Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Universal Design In Building: Discussion

Mr. Brian Condon:

It is our experience that many architects, never mind developers, do not understand the ethos of UD and wheelchair-liveable housing. Basic UD is not wheelchair-liveable design or wheelchair-liveable housing. A wheelchair-liveable home is a home where a wheelchair user can use every part of the home from the utility room to the kitchen to the bedrooms. This is the fundamental difference between the Part M document and a wheelchair-liveable home.

One of our wheelchair users is a disabled mother. We are currently supporting her in a house that is built in compliance with Part M. She can get into the living room and her bedroom, but she cannot cook a meal for her family or help her kids because the rooms are upstairs. There are huge inconsistencies around guidance for a wheelchair-liveable house. Basic UD guidance recommends a 1,500 mm turning circle whereas UD++ recommends a 1,800 mm turning circle.

A power wheelchair requires a minimum turning circle of 1800 mm.