Designing homes for inclusion and independence

Front cover of the guidelines showing three people standing and one in a wheelchair looking out over a beach scene. Designing homes for inclusion and independence.The aim of the NDIS is to create independence and inclusion. And that includes providing suitable homes in mainstream settings. So no more segregated group homes, but more homes in regular neighbourhoods. The Summer Foundation’s guide for designing homes for inclusion and independence is a great reference for designers and builders. They are keen to build sector capacity and share knowledge and resources.

To assist designers and builders produce specialist housing, Summer Housing has produced design guidelines, Designing for Inclusion and Independence – An Explanatory Guide to support the Briefing and Design of Accessible Housing

While the guide is focused on specialist disability accommodation (SDA housing), the guide is also useful for mainstream housing if read in conjunction with the Livable Housing Design Guidelines

This guide is a practical tool to develop the brief, design and specifications of high quality accessible housing. Key considerations are social inclusion, usability, homelike environments, amenity and cost-efficiency. The guide includes checklists as well as practice tips and includes current design benchmarks such as the Livable Housing Australia Guidelines, and Specialist Disability Accommodation Design Category requirements.

Specialist guide for wheelchair housing from UK

Front cover of the guide. Line drawings of housing using light blue, dark blue and lime greenThe third edition of the Habinteg Wheelchair Housing Design Guide has input from Centre for Accessible Environments and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. It is good to see a separate housing design guide for wheelchair users. Not all wheelchair users need the same features. Their abilities vary from part time users of a manual chair to those who are fully dependent on a large powered chair.

When it comes to the concept of “accessible housing” designers tend to think only of wheelchair users when there are many other types of disability that need consideration. Wheelchair housing is not the same as universal design in housing.

Habinteg has instructions on how to purchase in the UK. You can also access a copy via Angus and Robertson. The Victorian Government Library Service also has access. 

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