Most people think that our homes are built to suit all people. The fact is that most homes are not designed to meet the changing needs of its occupants across their lifetime. That’s why Access First homes include many “easy living” features to make their homes easier and safer for all occupants to use. Occupants may have a disability, which could be permanent or temporary; there may be young children or frail and aging people living in the home. A truly liveable home needs to:
- Anticipate and respond to the changing needs of its occupants
- Be easy to enter and move around in
- Be capable of easy and cost effective adaptation.
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There are three basic elements of good, liveable housing:
It is estimated that 20% of the Australian population has some form of temporary or permanent disability at any one time. Accessibility in and around your home should be a prime design element. Remember – “Access First!”
Current building trends for wider doorways, more open plan living and outdoor spaces, stepless doorways and larger bathrooms with hobless showers proves that good access is great design. People are discovering that features such as lever style taps and door handles, kitchen drawers instead of hinged cupboard doors, home automation and easy to clean and maintain houses are far more user friendly and easy to live in.
Good home design recognises that people with a range of disabilities get out and about more than ever before because of improved social awareness, facilities and technologies. Homes should be welcoming by having at least one wheelchair friendly entrance and a suitable bathroom on the entrance level with a wider doorway.
Recognising that some changes may need to be made in the future (to cater for the changing needs of the occupants) is an important design factor. These future adaptations need not be costly if the design of the building has taken these factors into consideration at the time of construction. Examples of good design for future adaptability are:
- Ensuring that the wall between a toilet and adjacent bathroom is non-load bearing allowing the space to be made larger for wheelchair use in the future, if needed, at a reasonable cost to the owners.
- Plywood reinforced walls beside toilets and in shower areas allow for firm fixing of grabrails in the future, without the added expense of reinforcing the walls at a later date.
All houses built by Access First follow the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. They are individual and tailor made to suit the style dictated by our client’s preferences and needs. The accessible features of each new home are seamlessly integrated into the build.
Access First can also design & build: