What are ‘Lifetime Homes’?
Lifetime Homes are dwellings which have been thoughtfully designed to make life as easy as possible for as long as possible. The concept was initially developed in 1991 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and is now promoted by the Foundation for Lifetime Homes and Neighbourhoods. Lifetime Homes allow older people to stay in their own homes for longer, reduce the need for home adaptations and give greater choice to disabled people who cannot achieve independent living due to lack of suitable housing.
The Lifetime Homes concept is based on five overarching principles:
- Good value
It then sets out sixteen criteria for accessibility and inclusive design to provide for the needs of occupants at minimal cost. These criteria are collectively known as ‘Lifetime Homes Standards’
What are the Lifetime Homes Standards?
The sixteen criteria are:
- Parking (width or widening capability)
- Approach to dwelling from parking (distance, gradients and widths)
- Approach to all entrances
- Communal stairs and lifts
- Internal doorways and hallways
- Circulation space
- Entrance level living space
- Potential for entrance level bed space
- Entrance level WC and shower drainage
- WC and bathroom walls
- Stairs and potential through-floor lift in dwellings
- Potential for fitting of hoists and bedroom / bathroom relationship
- Glazing and window handle
- Location of service controls
How to implement the Lifetime Homes Standards?
Implementing Lifetime Homes Standards doesn’t necessarily mean providing full wheelchair access throughout the home. It’s more about having the right foundation in place so that adaptations can be made at a later stage if required.
As such, Lifetime Homes Standards should be considered as early as possible during the planning and design stage of your dream home or extension.
Examples of Lifetime Homes Standards include:
- Being able to enlarge the car parking space to a minimum width of 3300mm
- The distance from the car parking space to the dwelling entrance should be kept to a minimum and be level or gently sloping (no gradient exceeding 1:60)
- The minimum width of any hallway/landing in a dwelling is 900mm
- The minimum clear opening width of any doorway within a dwelling, when the approach to the door is ‘head on’, is 750mm.
- In dwellings with two or more storeys, with no permanent bedroom on the entrance level, there should be space on the entrance level that could be used as a convenient temporary bed-space
- Where an accessible bathroom is not provided on the entrance level of a dwelling, the entrance level should have an accessible WC compartment, with potential for a shower to be installed
- A dwelling with two or more storeys should incorporate both the potential for a stair lift and suitable space for a through-the–floor lift
For the complete 16 Design Criteria for the Lifetime Homes Standard, please visit http://www.lifetimehomes.org.uk/pages/revised-design-criteria.html
Who is affected by the standards?
Meeting Lifetime Homes Standards isn’t mandatory but some local planning policies recommend that new homes (in both the public and private sectors) adopt the Lifetime Homes Standards.
The standards were initially added to the ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ in 2010. However, in an attempt to reduce confusion from different competing standards, the government declared that the ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ can no longer be a requirement of planning conditions and updated Part M of the Building Regulations in October 2015 to incorporate some aspects of the Lifetime Homes Standards.
This means that where a local planning authority adopts a policy to provide enhanced accessibility or adaptability they should do so only by reference to Requirement M4(2) and / or M4(3) of the optional requirements in the Building Regulations.
If you implement the Lifetime Homes Standards in your design, you can ensure that all of Part M of the Building Regulations (which deals with accessibility) are met.
If you have any questions about planning an extension and implementing Lifetime Homes Standards, or just questions about creating your dream home in general, go ahead and book a free call below with Yoop.
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