Friday, September 21, 2012

New National Campaign To Create ‘Livable Homes’

This week has seen the launch of the 'Livable Homes' campaign by Livable Houses Australia. The  campaign aims to have all new homes being safer and easier to get around by 2020.

It includes 3 levels of "Livability" - silver, gold and platinum.

Below is an image of what a silver level house might look like and include in terms of accessibility.

There are also some great resources available on the LHA website including Liveable Housing Design Guidelines (PDF)

Visit for more resources and information.

3d floor plan of house, with 7 bullet points accompanying - 1. Step free path. 2. Level entry. 3 Internal movement. 4 Toilet at ground level. 5 Hobless shower. 6 Reinforced walls. 7 Handrail on stairs

 Below is the Media Relase for the Campaign

 A front door you can easily wheel a pram through; living spaces that are safer to move around in; a step-free shower; a handrail on your stairs; and a toilet on the ground floor.
Launched today at Parliament House, Canberra, Livable Housing Australia (LHA) will target the housing industry to achieve the Livable Housing Design Quality Mark as part of a national campaign to ensure all new homes are safer, more comfortable and easier to get around by 2020.

 LHA will work with industry leaders to adopt seven critical design features to help make homes not only easier to access and live in, but more cost-effective to adapt when life’s circumstances change, LHA Chair Peter Verwer said.

“Livable Housing Australia champions the adoption of seven critical ‘livable’ design features that help make homes easier to access, navigate and live in, as well more cost-effective to adapt when life’s circumstances change,” Mr Verwer said.

“Livable homes work for pregnant mums, young families with kids, as well and those with disability and Australians with sporting or traumatic injuries. ‘Livability’ also caters for the needs of an ageing society by promoting homes better suited to seniors.

“Livable homes will also reduce stress on Australia’s 2.6 million strong army of unpaid carers[1].”

Also launched today, the Livable Housing Design Quality Mark is set to become a trusted measure of livability for consumers and the housing industry.
“The LHA’s Silver, Gold and Platinum performance ratings are based on practical, common sense guidelines to livability,” Mr Verwer said.

“The features contained in the guidelines are inexpensive to incorporate into new-build dwellings and will deliver huge dividends as well as peace of mind to future generations of Australians.

“It makes sense to commit to livability features when a home is first designed and built rather than wait for an unplanned need to arise. Our goal is to persuade the market to incorporate Silver level livability features in all homes by 2020.”

Therese Rein, National Patron for the LHA, was inspired by the experiences of her father who lost the use of his legs after a flying accident in World War Two to support Livable Housing Australia’s campaign.

“I grew up with my dad in a wheelchair and I know what a difference Livable Housing would have made to him, and to us as a family. That’s why I wholeheartedly support Livable Housing Australia; so that every Australian can occupy a home that feels like home,” Ms Rein said.

“We design and build for what we call a ‘Peter Pan’ population – homes for the fit and well, the here and now,” Livable Housing Australia’s executive director, Amelia Starr, said.

“Livable design seeks to embed the idea that, just like life, our homes should be future-proofed so that they can better meet our needs and abilities both now and in the future,” she said.

A further benefit of creating more livable homes is fewer injuries and a reduction in public health costs.

The family home accounts for 62 percent of all falls and slip-based injuries, and currently accounts for $1.8 billion in public health expenses[2].

The LHA’s seven core livable housing design elements focus on the key structural and spatial elements that are critical to ensure future flexibility and adaptability of the home. (see break-out box)

 “Incorporating these features will avoid more costly home modification if required at a later date,” Ms Starr said.

“Common sense and international research indicate it’s 22 times more efficient to design the house for change than retrofit it when an unforeseen necessity arises,” she said.

Media enquiries: Amelia Starr, Executive Director, 0403 091 452

[1] ABS (2009) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

[2] Monash University Accident Research Centre. (2008) The relationship between slips, trips and falls and the design and construction of buildings. (Funded by the Australian Building Codes Board).

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