You get a lot of guidance from Part M when you are building or adapting a home for a disabled person but I really struggled for help when I built my mum’s house, it was more about understanding how to make her new house easy to live in so that she could be independent, happy and safe.
A smooth garden path or driveway will make a big difference to elderly, disabled and those unsteady on their feet. Under Part M at least one entrance to the house should be wide enough for a wheelchair and with a low threshold, a gradual slope or ramp should lead up to it. If the gradient of the ramp is too steep it it will be impossible to use and it won’t be passed by building control anyway. If your house has steps leading up to the front door you might find that this also means that it can be very long. We couldn’t fit such an access ramp at the front of the house as there isn’t enough front garden area so we created a disability friendly access through the garden and it doubles up as a drive for the disability scooter.
Hallway and doors
Hallways need to be wide to allow for easy access with a walking aid or a wheelchair. In a conversion project this can be tricky as the existing hallway might be too narrow and you’ll have to look at moving walls and installing wider doors. In our build we kept the hall short: its more of a lobby area and it doesn’t eat into the living space too much. At the end of my mum’s hallway I installed a door so that when she opens her front door she can keep the door to her living space closed off.
Rounded lever door handles with a spring mechanism work best for anyone with arthritis or other ailments, look for lever door locks for bathrooms, I have even found front door locks with levers to make unlocking and locking from the inside easy.