New building regulations will hit handicapped and elderly, say lobby groups


Patients groups and other lobby organisations have warned that new building regulations will mean fewer houses for the elderly and other people with limited mobility.

Housing minister Stef Blok is planning to scrap a number of building regulations including rules covering door widths, compulsory balconies and external storage space.

In particular, wheelchair users fear they may no longer be able to get through the doors in some buildings while elderly people with walking aids are concerned about plans to scrap outside storage space, broadcaster NOS said on Monday.

The lack of a balcony will also have an impact on the housebound who cannot get outside, the organisations say.

National standards

Blok is convinced that building firms will take special needs into account because the elderly and handicapped are also potential tenants, NOS said. But the lobby groups – nine in all – say national standards are essential to ensure all buildings remain accessible.

They point out that compulsory balconies and external storage space were removed from the building regulations for a time but the change was reversed after builders took advantage of the lower standards.

MPs will debate Blok’s proposals next week.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation