Universal Design and Paeroa!

Paeroa township, Artzentao photography

Hauraki District Council is a small council in the Waikato region with just over 20,000 people living in a district that stretches from the shelly beaches of Kaiaua and Pukorokoro / Miranda along the Firth of Thames in Tikapa Moana (the Hauraki Gulf) to the white sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean at Whiritoa.
The Hauraki District like many others in New Zealand has an ageing population. 21.9 % of people in the district are aged 65 years and over. (2013 census/ demographic profile)

Universal Design (UD) in homes supports our ageing population as they deliver, safe, accessible, adaptable features that support the independent living of an elderly occupant.

Lifemark® have recently been reviewing the early designs of many new minor dwellings in the Hauraki District. These minor dwellings are looking to achieve UD outcomes and final Lifemark® Certification.

We found out this is due to a special initiative the Hauraki District Council have in their district plan for housing. This initiative is to incentivise builders of minor dwellings in their district to achieve Lifemark® Certifications and in turn UD which is amazing to see!

We asked Peter Thom, The Hauraki District Council Group Manager of Community Development to explain this a little more.

So, what is this special incentive?

Our minor dwelling policy has extra site coverage available for homes that achieve a Lifemark® Rating, this recognises that we need to be designing homes that cater for the needs of the elderly and disabled people in our communities.”
Says Peter Thom,

“Our Council incorporated it into the District Plan in June 2019 following public feedback on proposed plan changes.” Says Peter.

The Lifemark® team have just provisionally rated their first Hauraki District minor dwelling under this initiative.
Ray of Arc Consulting had the first minor dwelling in the district provisionally Lifemark® rated and enjoyed working with the Lifemark® team on his project.

“This was a rare opportunity for me to go through my work comprehensively in terms of Lifemark® documentation and details etc. I learned a lot from this, and it helped improve my skills and knowledge. Your effort and support are appreciated!” Said Ray.

Concept Design of Arc Consulting minor dwelling

We can’t wait to issue a final Lifemark® Certification once the home is built!

So why did the Hauraki District Council initiate this incentive to achieve Lifemark® Certification in the first place?

“Our Council values the creation of healthy homes for its communities and the Lifemark® certification is viewed as being conducive to improving quality of life for users of minor dwellings, particularly disabled people or the elderly.” Says Peter

Hauraki is most famous for Paeroa where the beloved Kiwi drink L&P is from. But perhaps they should be ‘World famous in NZ’ for delivering Universal Design in housing! It’s Awesome to see councils like Hauraki District incorporating UD into housing policy and incentivising it to be delivered. What better way to ensure safe and healthy homes are built in your community and your district, ka pai!

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