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front cover lifetime home design guide

Lifetime Homes

History of Lifetime Homes

Lifetime Homes emerged from work developed by the Helen Hamlyn Foundation and Habinteg Housing Association in the late 1980s. Helen Hamlyn Foundation’s focus was on the impact of an ageing society on design standards, whilst Habinteg was a housing organisation founded by Scope, with an interest in the housing needs of disabled people. Together both organisations approached the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to carry forward their ideas.

The objective was to devise a set of features that would make a home accessible and usable for disabled people. Homes that would allow future adaptation to meet the changing needs of occupiers. Reaching agreement about the design criteria was not just a technical matter, many other factors such as cost, implementation and regulation were critical.

A set of 16 design criteria were established and agreed by the Lifetime Homes group. These design criteria were then worked up into house plans by architect Edwin Trotter, who had a long experience of working with Habinteg in designing inclusive homes and neighbourhoods.

The work culminated in the first suite of publications on Lifetime Homes, published by Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in 1997:

Designing Lifetime Homes edited by Julie Brewerton and David Darton (ISBN 1 85935 025 9) 

A Cost Benefit Analysis of Lifetime Homes by Christopher Cobbold (ISBN 1 899987 40 1)

Costing Lifetime Homes by Kim Sangster (ISBN 1 85935 024 0)

Since the inception of Lifetime Homes, Habinteg has promoted its application in all new build housing developments.


Helen Hamlyn Foundation website (new window) 

Jospeh Rowntree Foundation (new window)