Lifetime Homes - designed for comfort and future needs
Sustainability applies to lifestyle as well as the building itself : how can you ensure that your home is both comfortable now, whilst having the potential to be easily adapted should your circumstances change in the future? Lifetime Homes may be the answer - and we've designed this standard into our new Wickhambrook Show Barn.
What are Lifetime Homes?
Lifetime Homes are ordinary homes incorporating 16 design criteria that can be applied to new build at minimal cost. Each design feature adds to the comfort and convenience of the home and supports the changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of life. Key features are flexibility and adaptability.
Whilst you may never need to install mobility modifications, you have the peace of mind that if these are required, the installation will be significantly easier and cheaper if the design already takes these requirements into account.
Our new Wickhambrook Show Barn, under construction during 2011, has been designed to comply to Lifetime Homes. So why choose Lifetime Homes for this, or your own build? It could perhaps be a Planning Condition imposed by the Local Authority - or simply personal choice.
For us, the Barn is very much a demonstration project, and one of the key choices was to comply with Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. We'll be featuring the CSH in an article coming soon: for now we'll simply say we need to earn a number of "credits" for various elements of the build, one of which is "Health and Well Being". Lifetime Homes is an option within this section and one which we wanted to incorporate. Our customers frequently talk about "future proofing" their homes in terms of energy efficiency or water efficiency: Lifetime Homes is another way of ensuring your home can be yours for life, not matter how much your family's circumstances change. When you visit our stunning barn you will see that far from compromise, the criteria add to the comfort and flexibility of the layout.
You will see that these represent a very simple and common sense approach, which give comfort now, and also the ability to easily adapt later to meet changing needs.
- Car parking:- the principle is to provide parking (or provision for later adaptation) that makes getting into/out of a vehicle as convenient as possible for a wide range of people, including those with children or reduced mobility.
- Approach to the dwelling:- to enable convenient movement from the vehicle to the home for the widest range of people including those carrying shopping or with reduced mobility (distance from the car is at a minimum, the approach is level or a gentle slope).
- Approach to all entrances:- as in 2, the approach to all entrances should preferably be level or gently sloping.
- Entrances:- designed to provide ease of use, the criteria include illumination, level access, and clear opening widths. Main entrances also require weather protection.
- Communal Stairs and lifts:- does not apply to individual houses.
- Internal doorways/ hallways:- movement in hallways and through doorways should be as convenient to the widest range of people, including those using mobility aids or wheelchairs, and those moving furniture or other objects. As a general principle, narrower hallways and landings will need wider doorways in their side walls.
- Circulation Space:- this means designing layouts to turn a wheelchair in dining /lounge areas and circulation space elsewhere.
- Living Space:- this requires a living room to be at entrance level.
- Potential for Entrance Level Bed Space:- requires a space that could be used on a temporary basis as a bedroom.
- Entrance Level WC:- requires a WC on entrance level with the potential for a shower to be installed later if required.
- WC and bath walls:- simply requires these to be robust enough for the fixing of adaptations such as grab rails should these be required now or in the future.
- Stairs and potential through-floor lift:- the design allows for these to be fitted in the future as easily as practicable.
- Potential for fitting of hoists:- the structure is designed to be robust enough to enable ceiling hoist fitting with transit from bathroom to bedroom.
- Bathroom:- designed for ease of access from the outset and ease of adaptation with a wheelchair user in mind.
- Glazing and Window Handle Heights:- the principle provides for people to have a reasonable line of sight from a sitting position and to be able to use at least one window for ventilation (handles at lower level).
- Location of service controls:- regularly used controls and those used in an emergency to be located so they are usable by wide range of users including those with limited reach or mobility needs.
Lifetime Homes for your own Build
Even if you don't need your home to formally comply to the scheme, the design principles are easily incorporated into your project using the expertise of the Potton Technical Team. For more information on your own self build project telephone 01767 676400. Sign up for the newsletters to receive updates on the showbarn build.