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Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance
Guidance produced by PRP Architects in association with the
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.


1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, existing strategy and guidance
Aims of this guidance

2. Strategic provision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Existing provision / typologies
Demand for older peoples housing
Extra care housing
Retirement housing

3. Service provision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Extra care housing - operation policy
Service purpose
Housing management
Staff arrangements / levels
Case study examples
Retirement housing - operation policy

4. Site suitability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Site location
Site specific issues
Site context

5. Planning and older peoples housing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Use classes
Transport and parking provision
Travel plans
Local and neighbourhood plans

6. User groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Designing for wheelchair accessibility
Designing for older people - supporting frailty
Designing for dementia and way-finding
Designing for people with visual impairment
Designing for people with hearing impairment
Staff / care providers

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7. General design principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Unit mix
Tenure mix
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea - dwelling space standards
Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance
Progressive privacy
Building layout
Windows and doors

8. Accommodation: residents dwellings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Private external amenity space
Shower room

9. Accommodation: communal facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Local community interface
General guidance
The main entrance
Mobility scooter / buggy store
Foyer / reception
Communal lounge
Dining area - caf / restaurant
Residents tea kitchen
Hairdressing / therapy / consulting room
Activity / quiet rooms
Informal seating areas
Communal WCs / cloakroom
Residents laundry room
Assisted bathroom
Guest room with en-suite shower room
Communal gardens / landscape design

10. Accommodation: ancillary / back of house . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Reception / managers office
Staff office
Outreach / home care office
Staff laundry
Staff rest
Staff change
Catering kitchen or regeneration kitchen
Refuse and recycling store

11. Schedule of accommodation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

12. Technical and performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Smart home / assistive technology
Sustainable design
Air quality
Daylight and sunlight
Noise pollution
Climate change resilience
Energy performance
Local climate
Social resilience
Hot water / heating
Injury from hot water or heating systems
Underfloor heating
Minimum temperature thresholds
Interior design
Furniture, fixtures and equipment
Lighting design
Fire protection and means of escape

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 5
1. Introduction

Royal Borough of Kensington and

Chelsea, existing strategy and

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Prevention of falls and ill health resulting
is facing challenges arising from an ageing from poor accessibility or unsuitable
population at a time when local authorities housing
need to use their resources more efficiently. Reduced demand on adaptation spend on
Alongside this, service standards are evolving inaccessible and often under-occupied
rendering some buildings and services unfit for accommodation.
future demands.
Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for
The population of older people in Kensington England, November 2011, by the Department
and Chelsea is increasing with a substantial for Communities and Local Government,
rise in those with dementia and those aged highlights that good quality accessible
over 85. However, a significant proportion of housing for older people can enable
older peoples housing in Kensington and independence, promote good health and
Chelsea is not fit for purpose. The quality of prevent costs to the NHS and social care. It
some of the accommodation does not outlines a commitment to encourage the
achieve modern design and care standards or provision of a range of housing types across
the aspirations of older people. all tenures to provide diversity and choice that
will meet long-term needs. The strategy
The Royal Boroughs Modernising Older welcomes the continued work of the
Peoples Housing and Accommodation with independent Housing our Ageing Population
Care Services Strategy 2013 notes - Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) to raise the
profile of good quality specialised housing for
Delivery of good quality building-based older people and to promote innovation in this
services for older people is expected to deliver sector.
a range of benefits. An increase in the number,
quality and accessibility of older peoples The Care Act which became law in April 2015,
housing will enable older people to maintain emphasises the importance of the promotion of
their independence for longer and as such is well-being of care service users and their
expected to achieve: carers. Under the legislation local authorities
must ensure there are a range of providers
Improved independence and quality of life offering a choice of quality care services. The
of older residents Act expects local authorities to integrate care
Increased mobility of older residents, and support functions with those provided by
including releasing family sized under- the NHS and any other health-related services
occupied dwellings such as housing.
Reduction in overall costs of residential care

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 7
Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP), Aims of this guidance
published March 2015, by the Greater London
Authority, sets out how London will manage This guidance provides details on the building
its unprecedented population growth until design and service provision for two main
2036. FALP highlights increases in life types of housing for older people: extra care
expectancy. By 2036, relative to 2011 housing and retirement housing and replaces
statistics, it is anticipated that the number of the design criteria for extra care housing that
people over the age of 64 will increase by 64 was approved by the Royal Borough of
per cent to nearly 580,000 with the number of Kensington and Chelsea in 2011.
over 90s expected to grow by 89,000. The
London Plan indicates annual strategic This document does not cover residential and
targets for additional specialist housing for nursing home design which have different
older people for every London borough requirements to housing.
(Annex 5 of FALP). The plan also notes that
London boroughs may wish to provide further The Royal Borough of Kensington and
specialist housing units to replace existing Chelsea wishes to encourage the
stock currently unfit for use by older people. development of a range of housing options
In addition to specialist housing FALP for residents in the borough. This document
highlights the need for lifetime aims to support the delivery of specialist
neighbourhoods fostering social interaction housing options for older people from
within age friendly, cohesive communities. retirement housing to extra care housing.
This guide outlines design standards and
considerations required to support the needs
and aspirations of older people. The guide
has been developed for architects,
developers and housing providers delivering
homes across housing tenures including
homes for private sale and a range of
affordable housing tenures. By meeting the
standards in the guide, new homes for older
people in Kensington and Chelsea are
expected to achieve excellence in quality and

2. Strategic provision

Existing provision / typologies

Within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea there are various types of older peoples
housing: extra care housing, sheltered housing and designated older peoples housing. There
are also care homes with residential and nursing care for older people. Residents in each
housing / accommodation type may receive varying degrees of care across a continuum of high
care to low / no care as described:

Continuum of care Accommodation type Definition

Low General needs housing Self-contained accommodation

within general needs stock with no
age or care criteria.

Sheltered housing and Self-contained accommodation

housing designated for designated for older people (usually
older people aged over 60 years).

Sheltered housing may have staff on

site that provide concierge-type

Extra care housing Self-contained accommodation

designated for older people in a
setting where care and support can
be provided as required from an
on-site care provider.

Residential care Private or shared en-suite rooms

within a care facility. All residents will
receive domestic care and some
degree of personal care.

Nursing care Private or shared en-suite rooms

High within a care facility. All residents will
receive domestic, personal and
nursing care.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 9
Demand for older peoples Extra care housing is also known as very
housing sheltered housing, assisted living, or simply
as housing with care. Extra care housing is
In order to meet the housing needs of our often replacing residential care as a cost
ageing population, the Royal Borough of effective model of accommodation and care
Kensington and Chelsea will require a range for older people with better outcomes for
of housing options for older people. The independence and well-being. As such, older
majority of older people will wish to remain in people that may previously have entered a
their homes and receive services as their residential care facility may now move into an
needs change. There will, however, be a extra care scheme.
number of residents who either choose to
move (to downsize) from larger Since extra care housing has an on-site
accommodation or seek the safety and housing management and care service, a
security of a building with a staff presence, or minimum number of units are required to
are forced to move due to poor accessibility ensure that the scheme can operate. As a
of their general needs accommodation. guide, a minimum of 50 units is desirable in
Specialist housing for older people will be each scheme to ensure that revenue costs are
necessary for these groups of people. This viable.
guidance provides details on the building and
service requirements for two main types of Extra care housing is currently more of a
housing for older people: extra care housing concept than a classification, with no
and retirement housing. nationally acknowledged set of guidelines.
However, there are best practice principles
which are considered inherent to extra care.
Extra care housing
Extra care housing best practice principles
The Royal Borough of Kensington and include the following:-
Chelsea, Core Strategy defines extra care Independent living - Self-contained
housing as: properties that can be adapted so
residents can remain in their homes as
an alternative to residential care, helping older their needs increase. To provide a home
people to live as independently as possible and for life - as far as is practically possible.
offering self-contained accommodation in a Extra care is primarily housing and it
choice of tenures with access to a wide range should not look or feel in any way
of 24 hour care on site. Schemes may also institutional.
provide communal areas, hairdressing and Sustainable communities - Extra care
laundry services, hobby rooms and a shop. housing should have an appropriate mix
of one and two bedroom dwellings with a
Furthermore, extra care housing has the mix of tenure. Extra care housing should
potential to become a focal point for support people with a range of health
community health services, outreach services requirements, from those who are able
and intermediate / recuperative care. and healthy, to those with greater health
and social care needs (including special

On-site care team - Care staff to provide be designed to accommodate residents
24hr support seven days a week. with dementia throughout the scheme or
Flexible care services - Care based on have a separate wing for residents with
individual need. Key objective is to dementia.
maximise the independence of residents.
Active ageing - Extra care housing Extra care housing in the Royal Borough of
should offer a wide range of communal Kensington and Chelsea should conform to
activities and facilities to promote older the best practice principles, outlined above,
peoples well-being and good health. relevant to the site and location selected.
These facilities should be available to the
wider community. In addition, the Royal Borough of Kensington
Intergenerational / community interface and Chelsea requires submission of an Extra
- Extra care housing should provide a care housing - operation policy. The
focal point / community hub for older operation policy document should stipulate
people and their carers from the the care, support and management
immediate vicinity. Extra care housing arrangements that will be provided for the
should encourage intergenerational proposed scheme. Requirements for the
activities and ensure people from the operation policy document are outlined in
local community can benefit from the Section 3. Service provision.
facilities available.
Building design - To create an enabling
environment. Best practice is outlined in Retirement housing
this guidance.
Technology - Technology plays an The existing specialist housing for older
important role in maintaining the people in Kensington and Chelsea is
independence and security of residents. predominantly sheltered housing. Sheltered
Refer to Section 12. Technical and housing provides accommodation specifically
performance (smart/assistive technology). for older people usually over 55 or 60.
Intermediate (recuperative) care - Extra Historically, such schemes benefited from the
care housing can provide for older services of a warden or scheme manager.
peoples intermediate care needs - Accommodation is provided in self-contained
reducing hospital admissions and dwellings with limited shared facilities, a
enabling prompt hospital discharge. common room, a communal laundry, a guest
Extra care housing would then offer suite and garden.
benefits to local health services, Social
Services as well as older people However, service models for delivering care
themselves. and support to older people have changed in
Outreach / Home Care - Extra care recent years. In the Royal Borough of
housing can provide outreach services Kensington and Chelseas sheltered housing
- offering support / care to older people schemes, wardens have been replaced by
in the local community. enhanced housing management services as
Provision for dementia - Extra care few residents within sheltered housing
housing should incorporate dementia needed care and support services.
friendly design principles. Buildings can

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 11
Care and support is now delivered to older Retirement housing best practice principles
people in the form of floating support and/or include the following:-
social care which can be accessed by older Independent living - Self-contained
people living in any housing type (i.e. not properties that can be adapted so
limited to older peoples housing schemes). residents can remain in their homes as
their needs increase. To provide a home
In 2013, a survey of the existing sheltered for life - as far as is practically possible.
housing in Kensington and Chelsea Retirement housing should not look or
highlighted large proportions of bedsit feel in any way institutional.
accommodation, limited and poorly used Sustainable communities - Retirement
communal facilities and significant shortfalls housing should have an appropriate mix
in accessibility. The sheltered housing stock of one and two bedroom dwellings with a
in the borough does not currently support the mix of tenure.
delivery of care in the home due to the small Active ageing/Intergenerational/
unit sizes and poor accessibility of schemes. community interface - Retirement
The existing older peoples housing stock is housing should provide a communal
not fit to meet the demands of an ageing lounge with a tea kitchen linked to
population and the added challenges created external amenity space and a communal
by welfare reforms. WC. Communal/intergenerational
activities should be encouraged. The
The Royal Borough of Kensington and communal lounge could be made
Chelsea seeks to substantially improve or available to the wider community.
replace existing sheltered housing with Building design - To create an enabling
accessible and desirable homes. The new or environment. Best practice is outlined in
refurbished homes for older people, which are this guidance.
not extra care housing, will be referred to as Technology - Technology plays an
retirement housing within this guidance, to important role in maintaining the
differentiate the improved quality of new or independence and security of residents.
refurbished homes from the existing sheltered Refer to Section 12. Technical and
housing stock. performance (smart/assistive
Provision for dementia - Retirement
housing should incorporate dementia
friendly design principles.

Retirement housing in the Royal Borough of

Kensington and Chelsea should conform to
the best practice principles, outlined above. A
Retirement housing - operation policy may
be required on a scheme by scheme basis.

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3. Service provision

Introduction Provision of intergenerational interaction

and local community inclusion to avoid
Different service provision is required for extra schemes and older people becoming
care housing and retirement housing. marginalised
Promoting socialisation needs during the
All extra care housing schemes submitted for day and evening
planning must include an Extra care housing Outreach/home care services to people
- operation policy, for assessment by the outside the scheme
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Intermediate (recuperative) care services

Retirement care housing schemes submitted Housing management

for planning may require a Retirement care Proof that the applicant or development
housing - operation policy for assessment by partner has:-
the Royal Borough of Kensington and
Chelsea. Experience of delivering housing
management for tenants and
Extra care housing - operation Experience of setting up contracts with
policy both tenants and leaseholders
Experience of managing, planning
The operation policy should stipulate the repairs and maintenance
care, support and management arrangements Knowledge of health and safety / fire
that will be provided for the proposed regulations
scheme. All operation policies will be Knowledge of assistive technology (AT)
assessed on a case-by-case basis, by the services and development
Royal Borough or Kensington and Chelsea, to Experience of working with occupational
establish if the service provision for an extra therapists to install aids and adaptations
care housing designation is met. Ideally to have knowledge of designing
schemes for older people
An Extra care housing - operation policy Ideally to have experience of setting up
should adhere to the following requirements:- schemes with assistive technology (AT)
and existing contracts with AT providers
Service purpose
Provide details of how the scheme will meet Staff arrangements / levels
the strategic needs of the Royal Borough of Provide information on the schemes proposed:-
Kensington and Chelsea. Examples could
include:- Staff arrangements
On site care team and support; delivered
Provision of care services either through Social Services or a care
Providing older people with accessible team to be agreed with the Royal Borough
housing of Kensington and Chelsea Social
Assisting with the reduction of hospital Services and reviewed every five years.
discharge times

Proof that the domiciliary care provision Retirement housing - operation
will meet the requirements of the Care policy
Quality Commission (CQC). Confirmation
that discussions between the applicant Early discussion is required with the Royal
and CQC have taken place. Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to
establish if a Retirement housing - operation
Staff levels policy is required.
Staff ratios provided to support a mixed
need client group.
Dependency mix to be set out in the
operational plans; proposal should
include how care needs will be defined.
A useful guideline is Low 0-2.5 hours
per week, Medium 2.5-15 hours per
week, High 15+ hours per week.
An ideal mixed client group would have
equal ratio of high, medium and low
Approximate provision should be one
care worker for every two residents with
high needs, one care worker for every
three residents with medium needs and
one care worker for every five residents
with low needs. (Night staff approximate
provision should be one suitably qualified
care worker for every 20 residents.)
Should a dementia care or intermediate
(recuperative) care unit be provided,
within an extra care housing scheme, the
staff levels required will be greater than
those outlined above.

Case study examples

Case study examples are required of low,
medium and high service users to provide
evidence of how the operational policy will
work in practice. The case studies should
identify the roles that the core service
provider will play in delivering a service to the

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4. Site suitability

Site location The design should utilise the sites

potential e.g. locate individual dwellings
The location of older peoples housing is towards the quieter areas of the site,
extremely important to avoid residents social make a focal point of an existing tree or
isolation. A good location promotes access to provide views of street life. Orientate
the wider community particularly for residents dwellings and principal communal
who have reduced mobility and cognitive spaces to ensure sunlight for part of the
impairment. day to create a good balance of natural
and artificial light. Use shaded areas of
Sites selected for older peoples housing the site for service spaces.
should be: - Arrange the site layout to achieve usable
external spaces; preferably a sheltered,
Served well by public transport - bus reasonably private south facing garden,
stops, train stations etc. directly accessed from the principal
Accessible - Preferably a relatively flat communal spaces. A warm south facing
neighbouring typography with drop kerbs courtyard garden will encourage residents
and pedestrian road crossings to promote to venture out and use outside spaces.
access by ambulant older people, If possible arrange main circulation
wheelchair users and mobility scooters. routes to overlook the garden, to assist
Close to local facilities - library, health orientation and to encourage a sense of
centres, post box/post office, leisure community.
facilities and shops. Environmental considerations such as
Well lit and considered a safe cross-ventilation, passive solar gain,
neighbourhood. avoiding excessive double-banked
corridors etc. will also contribute towards
Where possible, sites should overlook creating views and good visual access
outdoor spaces to provide a stimulating view throughout.
for residents who may spend a large Establish a logical external circulation
proportion of their day in the scheme or between the site entrance/car parking
indeed their individual dwelling within this. and building entrance. Ensure that
residents can be dropped off and picked
Sites in the south of the borough are up by minibuses, taxis and ambulances
particularly desirable for extra care housing close to the main entrance.
as there is a shortage of this type of older Ensure that refuse collection points are
peoples housing in the locality. within limits set by the Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea. If refuse
vehicles are required to enter the site,
Site specific issues ensure an adequate and safe turning
area is provided.
Sites come in all shapes and sizes. Adjoining
buildings, existing trees, changes of level and
location of mains services are a few of the
factors affecting the size, height and position
of a new scheme. Consider in particular:-

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Site context

The residential density for older peoples

housing will be subject to the Royal Borough
of Kensington and Chelsea planning
guidelines and should be appropriate for its
context. If designing to high densities this
must not compromise the requirement for
good quality external amenity space for
residents. Local public amenity is not a
substitute in the case of residents whose
mobility may be severely restricted. Roof
terraces may contribute to outdoor amenity
provision if well planned and easily accessed
preferably in addition to external amenity
space adjacent to the main communal

Subject to the suitability for the location, there

is no restriction on the number of storeys for
older peoples housing. In developments with
more than three storeys, the number of lifts to
be provided and the emergency evacuation/
fire strategy needs to be agreed with the
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea at
the earliest opportunity.

The scale and visual impact of the building

must be considered, taking into account the
characteristics of the local area. It should sit
comfortably in its location and not identify
itself as housing for older people by its

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5. Planning and older peoples housing

Use classes residents. Often a parking stress survey

will be useful in understanding the availability
For planning purposes the Royal Borough of of on-street parking availability for visitors
Kensington and Chelsea regards extra care and staff.
housing as Use Class C2 (Residential
Institutions) and retirement housing as Use Consideration will need to be given to the
Class C3 (Dwelling Houses). operational needs of the development
including staff in terms of providing
Since extra care housing falls within Use emergency vehicle access, including
Class C2 (Residential Institutions), such ambulances, drop off areas or parking for a
developments are exempt from providing mini-bus, and the refuse and servicing/
affordable housing. Changing the use class delivery strategies.
from C3 to C2 was perceived as essential to
promote the growth and expansion of extra The draft Royal Borough of Kensington and
care housing. It is a decision that has also Chelsea Transport and Streets Supplementary
been taken by a number of other local Planning Document (SPD), November 2013,
authorities. provides guidance on maximum car parking
standards for sheltered (retirement) housing
The Royal Borough of Kensington and and C2 (extra care housing).
Chelsea wishes to encourage housing for
older people and is willing to discuss Car Parking Sheltered Housing
innovative approaches to Use Class.
All scales of development:
0.3 per dwelling
Transport and parking provision

Older peoples housing often presents a Car Parking Hostels, C2, D1, D2
challenge to ensure that the transport and
parking needs of residents, staff and visitors All scales of development:
are properly met. Older peoples housing Essential need only
should reflect the varying needs of residents
throughout their tenure. Essential need is defined as car parking
facilities for those who cannot realistically use
Proposed developments should be supported alternative (public) forms of transport,
by a Transport Statement. This should provide generally those with special mobility needs.
information relating to the location of the
development in the context of access to
surrounding facilities and public transport.
Use should be made of the Public Transport
Accessibility Levels (PTAL) of the site to
determine appropriate parking provision
bearing in mind the mobility needs of

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The Royal Borough of Kensington and Local and neighbourhood plans
Chelsea supports the introduction of car clubs
and, where practicable, this may provide the The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
opportunity to reduce parking on site. Development Plan sets out all the policies
governing planning applications, along with
The draft Transport and Streets SPD provides the vision, objectives, strategy and targets for
the following guidance on cycle parking. future development in the Royal Borough up
to 2028 within the Core Strategy. The
Cycle Parking Sheltered Housing following documents comprise this
/ care homes development plan and are the main
documents used in determining planning
All scales of development: applications in the borough.
1 space per 20 residents and 1 space per
5 staff but sufficient additional space Adopted in December 2010 the Core Strategy
should be set aside to allow the standards sets out the overarching planning policies
for C3 to be met in the case of future used in planning applications, it includes a
conversions. For sheltered vision, objectives, strategy and targets for
accommodation / care home uses this future development in the Royal Borough up
additional space can be used for mobility to 2028.
scooters and general storage
The Unitary Development Plan (UDP) was the
previous Development Plan for the borough.
Facilities for cycle and mobility scooter The Core Strategy replaces most of the
parking should, where possible, be centrally policies in the UDP, but some have been
located within buildings. retained, however these are now part of the
Partial Review of the Core Strategy.
Travel plans
Travel plans are a useful way of promoting The Norland Neighbourhood Plan was made
sustainable travel and increasing awareness on 10 March 2014 and is now part of the
of the travel options available. They should Councils Development Plan.
concentrate on practical measures tailored to
the needs of residents, staff and visitors.

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6. User groups


All older peoples accommodation should be Specify handrails or dado rail shelves to at
enabling in terms of the likely impairments least one side of circulation routes. Handrails
residents may experience with increasing age should be returned to the wall to avoid
and frailty. Recommendations for specific snagging of clothing on their free ends, which
conditions are outlined in this section. could easily lead to a fall for a frail older
person. Dado shelves to be sufficiently wide
Designing for wheelchair accessibility for an older person to lean on should support
In addition to the request by the Royal be required.
Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for ten
per cent of units to be designed to wheelchair Specify appropriate ironmongery, taps etc. for
user standards, all apartments and communal older people with limited dexterity.
areas where facilities may be used by
residents must be wheelchair accessible. Specify level-threshold showers. Locate
These facilities include the communal lounge, showers away from doors and detail a fall in
dining areas and refuse/recycling stores. the floor of the shower tray. Shower head rail
to be a proprietary grab rail to avoid residents
At any one time it is likely that a relatively pulling the shower off the wall in the event of
small proportion of residents will use a slipping.
wheelchair or walking frame. A resident may
arrive in the scheme as a wheelchair user or Specify sockets and switches at an
the onset of mobility difficulties may occur appropriate height.
later. Maximum flexibility is essential.
Internal ramps should be avoided. If a ramp is
For all new housing for older people in essential, as a minimum, comply with Building
Kensington and Chelsea the requirements in Regulations (AD part M).
the Building Regulations (AD part M) should be
complied with for dwellings and communal Designing for dementia and way-finding
areas accessed by residents. People suffering from confusion are less likely
to become frustrated if they are able to clearly
Designing for older people - supporting see and understand their surroundings. This
frailty is often referred to as providing a visually
Free-swing door closers linked to the fire accessible environment; i.e. an environment
alarm should be fitted to the front door of where, for example, there are good visual
dwellings and other doors regularly used by clues, such as views to the outside and views
residents where closers are required. Fire from circulation spaces into communal
compartment doors should be held open on spaces.
magnetic pads or hold open type door
closers linked to the fire alarm. This will avoid Provide glazed screens and doors to
the hazard and frustration associated with communal areas to enable residents to enter
heavy overhead door closers. a room with the confidence of knowing what
is going on inside.

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Design features should be incorporated that Select artwork and wallpaper carefully.
will help with orientation, recognition and Photographic and historical images will mean
familiarity. Landmarks (views out, seating bays, more to residents with dementia as they have
a piece of furniture, pictures etc.) are more a stronger long term memory. Images of some
important than colour in assisting way finding. animals may distress some residents, while
abstract or impressionistic pictures/ papers
A simple floor plan should be provided to will be confusing if residents are partially
guide orientation. Maximise the amount of sighted or losing colour definition.
natural light in the building, particularly where
there is a change in direction or level. Matt finishes are easier on the eye while gloss
surfaces tend to be shiny and reflective which
Smart technology can be of particular benefit to can cause discomfort. Dark or poorly lit areas
residents with dementia. This is considered should be avoided.
further in Section 12, Technical and performance.
All new developments should incorporate
Care must be taken when selecting colours dementia friendly design principles
and materials. Changes in colour and or tone throughout. Further guidance can be found in
in floor finishes or contrasting threshold strips a series of publications by the Dementia
may appear as a step or barrier to a resident Services Development Centre at the
with dementia and deter some residents from University of Stirling.
entering a space or even lead to a fall. Ensure
clear contrasts are used where the walls and Designing for people with visual impairment
floors meet and on steps. Avoid large patterns Reduce the effects of visual impairments by
in carpets which can look dirty or uneven to incorporating colour schemes that use
some residents. contrasting tones to highlight features within
the building and avoiding visual clutter.
Provide views out or a seating bay rather than There should be a light reflectance value
dead-end situations at the end of corridors. contrast of at least 30 points between the
A small window or locked door will cause floor, walls and ceiling so that those with
frustration to some residents. visual impairment can have an increased
awareness of spatial dimensions. There
Ensure domestic features are incorporated to should also be the same amount of contrast
ensure rooms are recognisable e.g. fire between ironmongery, door, door frame, grab
places, coffee tables and book shelves in rails, handrails/dado rails and wall to make it
lounges and traditional dining tables and more visible to those with visual impairment.
chairs in dining rooms. Avoid dark colours or black flooring to lifts as
this can appear as a void.
Mirrors can be distressing to some people
with dementia. Avoid the use of large mirrors Avoid numerous light fittings in a regimented
in lifts and communal areas where there are array, which may cause severe glare as well
likely to be residents with dementia. In as a clinical, institutional appearance.
addition, mirrors must not reflect outside Balance ceiling mounted fittings with the use
views as this increases confusion. of wall mounted fittings and include dimmer
switches and/or multiple switching in order to

vary the mood without compromising on Visitors
optimum light levels when they are required.
The entrance should be clear and welcoming.
Avoid sharp contrast between highly lit and dark
spaces, as the ability of ones eyes to adapt to The building layout should be simple to
different levels of light decreases with age. understand for way finding.

Avoid glossy, shiny surfaces, especially shiny It should be obvious which spaces are public,
floor surfaces, as this confuses those with semi-private or private. Consider balancing
visual impairment. formal and informal spaces for use by
different types of visitor: families and those
Avoid highly patterned floor surfaces and from the wider community.
worktop surfaces as this makes objects set
against them harder to distinguish.
Staff / care providers
Building Sight by the Royal Institute for the
Blind is a useful handbook of building and Staff or visiting care providers require easy
interior design solutions for the needs of access to all areas of the building. Care
visually impaired people. should be provided discreetly e.g. it should
not be necessary to take utility trolleys
Designing for people with hearing through main public spaces.
The importance of adequate sound Ancillary accommodation should be
separation and reduction of reverberation is conveniently located.
especially important in older peoples housing
where some, but not all, residents suffer from Staff require comfortable and functional
hearing impairments. facilities such as a changing area, rest room
and office space. The staff rest room requires
Consider the acoustic separation of noisy adequate levels of daylight and if possible
rooms, such as laundries, lifts, plant rooms linked to a small external amenity space. Staff
and other communal spaces from residents facilities should be treated with as much
living, sitting and sleeping areas. priority as residential areas to ensure
sufficient respite.
Specify finishes for large spaces with higher
ceilings such as lounges and dining rooms
with a high acoustic absorbency, in order to
reduce echoes for the benefit of those with
hearing impairments.

Specify the installation of an induction loop

system to communal rooms and reception

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 27
7. General design principles

Unit mix

In the Royal Borough of Kensington and authority or the private sector) within one
Chelsea the demand for older peoples scheme. There are three different approaches
housing is highest for one bedroom to the design of mixed tenure developments:
properties, with some demand for two
bedroom properties. Therefore, for older Integrated - Mixed tenure options are
peoples housing, an acceptable unit mix is dispersed throughout the development
80 per cent one bedroom units and 20 per Segregated - Physical separation
cent two bedroom units. between different tenures
Hybrid - Elements of both integrated and
The Royal Borough of Kensington and segregated on the same site
Chelsea regards studio accommodation as
unacceptable for this user group unless Mixed tenure extra care housing, with shared
utilised by dementia care or intermediate communal facilities and care, requires careful
(recuperative) care units. Dementia care or consideration of legal/financial issues,
intermediate care units are often designed management and marketing. A useful
with clusters of studio rooms (bedrooms with reference is Mixed Tenure in Extra Care
en-suite facilities) in house groups with Housing, April 2014, by Housing Learning and
shared living / dining areas. Provision of Improvement Network and the Association of
dementia care or intermediate care units is Retirement Community Operators.
encouraged within extra care housing
schemes. However, to future proof the
development all dementia care or Royal Borough of Kensington
intermediate care units, studio and shared and Chelsea - dwelling space
accommodation should be designed and standards
constructed to allow for its conversion into
one or two bedroom dwellings in the future. The Royal Borough of Kensington and
Chelsea dwelling space standards (minimum
and desirable) for older peoples single storey
Tenure mix apartments are outlined in Section 11.
Schedule of Accommodation for Extra Care
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Housing and Retirement Housing. These
Chelsea would like to encourage mixed tenure exceed the Housing Supplementary Planning
within older peoples housing as a reflection of Guidance and Building Regulations (AD part M)
the tenure provision within the local to enable dwellings to better accommodate
population. At present the majority of older the needs of householders requiring care in
peoples specialist housing in Kensington and the home.
Chelsea is for social rent only.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and
Mixed tenure can provide a mix of market Chelsea (and the Housing Supplementary
sale, shared ownership, shared equity and Planning Guidance) require ten per cent of
rented (from housing associations, the local new housing schemes to meet the standards
for wheelchair user dwellings - Building

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 29
Regulations (AD part M) category M4(3). The An audit of how a scheme considers each of
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea the HAPPI ten components for the design of
require the remaining 90 per cent of older housing for older people should be submitted
peoples housing within new housing by the applicant.
schemes to exceed the standards for
accessible and adaptable dwellings - Building
Regulations (AD part M) category M4(2). Progressive privacy

The term progressive privacy has been

Housing Supplementary Planning created to describe the policy of zoning a
Guidance scheme according to the degree of access
allowed to those other than the residents.
The Housing Supplementary Planning
Guidance, published November 2012, by the i. The private zone is the dwelling itself, to
Greater London Authority includes minimum which only the resident and invited guests
housing standards for internal floor areas, have access.
storage areas and private outdoor space as
well as guidance on environmental ii. The semi-private zone comprises those
performance. circulation areas and communal spaces
(assisted bathroom, residents-only lounge,
The London Housing Design Guide, published etc.) that only residents and their invited
2010, by the London Development agency guests may use.
complements the Housing Supplementary
Planning Guidance. The London Housing iii. The semi-public zone comprises any
Design Guide provides minimum standards for circulation areas and communal spaces
public funded schemes (or development on (restaurant, activity space, IT suite, and
London Development Agency land). hairdresser, for example) to which the public
have access at certain times.

HAPPI iv. In some circumstances a fourth category

- a public zone - may exist; for example if the
Reference should be made to Housing our scheme incorporates a drop-in centre which
Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (HAPPI) the general public could access without
by Homes and Communities Agency, part of: restriction.
Housing for older and vulnerable people. The
HAPPI report outlines innovative housing Access to zone (iii) will typically be controlled
examples from across Europe and makes by a door-entry system, allowing staff or
recommendations to central and local residents to permit access.
government, developers and housing
developers. Give careful consideration to the method of
door-entry between zones (iii) and (ii).
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Residents should not be required to come
Chelsea encourages proposals to embrace down in person to allow access to their guests.
HAPPI principles as far as possible.

Building layout If double-banked corridors are used the
corridor length must be no more than
The building should have a logical layout that 30metres between breaks for natural light and
can be easily understood. Communal areas views out. An alternative solution is to
that could be shared with, or visited by, the introduce small atria, to bring natural light
public should link directly to the foyer / from roof level, into the internal corridor
reception area. spaces.

The orientation of individual dwellings is a In all corridors places to stop for a rest or a
fundamental design constraint. As a general neighbourly chat should be incorporated at
rule all living rooms should enjoy a sunny regular intervals. Allow a small informal
aspect for a substantial part of the day. Dual resting and seating area at least every
aspect apartments are preferred and should 30metres.
be sought by innovative design.
Consideration must be given to ventilation
Locate areas such as assisted baths and and avoiding over-heating of corridors,
guest rooms away from the more public areas particularly in double-banked situations,
and closer to the individual dwellings. which can easily become unpleasant,
oppressive spaces. A dynamic 3D thermal
model is required to demonstrate that
Corridors overheating will not be a problem. Refer to
Section 11. Technical and performance -
Circulation spaces in buildings for older overheating.
people should be clear and rational to assist
individuals who are suffering from dementia Consider varying the corridor colour scheme
or memory loss. Breaking down the building on different floors, to aid orientation. Good
into identifiable zones and the provision of tonal contrast (minimum 30 LRV) between
visual clues, signs and views to the outside floor, walls, ceiling, and elements such as
will greatly assist way finding. Careful doorways and handrails are essential but
planning can reduce the length of corridors, avoid strong differences in tone between
thus reducing the travel distances and different floor areas or into the lift so as not to
minimising an institutional atmosphere. confuse partially sighted residents or those
with dementia who may imagine a step or
Corridors themselves should be as short, hole.
varied, light and as interesting as possible.
The economies of double-banked corridors Handrails or dado shelves should be provided
must be balanced against the benefits (light, to one side of the corridor. Consider tactile
views, ability to orientate) offered by single- clues (e.g. studs incorporated into the
banked circulation. handrails/dados to aid way-finding for those
with visual impairment).

Corner protection coloured to match the walls

should be provided in areas of heavy traffic.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 31
For cross corridor fire doors refer to section Windows and doors
12. Technical and performance - fire
protection and means of escape. Window sizes should be maximised to allow
optimal daylight into the building, however
The entrances to flats should be celebrated this must be balanced with the risk of
as the threshold of the residents private overheating and overlooking.
domain by the use of colour and provision for
personalisation. By contrast those doors that Within the bedrooms and lounges of residents
lead into service areas or staff areas should individual dwellings the bottom glazing line of
be played down and painted to blend in with a window should not be higher than 800mm,
the surrounding wall. and preferably not higher than 600mm above
finished floor level. Glazing below 800mm
must provide containment and guarding.
Window handles, controls and trickle vents
Provide one 13 person stretcher lift and one should be located within reach of a resident
eight person lift as a minimum to all older seated in a wheelchair. Where this is not
peoples housing schemes more than one possible remote operation (preferably
storey high. electrical) of windows with controls at a
suitable position for a wheelchair user is
The controls need to be visual and audible, acceptable. Opening restrictors should be
accessible to ambulant and wheelchair users. fitted for safety and security. Curtains and
blinds to be kept clear of all window controls.
Provide hand rails on all sides of the lift car
and a folding seat. All door thresholds should be flush both
internally and externally; i.e. a maximum level
Do not use very dark or black flooring in the change of 13mm but ideally less.
lift as this can appear as a black hole to
partially sighted residents. Glazed panels within doors in circulation
routes should incorporate manifestation at
high and low level to ensure safety for
wheelchair users.

Ironmongery should have a matt finish (with a

LRV contrast of at least 30 points), be easy to
operate and set at a height that will prevent
the user from bending or stretching to reach
it. Avoid operations that require two hands
(handle and key mechanisms).

Solid D-shaped lever handles should be
specified. Locks should be simple to operate.
Where possible fit large thumb turn locks that
are easy to operate with a closed fist. If
possible fit front door locks above the handle
so they can be easily viewed.

For fire doors to dwellings and communal

spaces refer to Section 12. Technical and
performance - fire protection and means of


Only provide signs where absolutely

necessary. Directional signs to flats and
relevant communal facilities are required at
each floor level outside the lift as a minimum.
Areas such as guest rooms and WCs should
be identified but communal lounges do not
need signs as they should be easily
identifiable from the layout and design of the

Symbols and lettering should be clear, visible

(in a relatively large font) and contrast with the
background. Signs with a shiny background
should be avoided. Signs must comply with
Building Regulations (AD part M). The choice of
signs should be domestic and be considered
as a key element of the interior design

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 33
8. Accommodation: residents dwellings

All dwellings must conform to the Royal home / assistive technology.

Borough of Kensington and Chelsea space
standards/unit mix; refer to Section 7. General It should be noted that there is a move away
design principles. from hard-wired assistive technology
solutions. The move is towards GSM (roaming
Avoid single aspect dwellings that face north. SIM) based equipment and services and
Avoid single aspect dwellings facing noise towards Wi-Fi enabled equipment and
exposure categories C or D. Provision of dual services. There is expected to be a
aspect homes is encouraged. transitional period after which hard-wiring is
likely to be phased out in older peoples
All individual dwellings should be single housing developments.
storey units with no internal steps or stairs.

All plug sockets and light switches should Entrance

contrast with the walls.
Recess the front door to provide a semi-
Minimum storage areas are noted in the Technical private, defensible space at the
housing standards nationally described space entrances to the dwelling. A recess
standard, March 2015 by Department for allows an older person time to open a
Communities and Local Government. In addition front door without compromising access
to this locked storage (for medication/money/ along the corridor.
care records) is to be provided. This could be a Providing recessed entrances, with
single cabinet in the kitchen. dwelling numbers, wall lighting and milk
shelves, creates domestic accents along
All dwellings in extra care housing are to be a linear corridor / deck access. In some
fitted with an assistive technology telecare developments recessed entrances are
hub which, as a minimum, is to be hard wired personalised with pictures, plants or
to the dwellings shower rooms emergency residents names.
pull cord. Additional devices can be added to Fit a free-swing door closer to the front
the system (connected by Wi-Fi) to suit the door. A solid front door should with full
requirements of the individual resident. Refer height opaque glazed side light is
to Section 12. Technical and performance: desirable. Provide two spy-holes in the
smart home/assistive technology. front door, one at 1500mm above floor
level and the other at 1100mm to suit
All dwellings in retirement housing are to be wheelchair users. Wide angled spy holes
telecare ready. All dwellings must have a hard or door scope viewers for those with
wired telephone point and adjacent electrical sight impairment should be provided.
spur to allow for the future installation of a A letterbox should ideally be positioned
telecare hub. A hard wired connection from a in the front door. Letterboxes to be a
future emergency pull cord (positioned in the minimum of 750mm above finished floor
shower room) to the future telecare hub level with a letter cage internal to the flat.
installation point is also required. Refer to Ensure the front door opens to a
Section 12. Technical and performance: smart minimum of 90 with the letter cage fitted.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 35
Hall Privacy to ground floor patios should be
improved by a planted trellis or screen,
Ensure that hall doors do not clash and particularly where patios are paired due
door swings facilitate easy access to adjoining dwellings. The patio should
around the home. not be fully enclosed by planting or
If the hallway is internal, provide hedging; the resident(s) should have the
borrowed light if practical. opportunity to access the garden
The hallway must include built-in storage circulation routes where feasible. Security
for large items such a vacuum cleaner, of all patio areas should be considered
ironing board, suitcases and coats. carefully to ensure the resident can make
Identify a space to accommodate a good use of their private external space.
folded wheelchair/walking aids. On upper levels where dwellings adjoin
one another care must be taken to
ensure privacy of the residents private
Lounge external space with careful design of
balconies with separating solid or
The design of the living area is critical, obscured glazed screens if required.
since residents will spend most of their Subject to the location of the scheme,
time here. Special care must be taken to and of the balconies relative to adjoining
ensure the lounge is a generous, well- public spaces, consider means of
proportioned, attractive space. deterring unlawful access by climbing up
Provide level access from the lounge to supports, etc. (i.e. cantilevering the
the dwellings private external amenity balcony or in setting any posts to create
space. a substantial overhang).
Normal height balustrading may be
Private external amenity space considered appropriate for balconies
provided the external lounge door can be
All dwellings require private external locked, with a removable key, to enable
amenity space. This external space may staff if necessary to prevent balcony
be provided by patios, balconies or access by residents with dementia.
winter gardens. Winter gardens For external spaces above ground level
(sheltered external space beyond the accessed by people with dementia refer to
buildings thermal envelope, highly - Designing balconies, roof terraces and roof
glazed, enclosed but not sealed, with gardens for people with dementia published
opening/moveable elements to avoid by the Dementia Services Development
overheating in the summer months) are Centre at the University of Stirling.
particularly appropriate for older people
sheltering the external amenity space
from wind, rain and noise. Kitchen
The Housing Supplementary Planning
Guidance stipulates minimum areas for Provision of a kitchen open to the living
private outdoor spaces and the minimum room is particularly appropriate for older
depth and width of balconies / external peoples housing. An open plan
spaces. arrangement avoids a barrier between

the two spaces improving accessibility hot and cold taps are required within
and sociability. In addition, incorporating designated dementia care units.) Provide
the kitchen into the living area will a thermostatic mixing to limit the
provide a greater sense of space within maximum hot water temperature to 44C.
the dwelling. One floor covering can be If a residents communal laundry is not
used in both areas avoiding a tripping provided within the scheme; dwellings
hazard when carrying food. kitchens must provide space, plumbing
Avoid the use of galley style kitchens. L and electrics for a washing machine.
shaped or U shaped layouts are preferred. Provide a space for a tall fridge freezer,
Within wheelchair user dwellings (10 per rather than an under counter fridge.
cent of housing within older peoples Floor finish should be slip-resistant.
housing developments) kitchens are to When a window is fitted above the
conform to - Building Regulations (AD part worktop; a remote window opening
M) category M4(3). The wheelchair user control should be provided.
kitchens must be large enough to enable a
wheelchair to manoeuvre freely and safely.
As a minimum, allow space for a 1500 x Bedroom
1800mm turning ellipse. Provide a clear
space of 1500mm in front of all fittings. At least one bedroom within a dwelling
Within dwellings designed to exceed the should be capable of accommodating a
standards for accessible and adaptable 1.5m wide double bed with space around
dwellings (90 per cent of housing within it to allow a wheelchair user access to all
older peoples housing developments) parts of the room. It should be possible
- kitchens must as a minimum conform for a wheelchair user to gain access to
to Building Regulations (AD part M) the far side of the bed to open and close
category M4(2). Allow space for a curtains and then to return without
1500mm turning circle or 1400mm x needing to reverse.
1700mm turning ellipse. Provide a clear A direct link to the shower/bathroom
space of 1200mm in front of all fittings. should be allowed for; either by fitting a
These kitchens should be designed to door or providing a room-height knockout
accommodate future adaption for a panel within the partition wall (see shower
wheelchair user. room). This should be allowed for when
Provide carousel shelves within corner designing furniture layouts.
base units to improve accessibility. Use Space for the use of mobile hoists or
of pull down basket wall unit storage space and appropriate layout for the use
should be considered. and installation of ceiling mounted hoists
Provide glazed doors to at least two wall should be provided.
units that will allow those with dementia The path between the furniture must be
to find stored items more easily. at least 800mm for wheelchair users.
Where possible provide some shallow Allow space for a 1500mm turning or
open shelving to supplement the wall 1400mm x 1700mm turning ellipse.
and base cupboards. Consideration should be given to
Mixer taps with lever or cross handles ensuring maximum natural light in
should be provided to the sink. (Separate bedrooms via large windows.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 37
Shower room within designated dementia care units.)
Hot water to shower and wash basin to
Care should be taken with the design of be fitted with thermostatic mixing valves
the en-suite shower room to ensure that that limit the maximum temperature to
the overall look is domestic and 44C.
attractive. The use of well-chosen large Wash hand basin should not have a full
format wall tiles throughout, wall lights pedestal as this can make it difficult to
and shelves will ensure the space is not reach for wheelchair users. The front rim
just practical but also attractive. of the basin should be at a height of
The shower room must comply with 800-850mm and should be fixed in such
Building Regulations (AD part M). a way that it can be leant on safely.
A direct link to the bedroom should be Close coupled / concealed cistern,
allowed for, either by fitting a door or wheelchair accessible WC should be
providing a knockout panel within the fitted with paddle-style flush handle and
partition wall. This should be taken into heavy-duty seat and cover.
consideration when arranging the fittings. All wall areas should be capable of taking
The knockout panel should extend to the the fixings / loads from future grab rails,
ceiling to allow for the fitting of a ceiling shower seats etc.
hoist track. An occupational therapist is to advise on
At least one door into this room should the grab rails and mobility fittings
open outwards. External override door required for each individual resident.
locks should be fitted so access can be Grab rails etc. fitted in standard locations
gained in the event of a user collapsing is not acceptable. Grab rails must be
against the door and requiring fitted as and when they are needed.
assistance. Glass shelves shall not be used unless
A flush floor shower should be provided they are frosted, as they are not as
to allow wheelchair access. The shower visible to those with visual impairment.
curtain should be long enough to touch Floor finish should be slip-resistant for
the floor, in order to prevent water from bare feet. Wall tiling should be matt
spilling out of the shower area. The finish, in colours that contrast in tone
shower curtain should have weighted with fittings and grab rails.
hems. The shower head should be Emergency pull cord to be positioned
mounted on a proprietary vertical grab between the WC and shower. Within
rail (rather than the vertical slide bar extra care housing the emergency pull
which is normally provided as part of the cord to be fitted. Within retirement
shower system) to avoid residents pulling housing emergency pull cord wiring to be
the shower off the wall in the event of linked back to telecare hub position but
slipping. The grab rail should allow cord to be fitted when required by
height adjustment of the shower head resident.
between 900mm and 1800mm above
finished floor level.
Mixer taps with lever or cross handles
should be provided to the basin.
(Separate hot and cold taps are required

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 39
9. Accommodation: communal facilities

Local community interface The hairdressing / therapy / consulting

room could be run by a professional
An essential part of older peoples housing is hairdresser / beauty therapist on a
the links created with the local community. permanent basis and could also involve
These links are stronger for extra care the services of a physiotherapist,
housing, than retirement housing, due to the chiropodist, etc.
communal facilities available to share. In addition, an extra care housing
Retirement housing requires minimal scheme should benefit older people from
communal facilities (main entrance, foyer/ the local community. Provision of an
reception, managers office, communal intermediate (recuperative) care unit
lounge, residents laundry, communal WC and could be considered providing
guest room) compared to those required by rehabilitative care for older people
an extra care housing scheme. reducing their time spent in hospital.
Furthermore, an extra care housing
The community interaction may be scheme could be used as the base for
intergenerational for example involvement outreach / home care facilities.
with a local school or hire of communal
facilities for social clubs or craft / art General guidance
activities. Creating a community hub / focal
point for sharing facilities with the public has The Royal Borough of Kensington and
the two-fold advantage that, firstly, it makes Chelsea requires the applicant to submit
the provision of these facilities within the furniture layouts, for all the communal
scheme more financially viable and, secondly, facilities in older peoples housing to
it ensures a lively and ever-changing mix of demonstrate use of the spaces.
faces and a crucial link between the scheme All communal spaces and areas where
and the outside world. It provides a service to facilities may be used by residents must
the residents while also ensuring a regular be wheelchair accessible.
point of contact between those residents and An induction loop system must be
members of the local population. installed in communal rooms and
reception areas.
Within extra care housing, particular Provide glazed screens that allow views
communal facilities could be commercially into communal rooms such as the
attractive and therefore run independently (in activity/quiet room, hairdressing/therapy
terms of services, access and tenancy room and dining area.

Examples of services which would be suitable

for use by members of the local community
are the following:

The dining area could be operated as a

caf, or lunch club.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 41
The main entrance increased and must be managed through
good design, CCTV and door entry
The main entrance doors should be fully security systems. Such a situation may
glazed and power assisted. Doors should be improved by linking the entrance level
be fitted with a fob opening system and and the reception/communal level by
an entry system both visually and audio means of a double-storey-height space
linked to staff (if on site) and dwellings. with a gallery, so there is direct visual
Ideally, an entrance lobby should be contact between the two levels and clear
created to avoid draughts. If space is at a legibility in where to find the reception.
premium, a single set of entrance doors
may be provided with a heat curtain. Mobility scooter/buggy store
A drop zone, used by ambulances,
minibuses and taxis, must be Ownership of mobility scooters is hard
incorporated at the main entrance. (This to predict and often underestimated, but
area would ideally be covered to enable as a minimum provide for a store to
residents to alight from a vehicle and house one mobility scooter per five
enter without getting wet during bad dwellings with a maximum ten scooter
weather. In practice this is only really store per development. When designing,
practical on larger schemes as large allow space at the side of every parking
porches can result in an institutional space for residents to dismount.
appearance.) Consider allowing additional space in
Entry points to the site should be kept to the scheme for conversion to future
a minimum and, if more than one, should mobility scooter storage since
lead directly to the main entrance door or ownership may exceed expectations.
service areas. The store should open directly to the
The pedestrian path to the main outside or into the main entrance draught
entrance, from the street or parking area, lobby, and also be accessed from inside
should be level or failing that ramped at the scheme. An external door should have
no steeper than one in 20. all the same security provisions as the
In urban settings older peoples housing main entrance door. The doors should be
is occasionally located above retail, fitted with an automatic opening system.
health check or similar accommodation Adequately ventilate the store. Allow for
such that their main reception/ adequate protection to walls and doors.
communal facilities are at least one floor Provide electric charging points for
above street level. The most common mobility scooter batteries.
arrangement in this instance is a
dedicated street-level lobby with lifts and Foyer / reception
stairs giving access to the housing
above. It is usually not practical to locate A reception / managers office close to
a reception desk or office at the entrance the main entrance is desirable to
level and access to the building is increase the sense of security for
therefore unsupervised. The risk of residents and management of visitors.
someone tailgating a resident into the The foyer/reception area should be
building and gaining access to the lifts is welcoming and attractive with space for

residents to sit and enjoy observing the scheme if properly managed, creating an
busiest part of the building. interface between residents and their
Communal lounge If possible the dining area should open
up to an outside terrace, with transition
An open plan communal lounge should via a covered area, to allow dining
encourage social interaction amongst outside in good weather.
residents. It should ideally be located Floor surfaces should be easy to clean.
directly off the main foyer /reception Allow enough space for wheelchair users
area, visible from the main entrance with and those with walking aids.
access to the garden. Allow small groups Dining tables should easily
to gather in the lounge by subdividing accommodate wheelchair users.
with alcoves / niches and provision of a Space should be acoustically designed
focal point, such as a fireplace. so that echo within the room is avoided.
Views and direct access onto a south As a minimum, the dining area must be
facing terrace and garden are a major served by a regeneration kitchen.
benefit. However if there are over 70 dwellings
If layout permits, position the lounge and within the extra care scheme a full
dining room (where included) next to catering kitchen must be provided.
each other and divide with a sliding/ Reduction to the kitchen requirement
folding wall or sets of double doors. This may be possible, following discussion
will give flexibility creating a large space with the Royal Borough of Kensington
for the occasional major event. and Chelsea, if the extra care housing is
A store room off the main lounge should located close to local restaurants and
be provided for the storage of furniture cafs.
or games equipment.
Ensure the lighting design is well Residents tea kitchen
considered, domestic and can offer a
range of alternative switching for mood Provide a tea kitchen adjacent to the
lighting. Avoid multiple use of the same communal lounge and dining area (where
fitting. included), for use by residents and for
refreshments for small functions.
Dining area - caf / restaurant
(extra care housing only) Hairdressing / therapy / consulting
room (extra care housing only)
The dining area can be designed as a
restaurant or a caf. Consider if the hairdressing / therapy /
Subject to the location of the individual consulting room, like the dining area,
scheme in relation to local amenities/ could serve the wider community on a
dwelling numbers, applicant to consider commercial basis.
whether the caf / restaurant could serve As far as possible create a spa
the wider community on a commercial ambience with commercial-style fittings
basis. A facility open to the public can be and attractive, comfortable seating.
a welcome feature of any housing Ensure there is space for customers

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 43
to sit and wait as this is a valuable circulation route.
opportunity for social interaction. The functions of this room will be
Ensure good ventilation is available to dependent on requirements/potential of
remove the smells of perming lotions and each individual scheme. The room might
other treatments. just act as a second lounge area serving
Hairdressing - Provide at least one height as a quiet reading room away from noisy
adjustable hairdressing basin to allow activities in the main communal lounge.
hair to be washed by leaning both Or it could be a garden room/
forwards or backwards into the basin. conservatory allowing residents to
Provide hairdressing positions with appreciate the external landscape.
counter, mirror, hairdressing chair,
lighting and salon accessories.
Therapy - Space is required for a therapy Informal seating areas
/ beauty couch with adequate built in
storage for towels and equipment for Informal seating spaces offer the
physiotherapy, beauty, aromatherapy etc. opportunity to watch the world outside,
Consulting - Use of therapy couch is chat to friends, to just be available for a
required. Storage space required for social encounter if the opportunity arises
consulting paperwork and equipment. or as a visual interest to bring
Sockets and telephone point required to domesticity to corridors.
link a computer and a printer to the Provide these small spaces, which need
internet. Wash hand basin, with lever only be large enough for two or three
taps required for hand washing. chairs, beside the main entrance and
Ensure good views from the room to the along corridors.
street or garden space. Locate within the For maximum distance between seating
active heart of the communal facilities. areas in corridors refer to Section 7.
Consider carefully the design of the General design principles - corridors.
hairdressing / therapy / consulting room
since privacy may be required for some
activities. Possibly use blinds or curtains Communal WCs / cloakroom
to provide privacy.
Floor finish should be slip-resistant. These are for use by residents whilst in
the communal rooms or waiting for
transport, and by visitors and members
Activity / quiet rooms (extra care of the public coming into the scheme to
housing only) use facilities.
Retirement housing - a minimum of one
As a minimum, at least one secondary wheelchair accessible WC is to be
communal space should be provided as provided within easy reach of the
an alternative to the main communal communal lounge.
lounge. Extra care housing - a minimum of two
The activity/quiet room should be easily WCs (one wheelchair accessible WC and
accessible and not located at the ends of one assisted wheelchair accessible WC)
corridors or isolated from the main should be provided within easy reach of

the communal lounge, dining room, main coved skirting. A floor gulley should be
entrance, laundry etc. If any communal provided in case of a major leak.
facilities are remote from the others,
provide an additional wheelchair Assisted bathroom
accessible WC adjacent. (If two WC
cubicles are provided ensure one WC Consideration should be given to the
has right hand side transfer and the other need for an assisted bathroom on a
WC has left hand side transfer.) scheme by scheme basis.
Provide WC, basin and support rails and Bathrooms in housing schemes will
accessories. typically be used to allow carers to give
Dcor and fittings should try to lessen assistance to a resident who is unable to
the sometimes clinical appearance of bath or shower safely alone and for
these spaces e.g. use framed mirrors, whom assisted showering in his/her own
shelves and conceal all pipework. flat is too difficult or demanding.
The use of standard DOC-M packs from However residents may also use
sanitary ware providers is not bathrooms independently as a change
encouraged. A more user-friendly and from showering or if showering is
domestic style can be achieved by using unsuitable for medical reasons.
standard fittings, selected with older Therefore, assisted bathrooms should be
peoples needs in mind. This will need to equipped with baths to allow for both
be done whilst ensuring that Building assisted and independent use by
Regulations (AD part M) is met. residents.
An assisted bathroom should feel like a
Residents laundry Relaxation suite. By associating bathing
with, for example, a hydro-massage
A residents laundry is required if a space facility or therapy, the sense of indignity
for a washing machine is not provided that some residents clearly experience at
within each dwelling. being taken for an assisted bath may be
The laundry must accommodate alleviated and an altogether more
washing, drying and ironing equipment. pleasurable ambience guaranteed.
As a minimum, two commercial washing Care should be taken to avoid an
machines and two commercial tumble institutional or clinical atmosphere by the
dryers to be provided. All machines choice of high quality tiling, decor, colour,
should be raised on plinths to facilitate fittings and finishes. An assisted
easy access without stooping. wheelchair accessible WC and washbasin
A small seating area for residents should should ideally be situated in an adjoining
be provided. room rather than within the bathroom.
Contact with the garden and access to Where possible locate the bathroom on
an outside drying space is desirable. an external wall so that a window can be
Visually screen any outside drying space provided. This will help with ventilation
from the garden areas. and bring in natural light. The window
Provide worktop space with a double- can also be dressed with curtains to
bowl sink. reduce the clinical atmosphere that these
Floor finish should be slip-resistant with spaces often suffer from.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 45
Consider fully tiling the room but balance be an extension of internal communal
this with soft furnishings to avoid spaces. Ideally the gardens should be
creating echoes that make hearing more glimpsed from the main entrance,
difficult. leading the eye of the resident or visitor
Walls should be capable of taking fixings through the communal facilities, aiding
and loads from grab rails and other orientation and creating a light,
fittings to assist frail residents. This transparent building.
means lining stud walls with ply for It is important that residents perceive the
reinforcement. garden areas as secure and safe from
Ensure the height of the room is trespass. Areas at the front of a scheme
adequate to allow for hoisting. may be open to the street but the areas
Shelving for toiletries and towels to be intended for residents to walk, sit or
provided. All plumbing and pipework garden should be clearly secured by
should be concealed. The floor finish appropriate fences or railings.
must be slip-resistant. All schemes, however small, should
include at least one sunny terrace area
Guest room with en-suite shower adjacent to the building to allow
room residents to sit outdoors on warm days
for events, BBQs, etc. The paving must
A guest room should be provided in be laid level, subject to even drainage
every extra care housing scheme and is falls, and be accessed from the building
desirable in a retirement housing via level thresholds. The terrace should
development. be large enough to host communal
Guest rooms are popular in extra care events but not so large and regular as to
housing schemes and well used by be dull and uninviting.
friends and relatives. The provision of a shaded seating area
The accommodation should be within the south-facing terrace must be
wheelchair accessible, with twin beds considered. A well located tree can be
and en-suite shower, WC and basin. effective, though its shading impact
In addition to visitors, the guest room cannot be easily controlled. A pergola or
could be used as a staff overnight room, trellis, if planted with deciduous climbers,
as a carers respite room or if linked to can offer summer shade and retractable
staff by telecare as an intermediate blinds or umbrellas can be used to
(recuperative) care room. provide immediate localised shading.
However small the garden it is desirable
Communal gardens / landscape to establish opportunities for residents to
design take a stroll. The layout of such walking
routes may be formal or informal, or (if
Buildings should create and define the size of the garden allows) a mix of
recognisable, usable spaces ideally both. The route should take full
sheltered and sunny, with the best advantage of whatever features, views
possible outlook. and points of interest are available in the
The wheelchair accessible garden should garden with adequate seats for resting.
The residents journey, however short,

should be varied, stimulating and in which the garden can be productive
circulatory. Dead-ends should be on a small scale.
avoided unless they terminate in a Consider incorporating raised planters as
feature or event. The paths should be a means of bringing plants closer to
relatively level - certainly no steeper than residents and enabling them to
one in 20 at any point - and at least 1.5m participate in gardening from a
wide. The ground adjacent to the path wheelchair or a standing position.
should be level with it in order to avoid a In addition to the typical bollard lighting of
hazard and all edgings laid flush. The external areas for the purpose of safety
surface should be even and slip- and amenity, it may be appropriate to give
resistant. Loose gravel, logging or early consideration to lighting effects to
cobbles, for example, are not suitable. enhance the external space during the
Gardens should surprise and delight hours of darkness, particularly in schemes
through sound, smell and touch as well where a significant number of dwellings
as the visual senses. Moving water, for and communal spaces overlook a garden
example, can create a refreshing, area and where the pleasure of the garden
soothing sound on a hot day. A piece of can be extended into the evening.
sculpture or a feature such as a bespoke Provide external taps for garden watering
bench may provide a tactile experience purposes. However consider the use of
that makes a particular spot in the water butts and specifying drought-
garden memorable and familiar. resistant plant material in order to avoid
Aromatic planting that incorporates the need for watering by hose or
colour and movement will stimulate the sprinkler whenever possible.
senses, and can be particularly Provide a garden store for mowers and
significant for people with visual other equipment, either within the building
impairment. envelope or freestanding in the garden.
Almost all residents will welcome the Roof gardens may be an appropriate
presence of birds in the garden, and supplement to ground level gardens in
particular areas may be identified for some schemes, particularly where sunny
feeders or nest boxes. Similarly planting outdoor space at ground level is at a
and habitat that encourages butterflies premium. They should be accessible by
and other insects will enhance lift and ideally associated with other
biodiversity and create interest for communal facilities (e.g. an activity room,
residents, many of whom may spend secondary lounge or conservatory). The
considerable time sitting and watching extent of planting will depend on the
the world go by. construction and the soil depth available.
The likelihood of residents becoming Non-climbable guarding to at least 1.8m
actively involved in productive gardening height, preferably glass, will be required.
will vary from scheme to scheme. If Risk management in the event of
space allows consider the inclusion of a residents with dementia attempting to
small kitchen garden area with climb over balustrading is considered
vegetable beds, a greenhouse and/or more difficult in a roof garden situation
potting shed for residents use. An herb than in the case of private balconies
garden or a few fruit trees are other ways (which can be shut off when necessary).

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 47
When selecting trees and plants
remember that year-round colour and
interest are key to a successful garden,
particularly where it is the daily outlook
for residents who tend to be sedentary.
Spring bulbs, autumn leaf colour and
winter blossoms, for example, should be
carefully considered to establish variety
and delight throughout the year.
Specimen plants or small specimen
groups, ideally installed as reasonably
mature specimens, create memorable
highlights throughout the garden, in
contrast to the background or structural
planting of hedges and ground cover.
Plants with scent and those that
encourage bird and insect life into the
garden are particularly valuable. Specify
easily recognisable and colourful flowing
plants. Do not specify plants with any
poisonous components and any thorny
or spiky plants, the risks for potentially
confused or physically unsteady
residents is greater than for the
population at large and any plants that
could be a hazard should be avoided.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 49
10.Accommodation: ancillary / back of house

Consideration should be given to the Equality offices. Allow space for clothes/valuables
Act 2010 as to whether the staff facilities need lockers. Toilet and tea-making facilities
to be wheelchair accessible. This is generally etc. will be shared with other staff in the
not required. building.

Reception / managers office Staff laundry (extra care housing

Consideration should be given, on a
scheme by scheme basis, as whether a Laundry to accommodate washing,
dedicated reception is required. drying and ironing equipment.
Managers office to have views of the main As a minimum, provide two commercial
entrance area. The office requires space washing machines, two commercial
for one work station, chair, plus two tumble dryers and one commercial
visitors chairs and document storage. washing machine with a sluice cycle. All
machines should be raised on plinths to
Staff office (extra care housing facilitate easy access without stooping.
only) Contact with the garden and access to
an outside drying space is desirable.
This space should be suitable for general Visually screen any outside drying space
administration, interviews and handover from the garden areas.
meetings. Privacy is important due to the Storage for low-grade medical waste
confidential nature of the work. may be required.
Adequate provision should be made for Provide worktop space, a double-bowl
two workstations, a table for meetings, sink and shelving for laundry baskets etc.
the storage of records and a dedicated Floor finish should be slip-resistant with
space for photocopying. coved skirting. A floor gulley should be
Allow space for monitoring (telecare) and provided in case of a major leak.
fire alarm equipment. Walls to be covered with a smooth,
joint-less, hygienic finish.
Outreach / home care office (extra Provide a separate adjoining sluice room.
care housing only) Sluice room could include a macerator /
waste disposing unit, a flusher/
Extra care housing schemes offer an disinfector unit, stainless steel base units
ideal opportunity to provide an outreach with sink, stainless steel wall units /
facility to older people living in the local shelves and wash hand basin with soap
community, linked to the extra care dispenser. Taps to sink and wash hand
housing and to its care team. The basin to be lever handle and WRAS
outreach workers will typically offer approved. Floor and walls as laundry.
advice, support and meet the care needs Specification of a proprietary sluice room
of people living in their own homes. is recommended.
Consider the provision of a dedicated
outreach office on a scheme by scheme
basis. The outreach office should be
conveniently close to the other staff

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 51
Potential for extra care housings laundry Facilities for catering staff should be
facility to be extended to offer a serviced separate from care staff facilities. These
laundry provision to the wider community should include WC and basin, lockers
(used for example by older people in the and changing space.
neighbourhood who require a laundry Plan, at an early stage, for adequate
service due to incontinence). ventilation to exhaust at roof level, with
extraction over the main cooking area.
Access required for deliveries and to
Staff rest (extra care housing only) refuse/recycling store.
Floor to be slip resistant with coved
Locate the staff rest room away from skirting.
main circulation routes to ensure that The floor should be laid to a gentle slope
staff can relax and enjoy privacy. Rest towards a gulley, for ease of cleaning.
room requires adequate levels of daylight Windows to be fitted with fly screens.
preferably linked to an outside space.
Provide a tea-making facility and an area Refuse and recycling store
with tables and chairs for relaxation.
Consider providing a staff smoking area, Refer to Building Regulations (AD part H)
e.g. a covered external terrace. and consult at an early stage with the
Royal Borough of Kensington and
Staff change (extra care housing Chelsea to determine any special
only) requirements, method of collection,
extent of recycling, etc.
Provide unisex staff WCs and, depending The main refuse store should be
on the size of the scheme, provide space accessed via a lobby from inside the
for lockers, staff changing and a shower. building with space for wheelchair
The WC and shower must not be turning. The store must be adequate for
accessed from the staff room itself. non-recyclable and recyclable waste
containers and space to circulate. It
Catering kitchen or regeneration should be accessed from the exterior by
kitchen (extra care housing only) robust, lockable double doors. Provide
adequate ventilation and a wash-down
Provision of a catering or regeneration facility with floor gully (with non-
kitchen will be dependent on the service evaporating trap). Provide a lockable
provision required. Catering kitchens cupboard for clinical waste.
provide freshly cooked meals. Retirement housing - Building Regulations
Regeneration kitchens reheat meals (AD part H) requires that residents should
prepared off site. not have to carry refuse more than 30m
to a waste container (excluding vertical
All kitchens travel distance). Any intermediate
Ensure that an office or space for holding stores (prior to staff transfer to
catering manager is provided, with main refuse store) should be lobbied and
telephone and a computer point. ventilated. Ideally holding stores should
be sited close to a lift.

For extra care housing a refuse strategy
is to be provided. The Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea requires extra
care housing staff to make regular
collections from individual dwellings as
part of the residents care package. This
allows holding stores to be omitted.
The main kitchen may require its own
dedicated refuse store, either as a
holding point or as a separate collection
point. Consider composting some
kitchen waste on site and disposing of
food waste separately.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 53
11.Schedule of accommodation

The following schedule of accommodation the Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance.

lists the facilities that make up extra care
housing and retirement housing. The schedule is to be read in conjunction with
the guidance given, in this document, in
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea particular sections 8, 9 and 10.
minimum space standards for individual older
peoples dwellings are noted below. These The schedule for communal and ancillary facilities
space standards do not include the external within this section is for fifty to sixty unit schemes.
private amenity space required by the Housing The schedule is for guidance only because it is
Supplementary Planning Guidance. (External likely that accommodation will vary dependent on
amenity space can be provided by patios, the size and location of individual developments.
balconies or winter gardens.)
If the client is the Royal Borough of
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Kensington and Chelsea, reference must
also requires that ten per cent of all housing must be made to the Royal Boroughs general
be wheelchair user dwellings, in accordance with employers requirements document suite.

Accommodation Extra care housing Retirement housing Notes

1 Bedroom Dwellings - 80% of Older Peoples Housing to be 1 Bedroom Dwellings.

1 Bed 2 Person Minimum 55m Minimum 55m 90% to exceed
Dwellings for Building
Older People Regulations (AD
part M) category
1 Bed 2 Person Minimum 60m * Minimum 60m * 10% to meet
Wheelchair User Building
Dwellings Desirable 65m ** Desirable 65m ** Regulations (AD
part M) category
2 Bedroom Dwellings - 20% of Older Peoples Housing to be 2 Bedroom Dwellings.
90% to exceed
2 Bed 3 Person Minimum 68m Minimum 68m
Dwellings for
Regulations (AD
Older People
part M) category

2Bed 3 Person Minimum 74m * Minimum 74m * 10% to meet

Wheelchair User Building
Dwellings Desirable 75m ** Desirable 75m ** Regulations (AD
part M) category
* Required by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to meet the Building Regulations (AD part M).
** Based on The Greenwich Wheelchair Site Brief and The South East London Housing Partnership Wheelchair
homes design guidelines
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 55
Communal facilities

Extra care Retirement

Accommodation Notes
housing housing

Communal Facilities Seating area required by

main entrance.

Mobility Scooter / 1 mobility scooter 1 mobility scooter The bicycle store is often
Buggy Store per 5 dwellings. per 5 dwellings. included within this
(Maximum of 10 Maximum of 10 space.
scooters) scooters)

Communal Lounge 1.5m per 1.5m per To connect directly with

dwelling dwelling the communal gardens.
Maximum 110m Maximum 110m
(plus store 6 m) (plus store 6 m)

Dining Area 1.5m per N/A Served by regeneration

Caf/Restaurant dwelling or catering kitchen.
Maximum 110m

Residents Tea Kitchen 8m 8m

Hairdressing / Minimum 18m N/A

Therapy / Consulting

Activity / Quiet 12m minimum N/A


Informal Seating 3m 3m Number of seating areas

Areas is dependent on size and
layout of the

Communal WCs 4m (2 minimum) 4m (1 minimum) Additional WCs are

required if dining area
open to the public.

Residents Laundry 25m 25m Required if space not

Room provided for a washing
machine in each dwelling.

Assisted Bathroom 15m 15m

Guest Room with 20m Desirable

En-suite Shower

Ancillary/ back of house

Extra care Retirement

Accommodation Notes
housing housing

Reception / 12 - 15m 12 -15m

Managers Office

Staff Office 18m 18m Monitoring (telecare) and

fire alarm equipment.

Outreach / Home 6m per member N/A Required if outreach

Care Office of staff services are provided.

Staff Rest 12m N/A

Staff Change 20m 4m Staff WC required for

retirement housing offices

Staff Laundry 25m N/A

Catering Kitchen / 70+ dwellings N/A Extra care minimum:

Regeneration full catering regeneration kitchen
Kitchen kitchen required.

Main Refuse and Refuse strategy to be

Recycling Store agreed with Royal Borough
of Kensington and Chelsea.
Holding Refuse Stores May be required 10m

Cleaners Storage 1m per 1m per One for each floor or

10 dwellings 10 dwellings section.
Maximum 8m Maximum 8m

General Storage 3m per 10 3m per 10

dwellings dwellings
Maximum 15m Maximum 15m

Garden Store 5 - 10m 5 - 10m

Lifts All dwellings to All dwellings to A minimum of 2 lifts: 1x13

be accessed by be accessed by person stretcher lift and
a minimum of a minimum of 1x8 person lift.
2 lifts 2 lifts

Plant Room / Service Size based on environment

Risers / Electrical strategy, water storage and
Intake / Meter room possible individual metering.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 57
12.Technical and performance

Smart home / assistive technology Assistive technology can be further

subdivided into memory devices (clocks,
Smart home technology is defined as:- calendars, medication aids etc.), telecare with
safety devices (environmental, motion and
A dwelling incorporating a communications tracking sensors) or telehealth with health
network that connects the key electrical monitoring devices.
appliances and services, and allows them to be
remotely controlled, monitored or accessed. Telecare provides safety devices within the
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) home environment. Telecare safety sensors
continuously, automatically and remotely
Devices may be controlled automatically monitor residents over time to manage the
including door and window openers, heating risks associated with living alone. Sensors
and environmental controls. Smart homes around the home are connected to the
include the use of assistive technology. dwellings telecare hub. In general needs and
retirement housing the dwellings telecare hub
Assistive technology is defined as:- is linked via a telephone line to a nominated
person or call centre. In extra care housing
Any product or service that maintains or the telecare hub is connected to the onsite
improves the ability of individuals with care staff.
disabilities or impairments to communicate,
learn and live independent, fulfilling and Telecare, safety devices include the
productive lives. following:-
British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) Environmental sensors can detect
flooding/gas; the system will then shut
Assistive technology is particularly useful to off the water/gas and raise an alarm.
older people and ranges from the very simple Sensors can also detect if temperatures
(calendar clocks or touch lamps) to high-tech are too hot or too cold or rise very
solutions such as GPS safety-tracking to help quickly; the system will then send a
find someone who has gone missing. warning signal.
Motion sensors can monitor the lifestyle
Assistive technology sensors/devices can be pattern of an occupant, such as bed
described as active or passive. An active occupancy detectors, fall detectors, door
device requires the direct action of the user to detectors and movement detectors. If
make it work, for example screen readers. the sensors detect something out of the
A passive device is one that operates without ordinary the information is relayed to a
an action by the user for example a fall carer or call centre.
detector. The majority of assistive Tracking sensors are often used by
technologies are passive. people who have dementia. Tracking
devices use satellite technology to help
trace someone who has gone missing.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 59
In addition to telecare, the introduction of Clear definition of public, semi-private
telehealth may be considered suitable for and private space for dwellings.
some residents. Telehealth can assist in the Progressive privacy allowing public entry
management of long-term health conditions, to communal areas with secure fob
including chronic obstructive pulmonary access to the residential accommodation
disease, chronic heart failure, diabetes and beyond. (See Section 7. General design
epilepsy. Telehealth can measure blood principles.)
pressure, blood glucose levels or weight. Secure landscaped garden areas and
Patients undertake the tests themselves in courtyards which cannot be accessed
the home environment with the results from the public realm.
automatically transmitted to a health Where buildings are set back from the
professional for evaluation and appropriate site boundary, the area is defined as
action. private and enclosed by a wall, railings,
fencing or planting.
Telecare and telehealth have obvious benefits External lighting, providing a well-lit safe
for older peoples housing providing environment at night, to all communal
reassurance and peace of mind to the spaces (including car parking areas and
residents and their relatives. They promote main entrance).
independent living and allow people to remain The main refuse store accessed directly
living in their own homes for longer. from the public road.

Security Sustainable design

The design and management of older The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
peoples housing and its relationship with the has established a Strategic Objective for
public realm contributes significantly to the respecting environmental limits, with the aim
safety and security of a development and can to: contribute to the mitigation of, and
assist crime prevention and minimise the fear adaptation to, climate change; significantly
of crime. reduce carbon dioxide emissions; maintain low
and further reduce car use; carefully manage
The security principles for older peoples flood risk and waste; protect and attract
housing incorporate the following: biodiversity; improve air quality; and reduce and
Main entrance to be clearly visible from control noise within the borough.
the public realm.
Access control, visual and audio, to all Whilst housing in general is at risk from a
entrances linked to staff and residents series of environmental factors as highlighted
dwellings. by the Royal Borough of Kensington and
Location of the reception/managers Chelseas Core Strategy policies, research and
office adjacent to main entrance to work elsewhere highlights that older people
enable passive surveillance of arrivals are particularly vulnerable to negative health
and departures. effects. Older people living in cold, damp,
poorly designed homes with low air quality
are more at risk from arthritis and rheumatism

symptoms, social isolation, mental health rural areas, particularly at night. Differences of as
problems, asthma and allergic rhinitis, allergies much as 9C have been recorded in London and
such as eczema and conjunctivitis, amongst 8C in Manchester compared with local rural
others. The main areas of concern are: areas. GLA 2006

Climate change (both in terms of Windows to housing in urban locations may

environmental and social resilience), not be opened, for ventilation, due to
especially due to the effect of high concerns about noise, pollution and security.
temperatures and overheating in Care should be taken at the design stage to
buildings. avoid this. However, if it is inappropriate to
Inappropriate air quality, mainly due to open dwelling windows an alternative solution
detrimental indoor air quality resulting for cooling/ventilation must be provided to
from emissions from materials, ensure excess heat can be expelled from the
inappropriate ventilation and the intake internal space.
of poor quality external air.
Excessive noise pollution, resulting from There is no legislation relating to maximum
nearby busy roads, building services temperatures but the CIBSE Environmental
plants and inappropriate location of Design Guide A, 2015, sets out recommended
sensitive areas within the building. comfort criteria for dwellings in the summer (23
Insufficient access to daylight and -25C for living rooms and bedrooms). Housing
sunlight, resulting from over shading Health and Safety Rating System, 2006, by the
from nearby buildings and overall Department for Communities and Local
building orientation and design. Government suggests that the negative impact
of overheating. Effects on health as
Older peoples housing should be designed temperatures rise include increase in thermal
and built with these considerations and stress, increase in cardio vascular strain and
appropriate measures should be implemented trauma, and increase in strokes. Mortality
as detailed below. increases in temperatures over 25 C.

Overheating Overheating is a particular concern for older

Overheating in housing during the summer residents. Older people are at an increased
months is the combined result of many risk of heat related illness, especially if their
factors including: climate change, air-tight health is already deteriorating. They are
construction; increased glazing areas and usually less able to adapt to higher
inadequate ventilation. temperatures. In addition older people will
often be at home for most of the day and
City centre locations, such as Kensington and therefore exposed to peak day temperatures
Chelsea, are more prone to higher summer within their housing development.
temperatures because of the observed Urban
Heat Island effect.

Many cities in the UK experience the Urban Heat

Island effect where temperatures in the city-
centre can be much higher than in surrounding

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 61
To avoid overheating, buildings should be Opening windows when it is hotter outside
tested by an appropriate consultant at design than inside can result in making the overheating
stage, to ensure the thermal performance is problem worse. The advice is to keep windows
acceptable. The consultant should use in direct sunlight shut during the day if
dynamic thermal 3D modelling to determine temperatures are high, but open them at night if
suitable design approaches in order to safe to do so. Public Health England 2014
effectively reduce the risks of overheating,
energy consumption and carbon dioxide If mechanical heat recovery units are
emissions whilst continuing to ensure specified for dwellings correct use of the
adequate levels of day lighting and summer bypass mode is essential along with
ventilation. Alterations to the model such as guidance on how to operate these systems.
introducing more thermal mass, dual aspect In addition, if air conditioning is provided, the
dwellings, a natural ventilation system, system can be programmed to automatically
shading, night time cooling, efficient light shut down when windows are opened.
fittings /equipment, amending window sizes,
glazing specification and orientation can be Overheating, in older peoples housing needs
assessed and the design modified if to be assessed and addressed correctly to
appropriate. ensure Kensington and Chelsea residents are
protected from extreme heat in the
The London Housing Design Guide section on summertime both today and well into the
overheating notes that development future as the climate is expected to change.
proposals should demonstrate how the design
of dwellings will avoid overheating during Air quality
summer months without reliance on energy Older people tend to spend long periods of
intensive mechanical cooling systems. time at home, which when combined with frail
health may lead to higher risks from poor air
The Royal Borough of Kensington and quality.
Chelsea encourages a fabric first approach to
overheating. However, it should be noted that Air quality should be a major consideration
if the outside air temperature remains high at when selecting a location and designing a
night, in a prolonged heat wave, a natural building for older people. Kensington and
ventilation system may be insufficient to Chelsea falls within an Air Quality
reduce temperatures to an acceptable level Management Area, therefore careful
for older people. Providing air conditioning to consideration should be given to the external
at least one of the communal areas should be sources of air pollutants and how these are
implemented to provide a respite area for frail likely to affect indoor air quality.
older people during a heat wave.
Building design, including the location of
Correct use of the building by the residents is windows, ventilation intakes and exhausts in
also important:- relation to external sources of air pollution
should be carefully planned and closely aligned
with the ventilation, lighting and overheating
strategies proposed for the building.

Materials used in the finishes of the adequately sized and orientated.
development (including for example paints,
ceiling tiles, wall coverings, flooring, adhesives The London Plan and BREs Site Layout
and glues) should be selected so that older Planning for Daylight and Sunlight are best
people are not exposed to substances such as practice guides on the subject, which should
formaldehyde or other volatile organic be consulted and followed.
compounds. Products should be selected in
accordance to the maximum allowable emission Noise pollution
factors as published in the Paints European As people grow older, hearing is the first
Directive and in several British Standards. sense to be impaired. The ability to
understand a normal conversation can be
Consideration should also be given to avoiding further reduced by high levels of background
space and water heating technologies that may noise. Noise is therefore an important
have an adverse effect on the local external air environmental issue for older people.
quality. For example, when installing a
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant or a Sites for older peoples housing should be
biomass based combustion solution an air selected, where possible, away from major
dispersion analysis should be considered. roads and other sources of high external noise.
Solutions should be disregarded, unless there is
clear evidence that it will not have a detrimental Internally, it is important to identify noise
effect on air quality. sensitive areas, like bedrooms, and carefully
plan their location. For example, bedrooms
Daylight and sunlight should ideally be located next to and above
Access to adequate levels of daylight and other bedrooms. Noise sensitive rooms
sunlight is of particular importance to the should not be positioned adjoining noisy
elderly population, as not only are they the communal spaces (like a restaurant or
age group with the highest prevalence of entrance foyer). Building services, such as
sight loss and most affected by the effects of plant rooms and lifts, must be located away
glare but they also spend more time indoors. from sensitive areas to avoid disturbing
schemes residents and occupants of
As such, building orientation and design is to neighbouring properties. Acoustic insulation
be considered and key sensitive receptors, on should be introduced, where applicable, to
site, are to be identified (e.g. habitable rooms, reduce impact and airborne noise.
gardens, etc.). Consideration should be given
to reduce over shading, to the sensitive Detailed guidance should be sought from the
receptors, from nearby buildings. A daylight Building Regulations (AD Part E) and should
and sunlight assessment should be follow the guidance provided within the
undertaken for cases where the site has been London Plan (Sustainable Design and
identified to be at risk of reduced access to Construction, Supplementary Planning
daylight and sunlight. Guidance). Additionally an acoustician should
be consulted and their advice implemented.
Good internal daylight conditions are
essential with windows to habitable rooms

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 63
Climate change resilience (both in terms of subsequent micro-climate, the albedo effect
environmental and social resilience) and the heat island effect to limit the risks to
Climate change poses one of the greatest overheating. The London Plan provides
risks facing society today; there is a detailed guidance on how to adapt to climate
compelling need to adapt both new and change, tackle increased temperatures and
existing buildings to enable them to respond drought. Additional guidance on overheating,
to global changes in temperature and extreme carbon abatement and climate change can be
weather events. found, and should be considered, at the Zero
Carbon Hub, the Joseph Rowntree
Climate change will have profound social and Foundation and the Innovate UK websites.
health implications for the vulnerable in
society. There will be implications on the way Social resilience
buildings are designed as the complexities of Environmental stressors such as extreme
balancing a reduction in energy consumption, weather can irritate, annoy, and be a general
with the provision of natural daylight, source of discomfort for older people.
optimisation of ventilation and mitigation of Vulnerable elderly residents will be affected
overheating becomes increasingly difficult to by the impacts of climate change. This
deliver. includes increased fuel poverty, health
problems, social isolation and reduced
Energy performance access to external spaces.
The energy strategy for both new build and
major refurbishment residential projects A neighbourhood that is supportive is
should follow the targets and guidance set required; this means that careful
out in Building Regulations (AD Part L) and the consideration should be given to how the
London Plan (Sustainable Design and development sits and connects to the existing
Construction, Supplementary Planning social fabric and local community. Measures
Guidance). When selecting an energy strategy that should be considered when designing
and suitable low or zero carbon technologies, and planning extra care and retirement
careful consideration should be given to the housing developments are:
end user of the building(s). This is particularly
relevant for older people as ease of use, Creation of agreeable indoor communal
accessibility of controls, simplicity and indoor spaces (adequately warmed and cooled),
air quality should be key considerations in the which could be open to the wider
decision making process. community strengthening connections
Creation of sheltered external communal
Local climate spaces, with consideration to the
Buildings and external areas are to be creation of micro-climates using
designed to adapt to change (i.e. enable adequate vegetation for enhanced health
resilience). The design process should be benefits
informed with thermal model information, Engaging residents, where possible, in
micro-climate information and design advice the design of communal indoor and
on climate change. Consideration should be outdoor spaces through research and
given to the building form, proposed green resident engagement initiatives.
and blue local infrastructure, existing and

Hot water/heating beneficial to protect the health of those over 65
or with pre-existing medical conditions. They
Injury from hot water or heating systems should continue to use sufficient bedding,
Vulnerable older people with limited mobility, clothing and thermal blankets or heating aids as
reduced heat sensitivity or dementia are appropriate.
particularly at risk of injury from hot water or
heating systems. Controls must be provided
to ensure that hot water is less than 44C at Interior design
outlets in accommodation accessed by older
people. If radiators and towel rails are Effective interiors can dramatically influence
required they should be specified with a low the success of a development. Depending on
surface temperature so that the maximum the size of the housing scheme, it is often
accessible surface temperature does not advantageous to appoint an experienced
exceed 43C. interior design consultant. A considered
scheme will improve the developments
Underfloor heating market appeal critical in both the public and
Underfloor heating is often specified for older private sectors. It is essential that sufficient
peoples housing to avoid dangers from hot budget is allowed to provide an attractive,
surfaces and provide unrestricted wall space. non-institutional, interior design.
If underfloor heating is specified, adequate
space must be provided within the dwelling Furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E)
for heating manifolds and controls. It is important that all furniture, fixtures and
equipment have a domestic, non-institutional
Minimum temperature thresholds appearance.
During the winter months, heating controls
can be set to provide a minimum temperature Furniture should have rounded edges and
within dwellings. This protects older people comply with Fire Safety Regulations.
form cold weather. Cold weather is
associated with an increase in deaths and in Within communal areas different seating
addition has significant impact on morbidity. options are required to give residents a
choice of seat suitable to their mobility needs.
Minimum Home Temperature Thresholds for For older people seat heights must be a
Health in Winter, published October 2014, by minimum of 450mm above the finish floor
Public Health England recommends minimum level. Chairs should be fitted with arm rests.
temperature thresholds. Sofas must have legs (rather than solid
construction below seat height) to allow a
Daytime - 18C (65F) threshold is particularly seated occupant to position their feet slightly
important for people over 65yrs or with back before standing. Consider providing
pre-existing medical conditions. Having some chairs to suit bariatric residents.
temperatures slightly above this threshold may
be beneficial for health.

Overnight - 18C (65F) threshold may be

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 65
A light reflectance value contrast of at least 30 Locate plug sockets where extra directional
points is required between furniture/fixtures light sources are required; this is to avoid
and their surroundings. Contrast chairs and unnecessary flexes, which are a safety
sofas to their environment possibly by colour hazard.
outlining; for example colour contrast the
piping on an arm chair. Contrast curtains to Avoid repetitive ceiling mounted fittings in the
their background perhaps by introducing a corridors and communal lounges as these
colour strip to their leading edge. can cause glare and look institutional
(especially oversized bulkhead saucer shaped
Sharp shadows created by Venetian blinds fittings which are to be avoided). Balance
sometimes cause confusion in people with ceiling mounted fittings with wall mounted
dementia. Soft sheer blinds are more fittings, to give a more dispersed source of
appropriate in older peoples housing. light and provide switching which can provide
different lighting moods.
Appropriate fabrics that are impervious,
antibacterial and flame-retardant should be External lighting proposals should consider
specified. Vinyl, faux leather, is often used in enhancing the external space during the
older peoples housing. hours of darkness particularly when viewed
from flats and communal spaces.

Lighting design
Fire protection and means of
Communal areas must be well lit and escape
automated to standby when not needed. High
levels of light, appropriate fittings and good Consultation with a building control officer/
control of light are key factors to consider when approved inspector is essential in the early
designing the lighting within an environment design stages.
where older people will be residing.
Extra care housing is, typically, classified as
Lighting design and choice of luminaires is a group 1 residential. On the basis that the
key element of the interior design and should building contains apartments for individual
be carried out in consultation with the occupation where the residents have tenancy
architect, interior designer and client. Lighting agreements or are leaseholders (including
design should be domestic and offer care provision). The use of the term extra
alternative settings for mood lighting. care housing can sometimes cause
confusion so it needs to be stressed that this
Specify domestic style light fittings that will building is not an institution in terms of
reduce glare and which generate a diffused classification i.e. not group 2 residential
and even light within a space. (institutional).

Provide directional or task lighting in areas Retirement housing (sheltered housing) is

such as offices and activity rooms. Kitchens classified as group 1 residential.
should all have pelmet lighting above the

The level of fire precautions provided within the purpose of assisting the Responsible
older peoples housing should be determined Person in their duties, then that specialist
following an assessment of both the level of should ideally be party to the design process.
need of the intended residents and the design
features of the building, including its size, Fire precautions and means of escape may
height and layout - The Risk Assessment. include the following design measures:-

Fire safety engineering design by a specialist The alarm system should have both
consultant or company can provide an audible and visual signals to alert those
alternative approach to the requirements set who are hard of hearing or have visual
out in the Building Regulations (AD part B). By impairment. In individual dwellings
installing a sprinkler system, for example, it is residents who have hearing impairments
possible to reduce the amount of passive could have a warning light (and a
safety features such as door closers or vibrating pad beneath their pillow) to
increase maximum travel distances and indicate that the fire alarm has been
accommodate atria spaces. Any such activated. Depending on the layout of the
proposals would need to be discussed and dwelling the warning light can be fitted in
agreed at an early stage. the hall only if it will be visible from all the
other rooms.
In addition to complying with the Building Fit free-swing door closers to all fire
Regulations (AD part B) on means of escape doors operated by residents. Fire doors
(or adopting an agreed fire engineering which are required by the building
strategy: see above), designers must have regulations to be fitted with self-closing
consideration for the owners obligations devices are often difficult or impossible
under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order to open by older people due to the
2005, which places a duty on a building resistance of the closer. Doors such as
owner to carry out documented risk these are often propped open by
assessments on the building and its residents for this reason and therefore
occupants in the event of fire, and devise are ineffective in the case of a fire. Free-
specific fire safety measures to suit the swing door closers should therefore be
circumstances. Compliance with this fitted. These closers are linked to the fire
legislation is the responsibility of a alarm system and will close the door in
Responsible Person within the owners an event of a fire. At other times the door
organisation, and he/she must maintain the can be opened and closed freely.
risk assessments and safety strategy under Residents dwelling entrance doors and
review at all times. It must be available for doors to communal spaces are
inspection by the London Fire Brigade on particularly critical in this regard.
request. Fire doors across corridors are required
at regular intervals and to divide dead-
Liaison between client and the design team at end sections of corridor from the main
early design stage on the likely contents of circulation route. These doors should be
the risk assessments and safety strategy is designed as hold-open, linked to the
essential. If specialist advice is envisaged for fire alarm system. The use of magnetic
hold-open devices or hold-open type

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 67
door closers is acceptable. Both door
leaves should be fitted with devices in
order to maximise the clear opening.
Smoke and heat detectors are required
in specified locations. Fit heat detectors
in kitchens as burnt toast might trigger
smoke detectors when there is no
danger of a fire. (Within extra care
housing kitchen heat detectors should
be linked with the telecare system, in
addition to the fire alarm, allowing staff
to investigate and easily reset if
Mobility scooters/buggies must not be
parked or charged in communal
corridors. It is essential that mobility
scooters are parked in designated stores
with a fire resisting enclosure.
Stairs and corridors to provide refuge
areas if required. (A stay put fire
strategy is often adopted in older
peoples housing negating the need for
Furnished corridor seating areas should
provide a minimum fire load and must be
agreed by a fire engineer and the London
Fire Brigade.
Extra care housing typically operates
a stay put fire strategy for older people.
Where older people are potentially
incapable of independent evacuation,
a fire protected area (e.g. cross corridor
doors) should be accessible within 7.5m.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Older Peoples Housing Design Guidance Nov 2015 69

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