David Hackwood Architect
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Livable Housing Design

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 8:29:07 AM EST by David Hackwood

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Over the last few years we have seen ‘sustainability and ‘energy efficiency’ become part of the design of the Australian home. Our homes are greener and more efficient than ever before. Now there is a move to transform the home even more.

Livable Housing  Design is an initiative of the government and various business and community groups. The aim is to encourage homes to be designed to be more versatile and better meet the needs of occupants over their lifetimes.

The Livable Housing Design Guidelines make homes easier to access, safer to use for all occupants including people with a disability, those who are ageing, people with temporary injuries and families with young children.

At this stage the guidelines are not mandatory but Australians are being encouraged to voluntarily comply with the design elements.

WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES?

There are 3 performance levels – Silver, Gold and Platinum with Silver being the base level. The goal is for all new homes to achieve this level.

The seven core design elements for Silver level are:

  1. A safe continuous and step free path of travel from the street entrance and/ or parking area to a dwelling entrance that is level.
  2. At least one, level (step-free) entrance into the dwelling.
  3. Internal doors and corridors that facilitate comfortable and unimpeded movement between spaces.
  4. A toilet on the ground (or entry) level that provides easy access.
  5. A bathroom that contains a hobless (step-free) shower recess.
  6. Reinforced walls around the toilet, shower and bath to support the safe installation of grabrails at a later date.
  7. A continuous handrail on one side of any stairway where there is a rise of more than one metre.

The other two performance levels introduce additional elements in areas such as the kitchen, laundry and  bedroom plus details for elements such as power and light switches, and floor coverings.

For more detailed information refer to the Livable Housing Australia website: www.livablehousingaustralia.org.au

 A lot of the ideas are common sense and have been part of good architectural design for some time. However the move to make livable housing more mainstream is great and I personally support the initiative.  Discussing the Livable Housing Design Guidelines will form part of the design consultation  process with any new clients.

 Hopefully I can help contribute to the goal of Living Housing Australia – ‘Championing safer, more comfortable and easier to access homes for everybody, everyday, at all stages of life.’

 

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