ACCESSIBLE HOUSING GUIDELINES
The London Borough of Waltham Forest has produced its own guidelines for accessible housing, developed in co-operation with the borough's access group, and working to standards higher than those recommended in the Building Regulations. It states in its introduction: 'The council supports national initiatives to improve access, such as Part M of the Building regulations. However, the council considers that the scope and standards of these regulations do not go far enough to meet the needs of the community. Therefore, the council has formulated its own guidelines, as promised under 6.52 in the Unitary Development Plan, to amplify the Supplementary Planning Guidance on accessible housing.'
It divides its requirements into three categories: an all-housing standard, a mobility standard and a wheelchair standard.
The all-housing standard requires:
external environment designed to Access for All standards
all ground-floor or lift-accessible entrances designed with level access or ramped to Access Guideline standards
all entrance doors 900mm clear opening width.
The mobility standard applies to ground-floor or lift-accessible flats, plus 30 per cent across the range of types in developments of 20 or more units. In addition to the requirements for all housing, it stipulates:
900mm clear opening door
300mm clearance on leading edge of entrance door
wc on entrance storey
1.5m-diameter turning circle in hall
internal doors 875mm clear opening width
corridors 1200mm minimum clear width
straight-flight stairs 800mm minimum width with 900mm-long landings top and bottom.
The wheelchair standard applies to ten per cent across the range of types in new or refurbished developments of 20 or more units, and to adaptations for wheelchair users. It demands, in addition to the requirements for all housing:
all doors 900 mm clear opening width
all doors clearance of 300mm on leading edge both sides
all doors clearance of 100mm on hinge side
wheelchair storage unobstructed 1.5m x 1m
1.5m-diameter unobstructed turning circles in all areas
lift if more than one storey
walls and ceilings suitable for rails and hoists
low sill heights in living areas
accessible wc on all storeys
The guide sets out in some detail what these requirements mean, and supplementing words with explanatory drawings.
Copies of the guide are obtainable from the Access Officer, Chingford Municipal Offices, The Ridgeway, London E4 6PS, tel 0181 527 5544.
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