Build for ac­cess now so it’s easy later

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cates are call­ing for Ki­wis to think about the fu­ture when build­ing a new home.

A cam­paign en­cour­ag­ing home-own­ers to build adapt­able and ac­ces­si­ble dwellings was launched by Lifemark on De­cem­ber 3.

The char­ity was es­tab­lished by One­hunga-based CCS Dis­abil­ity Ac­tion.

Ac­ces­si­ble homes in­clude sim­ple touches like low­ered light switches, wider door­ways and fit­tings in the bath­room for safety han­dles to be added later on.

Lifemark gen­eral man­ager Ge­off Pen­rose says in­vest­ing now could save home-own­ers thou­sands of dol­lars.

Ac­ces­si­ble fit­tings of­ten cost less than $1000 at the de­sign stage of build­ing or ren­o­vat­ing but can add up to tens of thou­sands in ret­ro­spec­tive adap­ta­tions, he says.

Lifemark is part­ner­ing with the coun­try’s lead­ing ar­chi­tects and us­ing a star rat­ing sys­tem to de­ter­mine how live­able a home is.

Rat­ings are based on more than 30 guide­lines from in­ter­na­tional best prac­tises in univer­sal de­sign.

‘‘Glob­ally there is a move to fo­cus more at­ten­tion de­vel­op­ing home de­sign fea­tures that work for ev­ery­one, all the time.

‘‘Think­ing ahead and de­sign­ing with the fu­ture in mind saves money in the long run.’’

More than 150 New Zealand homes have a Lifemark cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

About 2.6 per cent of all res­i­den­tial build­ing con­sents in 2013 were Life­markrated, with the majority in the re­tire­ment sec­tor.

Ac­cess push: From left, The Lifemark team in­cludes Stew Sex­ton, Chelsea Kitzen, Graeme Sinclair, Ge­off Pen­rose, Sarah Da­ley and Adam Wake­ford.

Get to­gether: Lifemark’s cam­paign was launched this month on Karanga­hape Rd.

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