The costs and benefits of accessible housing

It is important to weigh any add-on costs of building to the new accessible housing standards (compared to the costs of building to Part M) against the benefits of doing so. However the cost-benefit analysis undertaken by the Housing Standards Review had two key limitations.

  1. The review misrepresented development costs.The cost of building to the Category 2 standard for a 3-bedroom property was estimated to be £521 more than building to current Part M. While there were some details included in this estimate that are better considered standard provision, Habinteg broadly accepted the figure. However, further calculations added both space and process costs that are highly disputable. 

    Download and read Habinteg's response to the housing standards review technical consultation Nov 2014 PDF (opens new window) 591KB
     
  2. No serious attempt was made to weigh any development costs against socio-economic benefits. The costs of inaccessible housing are wide-ranging and significant. They include: the costs of residential care that could otherwise be avoided; levels of social care that could be reduced or removed; impacts on independent living, employment and social life; falls and other accidents which can be life-changing or fatal; mental health impacts; impacts on general health; avoidable hospital admissions; increased stays in hospital due to lack of accessible housing to return to (‘bed-blocking’), etc. Department of Health data (found here on www.gov.uk) shows just one night in hospital costs the NHS around £273, whilst one’ week’s residential care averages £550 (Laing and Buisson, 2009, cited in Alzheimer’s Society briefing, January 2011). So the estimated £521 cost of building a 3-bedroom home to Category 2 standard would be met by just one week in residential care.

Age UK supports the Lifetime Homes standard in the context of having analysed costs and benefits and these findings can be viewed in their Housing in Later Life report.