Now that’s a first! A Lifemark® 5-Star home in Manawatu.


  •  Outdoor sensor lighting

Last year we had our first private residential dwelling in the Manawatu achieve a Lifemark® 5-Star Certification.
Brian and Patricia’s home is a great example of a home that allows you to age in place. We asked them how they like their new home and found the process working with Lifemark®.

Why did you decide to get your home Lifemark® Certified?

“As an older couple, we were planning our downsized retirement home and wanted to future proof it for any frailties, limitations or disabilities that might arise in the final phase of our lives. Although we are both active and mobile at the moment we realise that these are not guaranteed into the future. The section we have is in a location we really like as it is close to the city centre and a large park and garden area, so we want to be able to live in this location for as long as possible.’’

“We knew about Lifemark® and decided that using the standards would be really helpful in guiding us to consider things we wouldn’t have thought of or anticipated as features for our future. We also felt that having a Lifemark® Certificate would add value when we eventually came to sell the house.’’

  • Colour contrasting light switches on both sides of the bed 

How did you find the process working with Lifemark® during the early design stage?

‘’Adam and the team gave us useful advice and clarification as we needed it. Together with our builder, the three parties made an ideal team to achieve our goal.’’

“We’re really pleased that we engaged with the Lifemark® office during the design stage. Our house is small (150 sq m) and some of the spaces were too small to meet the standards. It was a simple matter with our draughtsman-designer to move the positions of walls on the plans to meet the standards. Our single garage was an example, that needed to be 100mm wider to meet the standard for ease of access either side of a car. We were building on a level section, so access through entrances was not an issue.’’

What changes were made to this home to enable it to meet Lifemark®’s 5-Star Certification?

‘’From the beginning of the design process we were clear with our designer that the basic standards for doorway widths, passage width, entrance way and a wet floor bathroom should be the starting points. We made changes to standardise the heights of door handles and light switches and raised our power point outlets from the skirting level. We had outside sensor activated lights previously but having sensor lighting in our bathroom and bedroom passage makes moving around at night very easy.’’

Having lots of drawers in the kitchen suited our preference and our kitchen designer was happy to design to the Lifemark® Design Standards.


  • Drawers below the bench are easy for all to reach and even better with D-Shaped handles

Has a Lifemark® Certification improved the usability and liveability of your home?

“We’re delighted with our new home and feel that it will continue to prove easy to live in as we age. It is convenient and a joy to live in.’’

It is great news to us that this home has more than satisfied the needs of Brian and Patricia and we are happy that they have been able to achieve their goals with this home.

  • Level entry into a home creates ease of access and exit for all.

As we have mentioned at the start, this is the first private dwelling in Palmerston North that has achieved a Lifemark® Certification.

According to Statistics New Zealand, 13 %of Palmerston North’s population is over the age of 65.

One home is a start, but what if the rest of your ageing population want to age in place?
Palmerston North has a very flat typography as Brian and Patricia referred to “We were building on a level section, so access through entrances was not an issue”.

A flat typography is a head start for those wanting to incorporate UD, especially from an access perspective.

We hope to see more Palmerston North residences with Universal Design features incorporated in the future; especially after learning of the delight Brian and Patricia have achieved in their home.

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