NHBC Building Control: Access to and use of buildings and dwellings
The National House Building Council (NHBC) in the United Kingdom has regulations and guidelines in place to ensure that new homes are designed and constructed with accessibility features for disabled people. These regulations aim to create an inclusive and accessible environment for individuals with disabilities.
One aspect of NHBC’s regulations is Part M of the Building Regulations. Part M focuses on access to and use of buildings. It includes provisions for disabled access, such as designing entrances, doorways, corridors, ramps, stairs, and accessible facilities like toilets and parking spaces.
NHBC also encourages the implementation of Lifetime Homes Standards. These standards promote adaptable and flexible housing to accommodate changing needs. They may include features like level access entrances, wider doorways, accessible bathrooms, and provisions for home lifts or stair lifts.
Wheelchair accessibility is another consideration in NHBC’s regulations. Guidelines may include provisions for clear access routes throughout the home and sufficient space to maneuver a wheelchair in areas like bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. This may involve wider doorways, appropriate turning circles, and level thresholds.
NHBC also encourages builders to consider adaptability and flexibility in their designs. This means incorporating features that allow for future adaptations to meet the specific needs of disabled occupants. Examples could include provisions for grab rails, adjustable-height kitchen counters, or reinforced bathroom walls to support the installation of grab bars.
It’s important to note that NHBC’s regulations may evolve over time, and it is recommended to refer to their website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on their regulations regarding disabled access.
Approach to the Dwelling
The entrance design should be accessible, either level or with a ramp of appropriate gradient. It should be wide enough for wheelchair users and have a non-slip surface. Doorways should have sufficient width and level or low-level thresholds.
Steps should be minimized, and handrails should be provided for support if necessary. Stairs should have handrails on both sides and adequate lighting for visibility.
Good lighting should be present along the approach path to ensure safety and visibility, benefiting users with visual impairments. Clear signage should indicate the way to the dwelling and accessible entrances, incorporating tactile and braille elements.
Accessible parking spaces should be available near the entrance, with appropriate width and signage.
These guidelines aim to create an accessible and welcoming approach to a dwelling, promoting inclusivity for individuals with disabilities.
Private Entrances and Spaces within the Dwelling
Private entrances should be designed to be easily accessible, with level access or a ramp of appropriate gradient. Doorways should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchair users and have level or low-level thresholds.
Internal spaces within the dwelling should be designed to allow for easy movement. Doorways should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchair users, and thresholds should be level or low-level.
If steps are necessary, handrails should be provided for support. Stairs should have handrails on both sides and adequate lighting for visibility.
Lighting should be sufficient in private entrances and internal spaces to ensure safety and visibility, especially for individuals with visual impairments.
It is important to consider the placement of electrical switches, outlets, and controls at accessible heights for ease of use.
Private bathrooms and toilet facilities should be designed to be accessible, including features such as grab rails, level access showers, and adequate circulation space.Consideration should be given to the location and design of storage spaces to ensure they are easily reachable for all residents, including those with disabilities.
These guidelines aim to promote accessibility and inclusivity within private entrances and spaces within the dwelling, ensuring that individuals with disabilities can navigate and use these areas comfortably and safely.
Up-to-date guidelines can be found on the gov.uk website here…
Access to and use of buildings: Approved Document M
Guidelines from the NHBC can be downloaded here…