5 basic ways to design accessible housing

By FrankiChaffin

January 13, 2020

Some old or disabled people choose to have their houses built. These houses are specifically designed accessible housing. Often, these people employ specialist architects. They keep 9 basic principles when the design accessible housing, but what are they?

It is important to say that there are regulations. These regulations are usually non-negotiable and set by the government. However, architects are always aware of these regulations.

1. Corridors must be wide and continuous

Elderly and disabled people often aren’t too mobile. When moving through tight areas such as corridors, this can become an issue. Corridors need to be wide enough for easy mobility, but also with no turns. Architects know that this is intricate to design accessible housing with good corridors. The floors should be a non-slip surface, preferably carpet to be easily identified. Some architects make corridors as wide as 2.5 meters, whilst some only do 2 meters.

2. Not all doors are created equal

Some architects will have doors custom made, depending on the client. However, most architects design for a door of 90cm to 100cm. The door should open/slide completely. Doors that obstruct movement should always be avoided to lessen the chance of injury.

Revolving doors aren’t fully accessible, and as such, are often avoided. Glazed doors are also avoided unless clearly indicated. Automatic doors are a smart choice- although they must be properly regulated.

3. Correctly designing windows

Folding windows (open inwards), sliding windows (horizontal displacement), or pivot (both horizontal and inwards) are good choices. Architects know that to design accessible housing well, windows are key. If a window is an obstruction, it makes the house inaccessible.

When designing, architects know how to use windows to bring in the most natural sunlight. Remember, for some people, it can be the only connection to the outside world.

4. The bathroom is key

When it comes to accessibility, the bathrooms are the main focus point. Architects know that disabled people have mobility issues, which means everything needs to be bigger. The room needs to be larger, not to mention the shower or toilet. Bathrooms also need to be able to be accessible for a wheelchair.

The room should be at least 2m across. And at least 2m high. Sliding doors are recommended, support bars, both fixed and folding. Other accessories such as crutches or canes should also be easily accessible. The surface of the bath should be non-slip, as to avoid injuries.

5. Bedrooms are key

The bedroom is key. Architects know that to design accessible housing well, the bedroom needs to be accessible. The main purpose of a bedroom is to promote rest. Architects will place special emphasis on lighting, after all, lighting is proven to affect mood

When designing the plans, architects will design the bedrooms to be larger. 2m wide at least, a bed height of 50 cm, combined with low rise storage space. The switches need to be easily accessible, and easily seen in the dark. However, they can’t be distracting from getting to sleep.