Doors and walls

Door and wall modifications can make it easier to move around your home. Depending on your situation, Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People may be able to help with funding for these modifications.

What door or wall modifications do you need?

For your home to work the best it can for you, think about how you get around and your disability-related needs and situation. 

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you use a wheelchair? If so, you may need more turning space to move around inside your home.
  • How wide are your doorways? If you push yourself in a manual wheelchair, you need enough space for your wheelchair and your arms to get through without hitting the doorway. (In most cases, a narrow door would be 760 millimetres with a 710 millimetre opening width; wider doors are easier to use.)
  • How wide are your halls? If you have a narrow hall, you might need a wider doorway for a wheelchair to be able to move through to another room.
  • What type of doors do you have? Hinged doors are harder to use than sliding doors for people in wheelchairs.
  • How hard is it to open and close the doors and what style and height are the door handles? Lever door handles may be easier to use than round door knobs.
  • Do you need to get into every room in your home or just the important ones, like the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and living areas?
  • Could your needs and circumstances change over the next two to three years?
  • Would you find it easier to move around if you make some changes to your wheelchair, for example, using a single footplate?
  • If you use a power wheelchair, would a different model turn better in smaller spaces?
  • Would you get more space if you moved the hinges on a door so that it swings open in the other direction or if you replaced a swing door with a simple sliding or cavity sliding door?
    (Cavity sliding doors open by sliding away into the space, or cavity, between two walls. This leaves more room along the outside of the walls. Cavity sliding doors take up less space than either swing or ordinary sliding doors, but they are more expensive to build. Also, you need to check that there are no pipes or electrical fittings in the wall cavity where you want the door to slide.)
  • Could you get more useful space by removing a wall, such as a wall between a bathroom and a separate toilet?

Building and structural considerations

A home's walls are either partition or structural (also known as load-bearing) walls. It is much easier to move or change partition walls.

Moving structural walls needs careful planning and is usually quite expensive. Extra beams might need to be installed in the ceiling.

You may also need to get a building consent to change or move doors and walls, especially if they are external. Building consents need to include designs and plans for the modifications. You will need to wait for the building consent to be approved before your builder can start on your modifications. 

Sometimes modifying your home may not be the best or only option for you. For example, if modifying your home is not an option, you may be able to find another home that suits your needs better.

Find out more about building consents for home modifications.

Getting door or wall modifications

Contact a Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People Equipment and Modification Service (EMS) qualified housing assessor to help you work out what modifications you need for the doors or walls inside your home.

The EMS housing assessor can help you work out the most cost-effective option for your needs and if you can get funding help from the Ministry. Your doctor can refer you to an EMS qualified housing assessor or you can refer yourself through local hospital community health services. 

You may also choose to organise and pay for modifications to your home yourself.

Find out about what home modifications we can fund.

Related resources

Download a copy of the information on this page:

Door and wall home modifications summary (DOCX 647KB)

Door and wall home modifications summary (PDF 51KB)


Find out more about door and wall modifications if you live: