The family of an older person contacted the Commissioner about difficulties their relative was experiencing during building works at their home to provide adaptations for increased disability.

This older man was experiencing mobility problems and a degenerative visual impairment. He applied for a grant from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to extend his home to create a “wet room” downstairs.

Near the completion of the building works the family became concerned that the new extension was not meeting the needs of the older man. The new room had a small window but was primarily reliant on overhead spotlights for lighting. This degree of artificial light was inadequate for the older person living with a visual impairment. The older man’s family had difficulties obtaining a resolution with the Housing Executive, the builder and the housing association and contacted the Commissioner for advice and assistance. A legal officer, undertaking an advocacy role, made representations to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and its agent with responsibility. The case was resolved through the intervention of the Commissioner and the necessary changes to the building works were agreed to be carried out at no extra cost.