no space needs to be dedicated to a separate table for meals and home working. There is no requirement on separability, which means that all functions except the sanitary room may be in the same room and it is therefore sufficient with a single window in the dwelling. The requirement for the least possible space and fittings for cooking is even lower than in dwellings not larger than 35 m2. The requirement for space and fittings for storage is the same as in dwellings not larger than 35 m2.

Student dwellings for one person, with communal spaces

If you design student dwellings that have communal spaces, for example corridor dwellings, the functions of everyday social contact, cooking and meals may be in the communal spaces. Sanitary rooms (toilet and shower room or bathroom) may be in the communal spaces, but a maximum of 3 people may share a sanitary room.

Larger student dwellings

If you design dwellings that are larger than 55 m2 for students, the bedrooms may be of the same size, unlike in other larger dwellings, which should have a bedroom for two people.

Design dimensions and the number of people

Swedish Standard SS 91 42 21 contains examples of design dimensions in dwellings according to the number of people. BBR refers to this standard in the general recommendations.

In the standard, you can see examples of sanitary rooms that meet the requirements for both dwelling design and accessibility. If you plan the rooms in a different way, you must be able to show that you still meet the requirements of the mandatory provision.

Supplementary housing facilities

There must be supplementary housing facilities to the dwelling. There must, for example, be a storage room with lockable space for storage of seasonal equipment and the like, in the dwelling or in its vicinity. There must also be a room for the storage of bicycles, outdoor wheelchairs and the like, as well as space for post boxes, in the vicinity of the dwelling.

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