Enhancing the accessibility, adaptability and usability of Scotland’s homes: consultation

Closed 21 Dec 2023

Opened 29 Jun 2023


Housing to 2040, Scotland’s first long-term national housing strategy, reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to review the Housing for Varying Needs design guide.  It also contained a commitment to develop and introduce an all-tenure Scottish Accessible Homes Standard, which will be implemented through changes to building standards and guidance from 2025-26.

This consultation sets out proposed updates to Part 1 of the Housing for Varying Needs design guide and to building standards and guidance.

More Information

Housing for Varying Needs is a key reference document for the affordable housing sector in Scotland.  Its purpose is ‘…to offer guidance on good practice in the design of all housing, so that newly-built, refurbished or adapted buildings achieve a degree of flexibility, suit people of different abilities, are convenient to use and fit for their purpose’.

New build homes delivered directly by Registered Social Landlords and local authorities with the aid of grant funding through the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme should meet – as a minimum – the design criteria indicated as ‘basic’ within Housing for Varying Needs. 

In addition, our published guidance for the Rural and Islands Housing Fund and the Gypsy/Traveller Accommodation Fund's Interim Site Design Guide reference a requirement to meet the ‘basic’ design criteria within Housing for Varying Needs.

The Housing for Varying Needs design guide is complementary to the Building Standards Technical Handbooks.  They set minimum requirements for new construction work under The Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (as amended). 

The review of Part 1 of the Housing for Varying Needs design guide will directly inform the development of the Scottish Accessible Homes Standard, which will apply to (a) all new build homes and (b) homes delivered through the conversion of non-residential buildings into housing.  This will mainstream a high standard of accessibility, delivering a step change in the availability of housing options for disabled people and enabling the delivery of new homes in all sectors which can be readily adapted to meet varying needs.

Your responses to this consultation will help shape our next steps. 

Read the consultation paper

Read the consultation summary paper

More Information

We are running two online consultation engagement events to discuss the above consultation.

The events are open to members of the public and others with an interest in the consultation.  Each event will follow the same format.

If you would like to attend one of these events, please register using the appropriate link below.

Wednesday 8 November – 14:00 to 16:00 

Friday 10 November – 09.30 to 11.30

Why your views matter

Views set out in this consultation will inform the development of updates to Part 1 of the Housing for Varying Needs design guide, as well as changes to published standards and guidance set under Building Regulations.


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