Research into Access to and Use of Buildings


PRP Innovate have been commissioned by the MHCLG to carry out this work, which seeks to scope out existing evidence to support the evaluation of Part M and Approved Document M of the Building Regulations. The key objectives of this work were: 

• To establish and analyse this available evidence on the benefits of accessible housing; 

• To identify what further research is required to evidence the benefits of these standards. There were two stages to the research: 

• A desk-based review of existing literature, including academic papers, PhD dissertations, industry reports and established standards 

• A gap analysis of the literature to identify where further research is required 

What are the benefits of accessible housing? There is a significant body of commentary and qualitative (rather than quantitative) evidence of benefits to individuals in housing which have been adapted to make it accessible. There is less evidence available of benefits derived from non-adapted but purpose built accessible housing. 

Benefits identified include the following: 

• Delayed hospital discharges cost the NHS about £285m per year, and the evidence suggests that up to 14% of these delayed discharges can be reduced by accessible housing through the reduction of the need to adapt homes (3%) and the need to supply assistive equipment (11%) 

• Avoidance of temporary residential costs associated with rehabilitation of reablement care, through adaptations to the home, which can cost up to £1,722 per episode of care; 

• Reductions in the need for residential care resulting from adaptations to the home, in the region of £25-80k per person; 

• Reductions in the cost of care assistance at home ranging from £1,200 to £29,000 per year resulting from home adaptations; 

• Reduced incidences of housing-related trips and falls resulting from adaptations 9 to the home, which costs the NHS an estimated £291m per year due to trips and falls on levels, and £130m per year due to visual-impairment related incidents; 

• Reduced costs associated with the need for aids and adaptations and the cost of removing these adaptations in purpose designed accessible housing; 

• Reduced admin costs associated with rehousing, estimated to be up to £30k per incidence of rehousing.

Read the full report here