A Guide to Building Alterations for Your Home

If you’re living with mobility issues then you may find that moving around your home isn’t as easy as it once was. Reduced mobility can be caused by a number of things, including old age, an illness or a disability, but everyone has the right to feel comfortable and safe in their own home.

You may have long term mobility issues, or perhaps it’s a new adjustment as the result of an accident or injury. Whatever the case, there are plenty of steps that can be taken to ensure you can live in a safe, comfortable home that’s perfectly suited to your needs.

Building alterations are a way of redesigning your home so that it’s safe, practical and stylish too. There are many different ways of adapting a property for those with mobility issues, from installing interior or exterior ramps, to widening doorways or adding a wetroom. If you’d like to know more about how a home can be adapted to the needs of you or a loved one, read on for our handy guide.

Planning to adapt your home

Home adaptations can make it much easier for you to move around safely and easily, but you might not know where to start or what your options are. Before you plan any building alterations, you might want to book a home assessment to help you make decisions.

You can book a home assessment through your local council either on the phone or online here, and the service is free. An occupational therapist will visit your home to carry out the assessment and they will ask you questions about your day to day routine and what you find difficult. You can then start to put together a plan and they can suggest building alterations and home adaptations which might help. These could range from smaller adaptations like adding grab rails in the bathroom, to more permanent alterations like widening doorways or adding an outside ramp.

In most cases your local council should pay for smaller adaptations (usually those that cost less than £1,000). You may also be eligible for financial help for larger adaptations (such as widening doorways) with a grant from Independence at Home or the Disabled Facilities Grant. You can find more information on the government website here.

There may also be building regulations to consider if you’re planning on making a bigger alteration, such as knocking down a wall or adding an extension. If you live in a leasehold property then you’ll need the permission of your landlord and if you live in a listed property you may also need listed building consent.

Building alterations and home adaptations

A home assessment isn’t a necessity, but as stated it can help you with the financial side of alterations and give a better overview of what might help you. Once you’ve worked out what you need, you can start to plan to adapt your home. The type of alterations you choose will depend on your individual requirements, but we will discuss some of the most common types of alterations in more detail below.

Ramps

If you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, then adding ramps can make it much easier for you to move around your home. These ramps can be indoor or outdoor and either permanent or portable. If you have steps leading up to the front door of your property, consider adding a permanent ramp for easy access. Permanent outdoor ramps can be made of either timber or concrete and you can also add a handrail for extra safety.

You may need planning permission when installing a permanent ramp and their suitability will also depend on how much space you have. If a ramp isn’t feasible, you could install a wheelchair platform lift instead.

There are also many portable ramps available on the market which can be used both indoors and outdoors. These can help you enter and leave your home if your front door is only slightly raised, or they can offer you easier access to your back garden. Portable ramps are also more affordable than permanent models and many can be stored away to save space when not in use.

Wider doorways

Many homes simply aren’t built to accommodate wheelchairs or mobility scooters and you may find it difficult to move easily through doorways. Doors and doorframes which aren’t wide enough can cause issues, especially if wheelchair users have to approach them at an angle. The standard door width used by the majority of builders is 762mm, but widening this to just 800mm could be enough. However, the wider the door, the easier the access, so 900-1,000mm is best if you have the space.

The process of widening a doorway in your home is simpler than you might think and in most cases it can be completed within a few hours.

Mobility bathrooms/Wetrooms

Many people with mobility problems find that their bathroom is the area most difficult to navigate. Slip hazards, smaller spaces and stepping in and out of a bath or shower can all be difficult and make you feel unsafe. Luckily, there’s plenty of alterations you can make to adapt a bathroom to your needs.

Grab rails can be added next to the lavatory or bath for added support and help those with limited mobility to lift themselves up. You could also swap a standard bath or shower unit for a walk-in shower or bath; these remove the need to step into a raised shower or navigate stepping in and out of the bathtub. There are also many smaller adaptations you can add if you can’t afford a full replacement, such as bath lifts or a shower seat.

If you have the budget and space, consider adding a wetroom or converting your existing bathroom. Wetrooms are extremely practical for anyone with mobility issues as they provide a large, self contained shower space that’s completely waterproof. Many are big enough to accommodate a wheelchair, allowing you to bathe in comfort and independence.

Stairlifts

Stairs can pose a problem for those with mobility issues, so one option is for people to move to a flat or bungalow. However, this simply isn’t realistic for many people and there’s no reason why you should have to leave your home. Installing a stairlift can make a big difference and allow people to maintain some independence. Stairlifts can be fitted to either straight or curved stairs and many have seats that can be conveniently folded up when not in use.

As mentioned above, you may be eligible for financial aid to help towards the cost of a stairlift, or there are many models which you can purchase second hand.

A Mobility – Building Alterations and Mobility Aids for Your Home in Liverpool

If you’ve been thinking about adapting your Liverpool home to make it safer and more accessible, get in touch with the experts at A Mobility Shop. We understand how important it is to feel safe and comfortable in your own home, which is why we’re proud to offer a range of building alterations to ensure your home is both stylish and practical.

We can discuss your needs and requirements and then work with you to come up with a solution that’s within your budget. Our expert fitters also pride themselves on a quick turnaround, so there’s minimal disruption to your home. We offer a range of services, including disabled bedroom design, garage conversion, ramp installation and doorway widening. We also design and install mobility bathrooms and stairlifts and have a wide range of mobility scooters and wheelchairs to buy or hire.

For more information about any of our mobility products or services, or to find out how we can help you adapt your home to your needs, give us a call today or visit our website.

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