All homes should be designed to be inclusive and accessible to all anticipated building users, regardless of the immediate needs of their occupants. Access to communal landscapes and facilities should not be compromised for those with mobility difficulties and they should not be made to feel excluded by poorly laid out designs.
Features of external environment of accessible houses
- Firm and level pathway around edge of house
- Stable pathway on both sides of drive and car parking spaces
- Additional side entrance
- Low or no threshold doors
- Level hard surface in garden
- Wide entrances to house
- No change in level or slope where cars cross pavement
- Wide and level pavement with firm stable surface materials
- Paths and entrances protected from weather
Features of futureproof adaptable housing layouts
- Consider how layout enables the changing mobility needs of occupants over time
- Plan ground floor spaces that allow wheelchair access for occupants and visitors
- Consider how ground floor spaces could be converted when stairs are no longer option
- Allow for all sanitary facilities to be expanded to allow for changing mobility access
- Refer to building regulations for further guidance.
All new homes must be designed to meet Building Regulations M4(2) Category 2: Accessible and adaptable dwellings. Building Regulations M4(3) Category 3: Wheelchair user dwellings must be provided in accordance with the New Trafford Local Plan.
Accessible external footways
All dwellings must provide accessible external areas, footways and paths that are clear, direct and clutter free.
In this example, the approach to the house is through a gate and along a path that are sufficiently wide enough for wheelchair users. There is also a sufficiently sized turning circle space that allows users to manoeuvre when at the house entrance. The pathway is made from durable, firm and non-slip material and the entrance is protected from weather with a canopy.
Principles of an accessible approach to entrance
Footways are at least 900mm wide
The approach route is level or gently sloped, no steeper than 1:60
Maximum cross fall of 1:40 on footways
If ramps are required they should be designed in line with building regulations
All gates or openings on footways are at least 900mm in width
No stairways on approach to house whenever possible
No single steps that can cause falls or access issues on footways
All surfaces are firm, durable and slip resistant. Avoid loose materials.
Locate car parking where there is the most accessible route to the main entrance, a route which is step-free, level and free from obstruction. This may need to be from the street or parking courtyards so consider the route people take outside of the private boundary.
In this example, the route between the parked car and the entrance is along a path that is sufficiently wide, and made of firm durable, and non-slip material. The parking bay surface is permeable paving and not suitable as an accessible path. The house offers a second entrance on its side elevation. The entrances and paths are protected from the weather by a canopy.