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Built-in flexibility

January 12, 2020

To have a home designed with your needs and preferences in mind, not only for today but also for the future?

That’s the idea behind universal home design – an approach that is increasing in acceptance and awareness.

Universal home design principles can have tremendous benefits for homeowners and are easy to build into any brand new home. Pre-planning at the design stage means less renovation and potentially expensive changes down the road. In fact, it may make it possible for you to stay in your home even if circumstances in your life change significantly. This commonsense approach to design and construction means that your home will be convenient, safe and comfortable to live in for all members of the family.

Design and construction

Planning to start a family or looking forward to an empty nest? Is an ageing family member moving in with you? Starting a home-based business? Faced with mobility restrictions? Milestones in your life tend to create their own demands on your home and often affect how you use space. A professional new home builder can offer many suggestions that will make it easy for your household to adapt to changes.

  • Expandable homes designed for easy integration of future additions as the need arises or your budget allows
  • Use of non-load-bearing partition walls for easy installation or removal, so floor space can be opened up or divided
  • Covered entranceways with flat access and plenty of manoeuvring room inside and out for things like prams or when you have an armful of shopping
  • Wider hallways and door openings with plenty of swing-room for doors
  • Easy movement throughout the ground floor of the house – avoiding steps, raised areas, or thresholds within a single level
  • Adequate space in most rooms, including bathrooms, for two people to be in the room at the same time
  • Large easy-to-open windows
  • Reinforced frames in bathrooms near the toilet and in the shower

Safety and convenience

  • Well-lit entrance doors with window inserts, sidelights or viewing holes
  • Effective lighting throughout, with easy-to-reach light switches; three-way switches or even sound or motion activated lights
  • Non-slip flooring, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Easy-to-move lever-type door handles and taps
  • Well-planned benches and cupboards, particularly in the laundry and kitchen; moveable or multi-level counters and storage areas are options. 

For more information on universal home design, contact a planning and building HIA staff member on 1300 787 442 or visit the Australian Network for Universal Housing Design website anuhd.org.

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