Ramps and other forms of disabled access are usually the most visible adaptation you can make to someone’s home. And yet in most cases their design is based on function rather than aesthetic. This section aims to improve the design of “facilitating access to and from the dwelling” funded by Disabled Facilities Grants in England.
However, design isn’t just a question of aesthetics. In 2013/14 the National Trading Standards Board introduced a Victim Impact Survey for all new victims of doorstep crime, to examine the nature of victims, the impact of such crime on victims, to identify contributory factors to victimisation, and to identify prevention opportunities. They found that 43% of victims had a handrail / grab rail, ramp to their door, or a key safe for use by carers. Alongside other evidence, this strongly suggests that some offenders may use these items as a means of identifying vulnerable residents.
There are three main ways of providing access to the home where steps limit accessibility:
- a ramp;
- a lift; or
- landscape modifications
Landscape modifications means the redesign and regrading of the path between street/garden and the front/rear/side home entrance to enable a continuous walkway (path) with an incline of 1:20. A properly designed landscape modification may not require handrails, can incorporate replanting and be designed to fit in with the façade of the home and reduce garden maintenance.