The Livable Housing Design Guidelines were consequently developed and promoted. The aim of these are to produce homes which are easier and safer to use for all occupants inclusive of people with disabilities, older people, people with temporary disabilities and families with young children. They state that a ‘livable home is designed to:
· Be easy to enter and exit;
· Be easy to move around in;
· Be capable of easy and cost effective adaption; and
· Anticipate and respond to the changing needs of home occupants.’
Three performance levels are identified under the guidelines – Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. Silver is the least onerous and focuses on key spatial elements allowing for future adaptability of the home at far lower cost to the occupant. Gold allows larger circulation to key areas within the home and extends to other areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. Platinum circulation requirements increase further still and includes additional features such living room and flooring guidelines.
Earlier this year LHA established a system of accreditation of homes under their published guidelines. LHA are responsible for the accreditation of dwellings under this system, and issues their quality mark in accordance with the performance level achieved. The LHA quality mark can then be used by the developer to assist with the marketing of their project.
LHA uses a number of registered assessors to assess and gather information regarding the proposed home in order to enable accreditation decisions to be made. Registered assessors have suitable prerequisite qualifications and experience, have completed approved training and have successfully undergone an exam to confirm their competency. They are directly appointed by applicants wishing to gain accreditation of a project.
Two stages of accreditation also apply within the process. A provisional quality mark can be gained for a project during the design phase. The final quality mark is only issued once the building has been completed and assessed by a registered assessor. It should also be noted that where existing homes meet the LHA guidelines, these could also gain the final quality mark through the same process.
LHA envisages that by the year 2020 all new residential dwellings will achieve at least the Silver Level accreditation.
For more information about the accreditation process visit LHAs website at http://livablehousingaustralia.org.au/.
George Xinos of Functional Access Solutions is a LHA Registered Assessor and can be contacted to assist with assessment and ultimately gaining accreditation for any aspiring projects.
Functional Access Solutions