The government has announced it is to change building regulations for new homes to ensure they are more accessible for older and disabled people.
The Department For Levelling Up has announced it will proceed with changes to regulations after the raising accessibility standards for new homes consultation concluded almost unanimously that the Accessibility Standard should be raised.
As a result, new building regulations with require new homes will have step-free access at entrance level, plus what the department described as “further features to make homes more easily adaptable over time, supporting people to live independent lives”.
For many disabled people, measures such as accessible bath solutions will come top of the list of adaptations they would like to see in their homes, so it appears that under the new rules this will be much easier to accomplish. Indeed, the statement spoke of how the new rules would “future proof” homes to make future adaptations easier to carry out.
Housing minister Eddie Hughes said: “Older and disabled people must have homes which are suitable for their needs, and allow them to live comfortably and independently,” adding that the consultation had shown that it was not just those living in accessible homes who thought this, but “industry and wider stakeholders as well”.
Co-Chair of the Housing Made for Everyone Christina McGill said the need for more accessible homes will soar over the next 20 years due to the UK’s ageing population.
”Improving mandatory access standards will remove many of the barriers currently limiting the number of accessible homes being built and help deliver the right quality of homes for everyone,” she added.
The consultation on raising the accessibility standard was launched in September 2020 and received 413 responses from a range of stakeholders including 78 local authorities, 38 charities, 24 occupational therapists and 19 architects.
All but one of the respondents supported raising the accessibility standard.