Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Property that ages with the owner

The UK Government generates a torrent of rules and regulations. Some are good some are bad (mostly the latter) some get buried in the bureaucracy never to see the light of day.

Yesterday a new set of rules emerged (Lifetime Homes). This time they are to do with making houses age-friendly. To start with they are intended to be ‘guidance’ - until 2010 - with the threat that they will become legal regulations if the building industry doesn’t behave and adopt them.

In practice we might well have a new Government by 2010, most certainly the Government Minister will have changed a couple of times and the building industry will have had a chance to noble the civil servants. My bet is the end result will be nothing changes.

For those of you interested in residential housing for older people these are the things they are supposed to have:

• Bathroom to allow side access to bath and toilet
• Space for a stair-lift.
• Space for a platform lift to the bedroom
• Low window sills
• Walls able to take adaptions
• Space for temporary entrance-level bed
• Living room at entrance level
• Distance from car park kept to minimum
• Easy route for a hoist from bedroom to bathroom
• Sockets and controls at convenient height
• Entrance-level toilet
• Doors and hall wide enough for a wheelchair
• Space for wheelchair turning circle in the living room
• Threshold to home covered and lit
• Parking space capable of being widened
• Level or gently-sloping approach to front door

Most of them are very vague and open to a wide range of interpretation. Dick Stroud

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