Lifetime Homes is a housing quality standard consisting of 16 design criteria. It was developed in the 1990s to set a range of principles for good housing design that maximises utility, independence and quality of life.
The 16 design criteria consider ‘visit-ability’ of the property as well as the potential future needs of the homeowner. This defines the spatial requirements for facilitating access to the home for visitors with various disabilities as well as the future adaptability to meet the changing needs of the residents.
The latest version of the Lifetime Homes standard, published in July 2010, provides greater flexibility, making the standards more practical. This was the result of extensive consultation with developers.
This table shows the changes from the previous versions and includes key issues that we have addressed in our projects.
Taking note of the Lifetime Homes criteria early in the design process make the criteria much easier to achieve. The main difficulty of the Lifetime Homes criteria is their late incorporation into the design once internal dimensions have been set.
One of the several benefits of Lifetime Homes is under the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ section of the Code for Sustainable Homes where four credits are available through meeting all 16 criteria. The credits in this section of the Code are heavily weighted and Lifetime Homes compliance can therefore make a large contribution towards Code compliance.
Meeting Lifetime Homes is important. It is a requirement of the London Plan 2011 and as Code Level 4 becomes more common, it can be difficult to achieve without it. The revised Lifetime Homes version makes this a practical proposition providing it is considered early in the design process.