Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. There are 7 principles of universal design. Universal design in housing results in homes that are usable by and marketable to almost everyone.
Currently there are no mandatory requirements within the National Construction Code for access in housing. Australia has many government and industry guidelines and standards for universal design in housing. Some are listed below:
Livable housing design guidelines (2010)
Livable Housing Design Guidelines were developed in 2010 by the National Dialogue on Universal Design in a consensus agreement by industry, community and human rights organisations. The Guidelines have three levels: platinum, gold and silver.
Livable Housing Design Guidelines V4
Landcom universal housing design guidelines (2008)
These guidelines were developed in 2008 for NSW Government’s Landcom. Landcom aimed to encourage a universal design approach to new housing. Considered by many to be excellent, these guidelines have since been removed from the Landcom website. Landcom universal housing design guidelines
Smart and sustainable housing design objectives (2008)
The Queensland Government’s Smart and Sustainable housing design objectives (2008) brings together universal design with economic and environmental sustainability. Considered world class, these guidelines meet residents’ needs in Queensland’s 4 climate zones.
Smart and sustainable housing design objectives
Liveable homes manual (2010)
The Western Australian Government supports a Liveable Homes website with a Liveable Homes manual. Yet another guideline developed to encourage a uiversal design approach to housing, it adds little to the guidelines above.
Liveable Homes manual
Better apartments design standards (Victoria) (2016)
These standards, which include requirements for access to 50% of dwellings, apply to all apartment developments in Victoria.
Better Apartments Design Standards
Apartment design guide (NSW) (2015)
This Apartment Design Guide is a resource to improve the planning and design of residential apartment development in NSW. It updates and replaces the Residential Flat
Design Code introduced in 2002. The Apartment Design Guide is to be used in conjunction with State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 – Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development (SEPP 65) which sets out the NSW Government’s policy direction for residential apartment development in NSW.
Apartment Design Guide (NSW)
Universal housing design criteria (South Australia)
This South Australian Housing Trust guide provides for both visitability, and adaptability at the time of construction. This guideline sets out the design criteria in detail and has considered and incorporated a number of housing design approaches.
Universal Design Criteria (SA)
Adaptable housing standard AS4299-95
Written in 1995, this outdated Standard is for “adaptable” housing. It is not freely available to the public and can be purchased on the SAI Global website.