Accessibility Upgrades

If you, your loved ones, your clients or employees and other building users need their home or business premises upgrading to make them more accessible then we can help. We can help design and oversee the building work that will ensure continued independence, dignity and enjoyment for many years to come.

Typical situations are:
  • Incorporate level access at external doors, with an external ramp or something similar.
  • Door alterations such as making doors wider and using special ironmongery, handles, hinges etc.
  • Improve access to rooms and facilities, i.e. stairlift, vertical lift and / or a downstairs bathroom.
  • Improve facilities such as bathrooms, shower rooms, toilets, kitchens, bedrooms, etc.
  • Lifting hoists etc.
  • External spaces, patios and approaches.
  • Upgrade heating and hot water systems that are suitable.
  • Adapt heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use.
 
Another similar situation may arise through an insurance claim where someone is unfortunately incapacitated in an accident [vehicle, industrial accident etc.] and their place of residence needs substantial alteration to make the building fully accessible for the occupants but also makes it easier and manageable for their carers.
 
Although disabled access work is usually straightforward it may need Planning Permission and Building Regulations approval. We can help with this and will complete and manage all appropriate applications on your behalf.
Staggered height accessible reception counter to enable wheelchair access Alterations to house to make driveway and doors wheelchair accessible Wheelchair accessible toilet in healthcare with light reflectance value LRV calculations
 
Smart home technology and the Internet of Things are looking likely they will play a major part in the improved accessibility of buildings. Essentially, these are electronic controls that do not require mobility. This could be for:
  • Heating and hot water systems.
  • Door and window operation.
  • Heating, lighting and power controls.
  • Cooking.
  • Washing.
  • Vertical lifts.
  • Audio and visual systems, etc.
We have established partnerships with local specialists who can advise on how best to incorporate the most suitable and affordable technology into your building.
 
​​With a vast experience of homes, healthcare and other public building projects we have the know how to make these types of project a success. Past projects range in value from £500m super hospitals to £300, 000 doctors surgeries to £20, 000 simple upgrades. We utilise the latest healthcare design guides and current best practice to the most up to date solutions are provided. We also have established relationships with contractors who specialise in this sort of work and understand how to complete it respectfully and sensitively.
 
Disabled Facilities Grants
What is not often known is that the government offers Disabled Facilities Grants / financial assistance to pay for this type of work. Your local council will conduct a test to check on eligibility for grant assistance.
 
The council needs to be happy that the work is:
  • Necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person’s needs
  • Reasonable and can be done - depending on the age and condition of the property
The council may also ask you to employ a qualified professional, such as us, to plan and oversee the work.
 
 
VAT Relief on certain building work if you have a disability
Something that is often even less known than the Disabled Facilities Grants is that building work associated with disabled / accessibility upgrades is also currently VAT free. That's right, zero VAT.
 
The work that is eligible for VAT Relief is very specific, it is only applicable to your home and must be:
  • Ramps, doorways and passages.
  • Bathrooms, washrooms and lavatories.
  • Installation or repair and maintenance of lifts.
  • Preparation or restoration work.
 
There are also very specific exclusions about what work doesn't qualify.
 
To demonstrate that you’re entitled to have the work done VAT-free you will need to provide a written declaration stating your eligibility to your builder or materials supplier. This means your builder or materials supplier will not claim for VAT relief themselves for this work. A good template to use for an Eligibility Declaration can be found here.
 
Please bear in mind that this is not a VAT refund scheme. If you have paid the VAT incorrectly there does not appear to be a way to claim it back once it has been paid.
 
 
Please bear in mind that work to an existing building often means a higher than expected cost for both the architectural work and also the building work. This is because the existing building places technical restraints on what you can or can’t do [structure, heights, drainage, access, etc.], this usually takes up more time to work out and install in comparison to a new build project without as many restrictions.

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