accessible housing

Consultation paper published to raise accessibility standards in homes for older and disabled people

A consultation paper released on 8th September has outlined proposals to raise accessibility standards for new homes.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: "It's vital we start building more accessible housing for older and disabled people now. 

“People are living longer lives and the proportion of older people in the population is increasing."

Currently, all new homes must meet minimum standards for entry access with level thresholds, and door and corridor widths of a minimum measurement. 

Raising accessibility standards for new homes looks at five options, one of which is increasing the minimum standards to M4 (2) building regulations.

These require homes to offer better access to bathrooms and circulation spaces and make them easily adaptable for wheelchair use.

However, these proposed changes raise profitability issues if building homes with wider corridors means fewer properties are built.

The consultation paper stated: "Planners need to strike an appropriate balance between requiring high standards in new housing on one hand, and the potential effect on the viability of developments on the other which may reduce the amount of new housing.”

Brokerage Hank Zarihs Associates claimed that property development lenders would like changes to consider economic factors for SME builders and give them flexibility — such as building homes closer to site borders to maintain density levels.

The consultation will close on 1st December, 2020.

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