Universal design principles for Australia’s aid program

DFAT UD guidelines

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stipulates that all overseas aid programs must follow the Principles of Universal Design. They have produced a comprehensive guide to all types of development projects including water, health, education and the built environment. It is useful to see how thinking universally about design can produce such a clear guide to inclusive practice and accessibility. 

Download the document here.


NSW Building Design Requirements

Logo for NSW Land and Housing CorporationThe NSW  Land and Housing Corporation has updated their Building Design and Product Requirements. and Design Standards. 

The Design Standards establish the standards that all new housing and major refurbishments of existing NSW Land and Housing Corporation housing stock must meet. The document may be taken as performance and functional guidance rather than prescriptive requirements for:

  • Projects undertaken by the affordable housing or community housing sector which are mainly privately funded, or
  • Aboriginal Housing Office projects.

The Design Standards include five non-negotiable Design Principles and the Design Features emphasise:

  • Liveable Housing Design
  • Functionality
  • Flexibility
  • Sustainability and
  • Innovation

Home Modification Information Clearinghouse

logo for Home Modifiation Information Clearinghouse. A graphic yellow house with red roof and three figures, one is a wheelchair userThe Home Modification Information Clearinghouse has academic research papers as well as information for householders, builders and home designers.

On the About Us page, it states, “The Home Modification Information (HMinfo) Clearinghouse, established in 2002, is an information service tasked with collating, reviewing and creating the evidence base for best practice in modification of the home environment to support people with problems in self care, participation and autonomy.” The Clearinghouse is based in the University of New South Wales.

Click here for the home page and the various menus about research, products and services

Click here for the page with consumer fact sheets



Lifemark Design Standards

Lifemark logo. White text on magenta strip with turquoise circle behind with five white stars above the magenta strip and the word HOME belowLifemark in New Zealand has developed a Homeowner’s Guide that outlines the key areas in a home that are important to get right at the design or renovation stage. They include the minimum structural and spatial requirements that cannot be changed later without major expense. They have also include the most important home injury prevention standards because of the value of reducing the significant costs and social burden associated with home injuries. You can access the overview and the detailed standards by going to the Lifemark Website.  


Banyule City Council Liveable Housing Guidelines

UD-logo-200x200Edited transcript from live captioning of the presentation by Shawn Neilson and Joel Elbourne who outline the process of engaging with developers to encourage the uptake of Banyule City Council’s Liveable Housing Design Guidelines in new housing developments. They show how it is possible to get buy-in from developers using local government resources. The title of their presentation is, Improving housing for people across their lifespan.

Edited Transcript in PDF or in Word document.

Link to presentation slides and transcript on Prezi (August 2015) 

Link to presentation slides and transcript of 2016 outcomes so far.


Landcom Guidelines: Universal Housing Design

Front cover of the Landcom Universal Housing Design GuidelinesAlthough this set of guidelines was published in 2008, the information is as relevant today as it was when first published. The designs and costings were well researched and there are sample plans for all types of dwellings.

Universal Housing Design Guidelines 

Handbook PDF 3MB   Factsheet PDF 2MB

You can download a copy of all of the related guidelines for urban development from the publications section of the old Landcom site.