It’s been estimated that the UK has 1.4 million people who require specially adapted housing to meet their everyday needs. For this reason, the Lifetime Homes Standard was introduced to make it easy to design and build such properties easily, efficiently and consistently.
The Lifetime Homes Standard contains a list of 16 criteria that all new build housing should conform to in terms of their design. Most importantly for the heating industry is Criterion 16, which states that switches, socket outlets and ‘other equipment’ (e.g. radiators) are installed at a height of between 450mm – 1200mm above the finished floor level.
Additionally, Criterion 16 specifies that thermostatic radiator valves should be installed at least 300mm from a corner of a room, the idea being that they are easily within reach for those with disabilities or limited reach and movement. This ensures that TRVs are easily adjustable without the need for bending over, particularly important for the elderly and wheelchair users.
With these specifications in mind, it’s now increasingly important for installers to be aware of their customers’ needs and aware of the heating products that exist with flexible controls. Having this knowledge at their fingertips will ensure excellent customer service for those with special requirements and will assist them greatly in achieving comfortable temperatures within their homes.
Recent research has shown that having TRVs installed can make a huge difference in energy efficiency and consumption. Statistics recently released by The Association of Controls Manufacturers showed that by adding a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves, consumers could save as much as £410 annually on their heating bills.
Of course, having TRVs installed is only of use if the occupant of the house can actually reach them, so some manufacturers have experimented with designs that allow for adjustable TRVs. The adjustable TRVs can be slid to the top or the bottom of the radiators, making them easily accessible, whatever the customers’ impairment. This provides a nice alternative to the traditional placement of TRVs in a fixed position at the bottom of a radiator.
Another revolutionary design idea within the heating industry is the introduction of ‘central connections.’ Rather than pipes being connected to radiators at either end, this idea allows for all pipework to be connected at a central point within each radiator. This means that all pipework can be installed before the addition of any radiators or heated towel rails, without the need for adjustments or re-piping caused by varying widths of radiators. It also means that if any radiators need to be changed, then they can be swapped out very easily without the need for expensive and disruptive adjustments to the pipework.
Currently there are many positive developments within the heating and home-building industries which should benefit all homeowners, regardless of whether they are able-bodied or disabled. Improvements like those outlined above will help to ensure that Britain’s homes go into the future having efficient and flexible technologies, improving the standard of living for everyone involved.
Article by Benjamin Clarke