Accessibility for Disabled People to Dwellings

It is good practice to design disabled access into all new dwellings, allowing disabled people to visit as far as the entrance without any assistance. Developers may draw their attention to the recommendations of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's 'Lifetime Homes' concept, but it is recognisably unrealistic that all new houses should cater for occupation by people with impaired mobility. Lifetime Homes has been superseded by Building Regulations Part M4 Category 2 (Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings). 

Planning authorities state that a flat area of at least 900mm x 900mm outside the entrance to each dwelling on the same level as the threshold is sufficient. This flat area may be approached by steps or a ramp with a maximum gradient of 1 in 12. A handrail with a minimum length of 900mm should also be incorporated where appropriate. The entrance door and any gates should be a minimum width of 800mm. 

It is not always practical to accommodate this flat area and its approach outside the front door – for example, if the front door opens straight off the footway and its threshold is above the footway level. In such cases it is suitable for access to be provided to an entrance at the side or rear of the dwelling.

Page updated: 27/02/2018

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