Dougie Herd, joint MD at Campion Homes, discusses turning the challenges of building accessible homes into opportunities.


"As the joint Managing Director of Campion Homes, I have witnessed  first hand the profound impact that x accessible housing can have on individuals and communities. Over the years, our commitment has grown, driving us to not only meet but exceed the standard building regulations in Scotland, ensuring that our homes cater to a broad spectrum of needs.

Campion Homes has a long history of integrating accessibility into our developments. Our early projects included our work with the Homelands Trust in Lundin Links and the specialist housing built for Glen Housing Association in partnership with the Aberlour Trust in Glenrothes.

Homelands Trust is working to improve the quality of life of individuals affected by disability, people with life limiting conditions and their carers, through the provision of specialist holiday accommodation and we were proud to build their first homes in 2014.

Our more recent endeavours include the high-specification homes at Charleston in Dundee, developed for Blackwood. These projects not only meet the specific needs of individuals with disabilities but also enhance their quality of life by fostering independence and dignity.

Our approach to building accessible homes involves a meticulous design process that incorporates both innovative technologies and thoughtful design elements. An example of this was for our Primrose Place development in Alloa, delivered on behalf of Kingdom Housing Association, where we incorporated colour coding to help residents identify different floors and areas. We were incredibly proud to be receive a Gold Design Award for this project from the Dementia Services Development centre – an internationally recognised centre which aims to improve lives for people living with dementia.

Similarly, the homes we are developing in Dundee include advanced specifications that cater specifically to the residents’ unique needs, demonstrating our commitment to inclusivity in housing design.

Despite our successes, the journey towards universally accessible housing is fraught with challenges, particularly relating to costs and regulations.

The Scottish construction industry is currently grappling with the implications of expanding the ‘Housing for Varying Needs’ standards to all new homes. While we recognise the necessity of such standards for future-proofing homes against an aging population, the increased costs and potential impact on housing affordability cannot be overlooked. It is essential for the industry and government to find a balance that enables both development and accessibility.

Looking forward, the need for accessible housing will only increase. At Campion Homes, we are proactive in collaborating with our local authority and housing association partners to ensure that our projects not only meet current demands but are also adaptable to future needs.

Dialogue with our partners is vital, as it allows us to stay ahead of trends and regulatory changes that could affect our designs and building practices.

Our dedication to building accessible homes goes beyond compliance, it’s about enriching lives and empowering communities. As we continue to advocate for and build these essential spaces, our hope is to inspire other developers and stakeholders to join us in this crucial endeavour. Together, we can create environments where everyone, regardless of their physical abilities, can thrive."