Bert Provan and Laura Lane
Published 4 September 2023
People who use wheelchairs can benefit in many ways from living in homes which are designed to meet their needs. They can enjoy a much greater independence and ability to do everyday tasks such as showering, cooking, using all areas of the house and garden, being able to work, and using all the amenities of their home. This can lead to an overall increase in their confidence and wellbeing, including engagement in social and community life.
Accessible homes can also be much safer, reducing risks of accidents or falls at home, and considerably reduce the need for other people to be regularly available to assist with everyday life – including family members, informal carers, or local authority care and support staff.
Recent proposals to change planning regulations will mean, once implemented, that all new homes are required to meet an inclusive design standard called the ‘accessible and adaptable design standard’, which is set out in building regulations in ‘Approved Document M’. This has been widely welcomed by many disabled people and others, as it will provide homes that can be adapted to meet many of the changing needs of households over time. But there are still no regulations which require the building of a basic proportion of new homes to a standard which meets the needs of wheelchair users.
LSE Housing and Communities were commissioned by Habinteg Housing Association to review the existing evidence around the potential benefits to individual wheelchair users and the public purse of increasing the availability of wheelchair accessible housing to meet current needs, and compare those benefits to the additional costs of building to that accessible standard. We also interviewed 17 wheelchair users about their experiences of living in, or their lack of, accessible housing.
Here you can download the executive summary, the full report, and the data workbook for the cost-benefit analysis model.