After many years of international research Lifetime Design has developed a series of accessible and adaptable design standards, called LifeStandards. They are designed to promote the features and benefits of usability, inclusion, adaptability, accessibility and lifetime value in New Zealand homes.
The building sector’s equivalent to Tourism New Zealand’s Qualmark, the Lifemark is awarded to homes which meet 33 design features including a level entry, widened doors and passageways, all aimed at making the house accessible for everyone and easy to adapt as residents’ needs change over time.
The entrance is designed to give you seamless and trouble free access while the well-lit and generous doorways make it easy for parents carrying children and shopping from the car or for older people using a walking aid.
In the kitchen, the busy area of the home, the emphasis is on safety as well as convenience. They’re great working spaces without being relegated to a thoroughfare. There is enough space around appliances and cupboards to move around easily while the layout, fixtures and fittings all help you to cook and clean in comfort even when using a mobility device or wheelchair.
The living room is designed for everyone in the family to enjoy whatever their age or mobility. Switches, power sockets and other controls are at a handy height in order to avoid unnecessary bending or reaching.
In multi-storey homes, provision is allowed for the future installation of a lift and stairs are wide, with weight-bearing handrails on both sides.
The bathroom comes prepared for the future and is designed and equipped to change and adapt to suit your needs as they change. The strengthened walls are ready to be fitted with a handrail and the shower is large enough to fit a shower seat. If parents visit, or someone in your family is temporarily disabled, there’s very little extra effort to accommodate them.
Finally in the bedroom: the space makes it easy to move around so parents can help children, people using wheelchairs can manoeuvre and there’s space for your walking frame right by your bedside.
Lifetime Design independently assesses house plans and designs against the relevant LifeStandard and designs that are approved by Lifetime Design are eligible to apply to use the Lifemark seal of approval.
Shared Space refers to areas (entrance, rubbish disposal, laundry, etc.) that are intended to be used by the people from more than one dwelling.
To meet the LifeStandard the design must demonstrate that each Purpose has been achieved and that the minimum Lifetime Design Acceptable Solutions have been met. This can be done either by adopting an Acceptable Solution provided or by proposing an alternative solution that achieves the equivalent of the Acceptable Solutions outlined below.