Improve home living for ageing population and people with impairments

Press release: 4th September 2012

BSI is seeking industry feedback on a draft of a proposed standard to address issues of access and movement within residential buildings.

Demographic trends mean that the UK population as a whole is ageing. Research also suggests that many older people affected by health conditions or disability, find it difficult to move around their home and use the facilities in comfort and with dignity.

The new British Standard, BS 9266 - Design of accessible and adaptable general needs housing – aims to reduce these difficulties by enabling greater independence and wellbeing through more accessible and adaptable housing. The standard explains how, by following the key principles of inclusive design, general needs housing can be made sufficiently flexible and convenient to meet the existing and changing needs of more households, and so give people more choice over where they live.

BS 9266 development process

The standard has been developed by a co-opted panel which includes experts from the building professions, the access industry, local government, housing associations and others. It will provide essential best practice guidance to anyone involved in the design and construction of housing. BS 9266 will be of commercial interest to residential property developers, architects, designers and house builders, who will benefit by being able to market properties as incorporating the latest in adaptable housing design and other parties such as town planning officers, access consultants, housing associations and disability organisations whose interest is in reducing risk to inhabitants.

Under the umbrella of BS 8300 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people – Code of Practice, BS 9266 evolves the Draft for Development - DD 266 Lifetime Homes - into a full British Standard, and supplements the existing guidance on the built environment. Currently BS 8300 only incorporates certain recommendations on dwellings into the general guidance, and does not feature housing as a building type.

The standard has already been through a comprehensive consultancy process as a Draft for Development and draws on a number of sources including the criteria from the Lifetime homes design guide [1] and the government document Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods [2].

Industry is now invited to have further say in this Draft for Public Consultation (DPC) following some critical changes to the original document with particular reference to stairs, ramps and lifts; revised and simplified recommendations for bathrooms and WCs; and additional guidance on lighting.

BS 9266 is a prompt to the house building industry

“At a time when ageing and issues of ageing are coming more and more to the forefront of national concern, this new British Standard aims to make life better for people with restricted abilities by addressing best practice in the building of accessible and adaptable homes for all people in every age group,” said Shirley Bailey-Wood, Director of Publishing at BSI. “The standard is a prompt to the house building industry to look ahead and consider how people will cope in the future as these health concerns become more apparent.”

Dr Patricia Pay, Chair of the responsible committee, B/559 said: “As a wheelchair user I am delighted that we are taking a further significant step along the road to providing housing which meets the needs of everybody. Large scale adaptation to meet changing needs is a major burden, as I know only too well from personal experience. This Standard should prove most beneficial to many people over the coming years.”

Notes to editors

BS 9266 is a supplementary document to BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people – Code of practice, and replaces Draft for Development DD 266:2007 Lifetime Homes.

[1] GOODMAN, C. and HABINTEG HOUSING ASSOCIATION. Lifetime homes design guide. 
[2] COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT. Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods
– A national strategy for housing in an ageing society.

About BSI

BSI (British Standards Institution) is a global organization that equips businesses with the necessary solutions to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence. Formed in 1901, BSI was the world’s first National Standards Body and a founding member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Over a century later it continues to facilitate business improvement across the globe by helping its clients drive performance, reduce risk and grow sustainably through the adoption of international management systems standards, many of which BSI originated. Famed for its marks of excellence including the instantly recognizable Kitemark®, BSI’s influence spans multiple sectors including aerospace, construction, energy, engineering, finance, healthcare, IT and retail. With over 70,000 clients in 150 countries, BSI is an organization whose standards inspire excellence across the globe.