Metric Data 07 – Wheelchair accessible living areas

Wheelchair accessible living areas

In this post, we will explore the necessary requirements to design a wheelchair accessible living area. We will look at living spaces that will enable a wheelchair user to enjoy the spaces and be able to socialise with their friends and family. A living area that suitably accommodates a wheelchair user will be sized to allow for necessary circulation space, have a range of furniture, and provide accessible doors, windows and furniture.

 

For this post, we will look at living space as a living room, and explore the options for kitchens or kitchen/dining in a separate post. We will explore the regulations according to the Building Regulations Approved Documents, and consult other guidance documents in order to provide the most accessible, and suitable living space options for a wheelchair user.

 

Ideally we will locate the living area on the entrance level of the dwelling, an open plan design works well and allows wheelchair users to move easily between the spaces. If the living space is not open plan, it is optimal to provide convenient access to the kitchen and dining areas from the living space.

 

A long and narrow living room is less suitable to a wide living room which allows for good circulation through the space.

Requirements for a wheelchair accessible living area

(According to Approved Document Part M of the Building Regulations – M4(3) Category 3 wheelchair user dwellings)
 
  • Living area should be on the entrance story of the dwelling.
  • Access to living areas should be step free.
  • The minimum floor area of the combined living, dining and kitchen space meets the provisions of the table below.
 
  • A turning circle of min diameter 1500mm should be provided in the living area.
 
  • Minimum furniture requirements for a living space in accordance with the table below.
 
A bed space can be defined as a suitable sleeping area for one person. (A single bedroom provides one bedspace and a double or twin bedroom provides two bedspaces).
 

Sign up to our newsletter

 

Make sure you don’t miss out on anything that is going on at First In Architecture – sign up to the newsletter now. No spam, no funny business, just useful stuff!

Design suggestions, guidance and good practice

 
  • Consider arranging furniture to the perimeter of the living space to allow wheelchair users to circulate freely around the room.
  • Make sure suitable space is available for the wheelchair user to transfer from wheelchair to chair, and also to approach and use furniture, like accessing shelving.
  • Create unobstructed views to the outside from a seated position – ensuring window transoms are not obstructing sight lines.
  • Window handles should be at a height that allow wheelchair users to easily open and close windows, and control the ventilation independently. Glazing must start at a maximum of 850mm above finished floor level, with one window having a handle between 700mm and 1000mm.
  • Suggested minimum unobstructed living room width of 4m is good practice, with a regular shape and no awkward angles or corners.
  • Provide 750mm (minimum but up to 1200mm preferable) wide clear routes between items, in front of windows and any routes between doors.

 

You might also be interested in:

Other recent posts…

A Guide to Pitched Roof Details

A Guide to Pitched Roof Details

The following post includes excerpts from our book Understanding Architectural Details - Residential, 4th Edition.Understanding Pitched Roofs The roof is a key element of the building structure, providing protection from the elements and has a vital role in reducing...

Standard Brick Sizes

Standard Brick Sizes

A guide to standard brick sizes and bonds​ Knowing standard brick sizes becomes a crucial skill for architects and builders when designing. Bricks have been used as a building material in construction from ancient times. They signify strength and durability through...

A Quick and Easy Guide to U-Values

A Quick and Easy Guide to U-Values

Updated January 2024 Understanding and measuring u-values is of huge importance as we aim to improve the sustainability and performance of our buildings. This article is split into two parts. First we will look at the u-value meaning and some of the common terminology...

2 Comments

  1. I love this website it is so full of great details and professional input. Grateful to be a signed up member for the newsletter.

    Reply
    • Thank you John 🙂

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.