Habinteg welcomed expert housing and access professionals, influencers and stakeholders to celebrate the publication of the third edition of its Wheelchair Housing Design Guide on 17 April.
The celebratory reception took place at the historic Charterhouse in the City of London, attended by planners and access professionals along with key influencers and experts from the housing and disability sectors. The event was an opportunity to reflect on the importance of high quality wheelchair standard housing, with a focus on looking to the future and how the guide will be a helpful resource for improving provision going forward.
The new guide is the product of a partnership between Habinteg and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – Housing (RCOTSS-Housing) and is published by respected architectural content experts, RIBA.
This third edition of the guide has been written by experts from the Centre for Accessible Environments and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – Housing. It is designed to complement the 2015 Building Regulations, giving practical guidance on implementation of Approved Document M4 Category 3 – the wheelchair accessible standard.
Speaking at the event, Sheron Carter, Habinteg CEO, pointed to the important impact of wheelchair accessible homes:
“Time and time again, we have seen the difference that well-designed wheelchair accessible housing can make. There is a growing need for wheelchair accessible housing in England, and high-quality design is important across the spectrum of different tenures. The benefits to the individuals and families are absolutely invaluable.”
The audience also heard from WHDG author Kate Sheehan, of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – Housing, who reflected on the significance of home:
“Our homes should be an environment where we can express your individuality – paint it all the colours of the rainbow if you choose to – but if you can’t actually get into your home, move around it with ease and use all its facilities then it impacts your ability to be you hugely, which is why it’s so important to provide housing for all our needs.
“There is significant evidence that the built environment has a direct and indirect effect on our physical and mental health. Everyone should be able to socialise, get in and out of their property, or do fundamental things in life like going to the toilet, without having to struggle every day to achieve these activities. This is why the Wheelchair Housing Design Guide – and particularly some of the more holistic elements – is so important.”
The Wheelchair Housing Design Guide is of particular use to housebuilders, architects and occupational therapists, as an informative guide to inspire best practice throughout the sector. Following its 1997 and 2006 editions the new 136pp volume is an essential update, and aims to encourage professionals to consider the holistic impacts of accessible housing during all stages of the design process.
The Wheelchair Housing Design Guide is priced at £35 and can be ordered from www.habinteg.org.uk/WHDG3.