A smile and an Accessible property, what could be better? 😊

A Lifemark® certified home can be life changing, as it is designed to support the needs and independent living of an occupant. But even better it can put a smile on the face of the person that calls it home!

Eight public housing units in Mt Maunganui built for Accessible Properties recently achieved Lifemark® 4-Star Certifications for Universal Design levels that best support an aging occupant with changing needs.

Accessible Properties is a member of the IHC Group that provides good quality, affordable homes, and property management services to people with disabilities, older people, and those on low incomes. They have a strong focus on delivering Universal Design in their housing and have been very busy working with Lifemark® to achieve UD on multiple developments.

Eight Accessible Properties’ public housing units achieved Lifemark® 4-Star Certifications.

As everyone in the building industry can attest to, it can be a long time between the conception of a project and project completion. Lifemark® first reviewed the design of these Accessible Properties units, built by Classic Builders, in 2019.

In February this year, one year and six months later the eight units achieved final certification and the Lifemark® team were thrilled to receive this happy photo from the team at Accessible Properties.

Steve at his new home.

They say a picture paints a thousand words and this one really can tell us a lot about Universal Design.
Steve lives in one of these eight units with his wife Robyn.

Steve and Robyn are both profoundly deaf, and as you can see, Steve uses a walker to get around due to his limited mobility.

Having a level entrance “ is very good and makes all the difference ” says Steve.
With level entry, he can walk independently in and out of his own home.

A ‘level entrance’ like this is a great example of future proofing for a wide range of changing needs!

Universal Design is also evident in Steve and Robyn’s bathroom.

While the level entry shower makes showering easy with Steve able to “get into the shower and stand up with ease.” say’s Robyn.

The added grab rail allows this with more confidence.

Steve and Robyn’s bathroom

Steve and Robyn say they now “have a home that allows them to live independently and happily.”

Dave Orrell the Project Manager of Tauranga Reconfiguration for Accessible Properties; was involved in the design of these eight units, he said it was very easy to incorporate Universal Design.

It was easy for the designers to incorporate Universal Design into these units, especially when we had already specified a number of the Lifemark® requirements into our standard house design plans e.g. wider hallways, 860 doors, lever handles, and tapware. Working with Lifemark®’s standards is like baking a cake – If you have a good recipe stick with it!”

Said Dave

Light switches level with door handles (and contrasting light switch plates), make it instinctively easier to open a door and locate the switch, even in the dark.

Accessible Properties have had “amazing feedback, eight very happy tenants have some form of disability. Deafness, wheelchair users, and others with temporary mobility impairments. All the tenants have come from 1950 circa uninsulated, small non user-friendly units and they love their brand-new homes. They are especially rapt about the room sizes and living space in some of the units and extra-large wet area bathrooms.” Says Dave

Steve and Robyn’s Kitchen

It’s great that Accessible Properties know “Universal Design is such an important contributor in helping them create homes and communities where tenants can belong and thrive.”.

Lifemark® look forward to our continued partnership and work with Accessible Properties on public housing projects across the country.

This work will truly make a difference and change the lives of many New Zealanders, and what better way to evaluate its success than to be rewarded with a smile from someone.  A smooth and harmonious transition!

Level pathways also lead up to the entrances of these homes


These eight units were built by Classic Builders for Accessible Properties

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