WITH just over 7% of UK housing providing the basic accessibility features required for the elderly or people with a disability, the country’s accessible housing deficit is expected to reach a crisis point.
Statistics show that one in five disabled people are living in homes which require adaptation to meet their needs, and research carried out by national charity Aspire, indicates that the number of wheelchair accessible homes being built is on the decline, with over 20,000 wheelchair users still waiting for suitable, affordable housing.
One SME house builder, that has taken valuable steps towards combatting this growing issue is Yorkshire based firm SB Homes.
By partnering with accessibility solutions, CIBES Lift UK, the developer has been able to adapt homes for people of all ages and physical abilities within it’s Empire Works development in Huddersfield.
The latest development is set to include two T-shaped apartment buildings, comprising of 24 two-bedroom properties. Within the two buildings, CIBES Lift UK is installing four A5000 lifts in order to ensure the properties are accessible.
The development will also include a number of three and four bedroom houses. Buyers of these properties are encouraged to have shared input into the design of the property, and as part of this are given the option to have a domestic lift installed in to the property.
Gary Sullivan, marketing and sales director at Cibes, said: “A staggering amount of councils in England don’t have plans to address the lack of accessible housing, so it is becoming more and more important for construction firms to take on this responsibility and prioritise accessibility within new developments.
“When many housing developers think of domestic lifts they tend to picture a bulky, obstructive eye sore that will ruin the aesthetic of the property and put off potential buyers. This is the not the case at all, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Domestic lifts are often considered a selling point by potential buyers as it means the properties can be a ‘forever home’.
“Accessible homes aren’t just beneficial for people with disabilities and mobility issues, they improve independent living for older people, as well as families with young children.
After previously working on a number of developments with the company, CIBES Lift UK was the first port of call for SB Homes, who have a number of developments across West Yorkshire.
Stephen Byram, Managing Director at SB Homes said: “Accessible housing is a huge issue for the industry right now. Many people who have requirements for additional support are struggling to live their day-to-day lives because their own homes are simply not geared to help them and are totally unsuitable for their needs.
“Being an SME house building firm it’s important that we understand the needs of the people in the area and are fine-tuned into what’s required to make the properties as safe and comfortable for potential owners as possible.
“When we looked in to the local demand and our target audience, we knew we needed to make accessibility a priority. It’s helped us market the properties to people who wouldn’t have even considered moving there without them. Often, accessibility is the first thing that potential customers ask us about.
“Offering accessible housing, in an area that is crying out for it, is a great way for us to support local people and is part of us giving back to the areas in which we develop.”
CIBES Lift UK has worked with a number of construction companies, installing step-free access solutions to ensure residential developments are fully accessible.
To learn more about CIBES Lift UK visit http://platformlifts.co.uk or call 0800 085 0269.