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Liveable Housing – an MSA focus area

13 October 2016

Awareness is growing about the connection between house design and wellbeing.

For people living with MS this can mean special cooling or heating, better bathroom access, wider halls, doorways or parking spaces, step-free houses and so on.

Australian building regulation has no minimum access or universal design features despite the low cost of including them during construction (and high cost afterward).

The proposed ‘Liveable Housing Design Guidelines by 2020’ include minimum access requirements for all new and modified housing in the Building Code of Australia - simple yet practical accommodation options for your current and future needs.

‘Liveable’ housing helps us live comfortably and well and we want to see these guidelines in place.

Liveable Housing Australia (LHA) seeks liveable housing design principles in all new homes. We agree it’s more efficient to design housing for adaptability up front. The LHA Guidelines provide technical advice and guidance on making homes more accessible such as:

  • Easier to enter
  • Safer to move around
  • Easier and more cost-effective adaptation
  • Designed to better anticipate and respond to changing needs and abilities.

For more information see:

Accessible housing is a hot news topic and supposed delays concern us.

The Australian Financial Review reports that (the housing standards by 2020) process has been slow and only 5 per cent will be met. Part of the problem appears to be building cost. Consumers may have to pay the shortfall.

The same news appears in building industry bulletin Sourceable.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports on a serious shortage of accessible buildings in that city.

Monash University highlights the need for development of supported housing (to provide) independent living for young people with a disability. We couldn’t agree more! The Monash piece also says that young people who moved from a nursing home to a supported accommodation (including modified/adapted for a person’s needs), were more active at home.

The new EACH Housing project in Victoria has six custom-designed, accessible units, including for a resident living with MS. Also underway is a custom-built, eight apartment development in Albany Creek, QLD. To be co-operated by MS Queensland, this project will support young people with high care needs (and help them avoid residential aged care).

This is great news!

This National Disability Services infographic shows that the EACH housing and Queensland apartment projects just scratch the surface – we need more!

We note the Australian Greens hope to “establish a transition plan to ensure all new homes (in Canberra) meet the accessibility standards by 2020”.

The Australian Labour Party told us Liveable Housing is important, and that they’re disappointed the ‘Review of the Access to Premises Standards’ outcomes haven’t been released.

The Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science told MSA the Review Report was “under consideration” and that updates and a response will be published online, “hopefully sooner rather than later”.

We’ll continue to monitor progress and provide updates.

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