vorbild

How to make your house more accessible

For us, this term is not limited to improving wheelchair access, although it is a big and important part of it. It's second meaning is more general - removing unnecessary thresholds and other trip hazards means an improvement for everyone, but more importantly for small children and elderly.

Let me give you a couple of examples :

Removing thresholds on doors
Older properties have inherited these from years of small and larger changes, after works have been done to varying building regulations, or dare I say common sense and DIY. The cause is usually down to the desire to save costs, where for example old floor boards have been kept in and new flooring was simply added on top. On some occasions we have come across bathroom floors which have been tiled over twice, with no regards to good workmanship.

Installing a down stairs WC
There usually is unused and left over space under the main stairs on the ground floor, but if this is not enough for you, a small rearrangement may be necessary. This will not only help older people, but also your guests will no longer need to use your more private bathroom upstairs.

Installing level access to the garden
You must have seen this in countless pictures - a wide sliding folding door slides effortless to the side, and thanks to a recessed floor mounted track, no one notices that there even was a door after a while. Many properties with smaller doors into the garden still have a step down into it. This is usually because their house was build without much foundations, with a suspended and ventilated timber floor or whoever build it wanted to save costs and basically left you with a step down into the garden. The clearest benefit of such a situation is that this helps with keeping water out from your house, as it would have to rise to a relatively high level before reaching over the threshold. However, it's not ideal, and "able" people can slip or trip on such a threshold, and it's not easy especially for children. So why not add a raised decking outside, which will give you a dry and stable platform for a nice table and chairs, and perhaps that outdoor grill you always fancied?

Advice
If your project deals with an older building, which is very likely given the vast number of pre war properties in London and the UK, you may be faced with a dilemma such as this : Do I spent money on so called hidden items, which won't be visible after the project is done, but changing these items will give me other benefits, such as increased height, level floors, less risk of leaking pipes, better sound and thermal insulation etc?
Speaking from experience, it helps to look at it from a "how much does it cost if I get issues with it after my project is complete" viewpoint. If you look at it from this perspective, it is cheaper to do it there and then, rather than leave it covered for the next owner to solve - or yourself, just in a few years down the line - info@vorbild.co.uk

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