Liveable Housing Australia (LHA) is a set of design principles that make homes more liveable over the lifetime of the occupant, seeking to improve accessibility and movement around the home. There are three levels of performance that can be achieved, Silver, Gold or Platinum. To achieve the base Silver certification, the home must meet at least 8 of the 16 different design criteria. It is thought the 8 core design elements do not necessarily accommodate all occupants, however they deliver the most widespread benefit.

You can read the 8 core design elements, download the Guidelines here. To help understand more about Liveable Housing, we’ve put together 5 reasons why we think you should add it into your next design.

1. Build a home that’s future proof

As one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, a house is something you hope to live in forever or at least a long time. LHA takes the future into account in the design principles so as your lifestyle changes, the house can adapt and change with you. Revolving around dwelling access, the first design principle is to have a safe and continuous pathway from the front boundary or a car parking space. By removing steps and major slopes at entryways, there’s less risk of falling over while balancing a child and the groceries. And for the older Australian, it’s easier to make their way in and out of the house without having to conquer the stairs.

2. Reduce retrofitting costs

Because the house is built with the future in mind, if your situation does change you’re not slammed with a huge bill to retrofit the house. Imagine if you were badly injured at work, you’re stressing about your income and then you also need to make structural changes to your house so you can add a grab rail in the bathroom and toilet. With a silver or greater accreditation your walls are already reinforced and can easily adapt to have grab rails. This explains why it’s around 22 times more efficient to include the core design features that retrofitting your house at a later date.

3. Make it your point of difference

LHA is still relatively new, having only come about in 2009 after discussions between a variety of sectors including the property industry, ageing and disability sectors and government. To implement into housing designs, particularly volume housing would be a point of difference. For a buyer, it would make so much sense to purchase a home that has thought about these design principles. So whether you’re the builder selling a home, or you’re an owner looking for extra resale value this is definitely a feature worth boasting about. With 1 in 5 Australian’s having a disability of some type, that’s a huge demographic that is getting overlooked. LHA’s core principles make it much easier to navigate the house and more wheelchair friendly with features like unimpeded doorways and hallways that are wider throughout.

4. Cater to a larger audience

Because LHA was designed by so many stakeholders and industries it really does benefit a large portion of the population. There are four audiences that will feel real benefits from the design principles. These groups are families with young children, people who sustain a temporary injury, ageing baby boomers and people with disability and their families. Audiences from these groups, may have never considered building with you because it doesn’t suit their needs.

5. Reduce the number of household falls and slips

Monash University conducted research on household slips and falls and found 62% of them happen at home, costing $1.8 billion to public health. To reduce this number, certified houses are built with handrails along stairs that rise 1 metre or higher. Stairs are also designed to reduce likelihood of injury and be easier to adapt to different circumstances. It simply makes sense to build new houses with the core principles, particularly as our population continues to age.

If you’re interested in getting a house certified with Liveable Housing Design, contact us and speak with our assessor who can talk you through the certification process. You can also visit the Liveable Housing Australia website for more information.