Tick of approval for Visitable Housing

A woman is pushing a stroller in the front door and you can also see a nice wide hallway.The terms “visitable housing” and “visitability” are essentially about people who use mobility aids having the same rights to visit friends and family in their homes. It doesn’t necessarily mean they can live there or stay overnight. The three key features associated with visitability are a step free entrance, wider doorways and a usable toilet on the entry level. Part M of the UK building code reflect these features. 

Visitability differs from full accessibility and universal design. It was devised as a minimal baseline to entice the property industry to get on board with the ideas. Although the concept has been around for twenty years, it has gained little, if any, traction. Visitability is not a concept easy to sell unless the buyer thinks they need it. And few do. 

Perceived value of visitable housing

A research project carried out in Ohio in 2015 looked at: home-buyers’ perceived value and perceptions of visitable features; developer, designer and builder perspectives; real estate agent views; estimated costs; and which house buyers were most likely to buy. The aim of the report was to create a persuasive argument for adopting visitability in new homes in Ohio. However, the researchers acknowledge industry resistance and suggest incentives to encourage uptake, or mandating the features.

The report is structured into three sections based on their surveys of homeowners and home buyers, industry stakeholders, and real estate agents. All groups were asked to assess photos of visitable features in homes. In all instances, participants believed the homes would sell for more and sell more quickly. Industry stakeholders estimated the features would cost less than one per cent of construction costs. This is in line with other research.

The title of the report is, Perceived value of visitable housing in Ohio. It is also available through Academia.edu

Elements of the research are available in their paper, Homeowner and homebuyer impressions of visitable features.  

In Australia minimal access features are now in the National Construction Code in the form of the Livable Housing Design Standard. States and territories are adopting the Standard into their respective building codes at different dates in 2024 and 2025. Queensland adopted the Standard in 2023.

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