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front cover lifetime home design guide

For Professionals

(8) Living Room

The living room should be at entrance level.


Stated specifications and dimensions required to meet the criterion



Frequently asked questions - Criterion 8

Q In a town house with nothing but the front door, hallway and stairs (along with the garage) at ground storey and all main living accommodation on the first storey with bedrooms on the second storey, which storey is defined as ‘entrance level’?

A ‘Entrance level’ in a town house is defined as the level on which the front door to the house is situated.

Q In a town house why can’t the principle of having an entrance level living space be satisfied by future adaptation of the garage into a living room, or by provision of a through floor lift to the living room on the first storey, if this feature becomes needed by the household?

A This criterion relates to ‘visitability’ of the property for disabled visitors (together with the entrance level accessible WC), and enabling convenient use by a member of the household with reduced mobility on a temporary basis (together with the entrance level temporary bed-space, accessible WC, and shower potential), as well as catering for more permanent disability within the household. Major adaptations such as garage conversions / installation of lifts would be inappropriate for either ‘visitability’ or a temporary situation.

Q How do you define ‘living room’ in order to satisfy this criteria – would a large kitchen/diner suffice?

A For the purposes of satisfying this criterion ‘living room’ can be defined as a living room or living space, indicated on plan, adequate for receiving visitors, general socialising within the household and, where there are no entrance level bedrooms, able to provide the bed-space requirement of Criterion 9. It should also provide the location for the potential through floor lift if not provided elsewhere on the entrance level. Kitchen/diners would only satisfy this criterion if the dining area were large enough to provide for these requirements whilst still retaining an adequate dining function for occupancy level.

Q Could a conservatory or garden room be classed as a living room?

A A conservatory would need adequate thermal insulation and heating for year round use, sufficient space for household use (plus the temporary bed-space), and level access from the main footprint (with no step or threshold exceeding the up-stand specification in Criterion 4). There would also have to be the identified space for the potential through floor lift to a suitable room above elsewhere on the entrance level.

Q Can a flat over garages (FOG) and/or a duplex with no accommodation on the entrance level other than a private lobby giving access to a private stair to the first floor (the first floor being the storey with rooms) achieve the Lifetime Homes Standard?

A A dwelling with a lack of key entrance level LTH facilities (i.e. accessible WC, living space, potential for temporary bed-space and space for a through floor lift) cannot fully satisfy the required LTH Criteria. However, a case can be put with flats over garages (FOGs) which have no entrance level accommodation at all, that if a private staircase up to the storey containing the rooms is ‘easy going’, with goings and risers meeting the ‘easy going’ pitch (i.e. suitable for some ambulant disabled people), and has adequate width (min 900mm) and landings for a stair-lift, then a FOG has equal, or better, accessibility as a walk up LTH flat approached by a communal stair. If the FOG also contains all the other relevant LTH Criteria, then given the limitations imposed by the stair access situation, the LTH principles for that FOG are met as far as is practicable and possible. If the above principle is also applied to a duplex also served by a private staircase and no ‘entrance level’ facilities, then to achieve the LTH principles as far as possible, the duplex should be treated as a LTH property with the entrance to that property at the top of the initial flight of (easy going) stairs. Entrance level LTH facilities (the accessible WC, living space, potential through floor lift space, and potential bed-space should therefore be on the initial (first) storey that contains accommodation. In practice, FOGs and duplexes with no ‘entrance level’ accommodation will not be able to maximise the ‘vistability’ aspects within some LTH principles. The above, if applied, will however maximise potential use and accessibility of the dwelling having regard for the initial entrance / staircase situation.


Additional good practice recommendations

(i) Also provide kitchen facilities on the entrance level.