New app launched to help with housing design

The new app introduces the concepts from the Livable Housing Design Guidelines, and explains how they can be worked into new or existing homes

Lend Lease’s Isabella Gardens in Canberra

A new housing app has been launched by Livable Housing Australia to help with the design and construction of homes to make them safer.

Livable Housing Australia developed Australia’s Livable Housing Design Guidelines, which include 16 elements which to make a home ‘livable’.

The new app introduces the concepts from the guidelines and how they can be worked into new homes or in the renovation of existing homes.

This includes design elements to facilitate families with kids or retirees or homes for people living with a disability, including living spaces that are easier to move around in, step-free showers and handrails on stairs.

“Livable Housing Australia’s new app puts the Livable Housing Design Guidelines in the palm of your hand,” Andrew Aitken, executive director at Livable Housing Australia, said in a statement.

“The Livable Housing Design Guidelines app outlines simple, straightforward features that can be incorporated into any new or existing home.

“These design features are inexpensive to incorporate and make homes safe, comfortable and easy to access for everyone.”

Parliamentary secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Amanda Rishworth, welcomed the new app.

“The federal Labor government strongly believes that people with disability deserve the same opportunities as other Australians, and ensuring houses are accessible for everyone is an important step towards a more inclusive society,” Ms Rishworth said.

The Livable Housing Design Quality Mark was introduced in September 2012 to ensure homes are safer and easier to navigate by 2020.

The Livable Housing Design Quality Mark is based on three different performance ratings – silver, gold and platinum. Livable Housing Australia is aiming to have all new homes achieve a silver status by 2020.

“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,” Therese Rein, national patron for Livable Housing Australia, said.

More than 250 dwellings have now achieved a Livable Housing design mark.

“We expect a massive market for livable design features in the future – so learning how to design and build livable homes now is a smart move,” Mr Aitken said.

“This new app will ensure everyone in the industry – from architects and designers to builders and tradespeople – have easy access to guidelines that will help us make Australia’s homes more livable.”

Living Housing Australia is a partnership between communities, consumer groups, government and industry. Its board members include:

• Peter Verwer, chief executive of the Property Council of Australia
• Graeme Innes, Australia's Disability Discrimination commissioner
• Sophie Pickett-Heaps, national design manager for Stockland Retirement Living
• Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia

In June this year, Lend Lease’s Isabella Gardens in Canberra was the first retirement living village in Australia to achieve the gold Livable Housing Design Quality Mark from Livable Housing Australia.

Design features at the retirement village include single-storey homes, wide internal doorways and living spaces with easy access for residents.

“We understand that traditional home designs will no longer address the lifestyle needs of older Australians,” Simon Pagett, general manager of Lend Lease’s Retirement Living Development business, said.

“In order to remain relevant and meet market expectations we must respond to these needs with innovation and flexibility – being the first to meet this new national standard is one of the ways we can achieve that.”

The app is available on iPhones, iPads and Android devices.