What will a Multi-level home with Universal Design look like?

Building a home isn’t always a quick and easy process. Sometimes it takes a few years to achieve something beautiful. We recently awarded a Lifemark® 4-Star provisional rating to a multi storey home in Whitianga, Coromandel.

A provisional rating is awarded in accordance with detailed drawings meeting Lifemark®’s initial Universal Design standards.

This home isn’t scheduled to be completed until August 2022, but the images give you a sense as to how amazing it will look!

Key Universal Design features in this potential build include great access & circulation with wide doorways and hallways and a level transition from the home to outdoor patio.

Level entry to deck patio & task lighting over kitchen benches 

The pathway to the home will have a maximum slope of 1:16, the kitchen incorporates task lighting above all benches, light switches aligned with door handles and walls reinforced for future grab-rail installation.

Level entry to the left as you exit the front door


John Ottaway (Designer of the home and Managing Director at DataPlan Waikato) also knows a home can achieve great aesthetics and Universal Design outcomes.

 “All great architecture is a balance of form and function and providing a Lifemark® Universal Designed home is no barrier to making a home look beautiful,  I want my clients to have the best of both worlds, both exceptional functionality provided by the Lifemark® standards and a wonderful aesthetic that they can be proud of.”

John also said a Lifemark® rating will add real value to this home

“It just makes the home a much more pleasant environment to be in.  It doesn’t matter at what stage of life or ability you are, there is something of value for everyone.”


Perhaps the most important Universal Design feature of a multi-level home like this is the S Series Powerglide lift that has been specified.

Example of a Powerglide S Series lift that is specified for this home

Powerglide is a Product Partner of Lifemark®. Lifts assist with Universal Design; they can provide great access to a multi-storey dwelling not only for people of all abilities, but for ease of moving furniture etc.

A lift will make a home fully accessible and usable in the event the homeowner, or one of their friends or family, becomes physically unable to use stairs easily. We just don’t know what challenges in life we may encounter, so designing with accessibility in mind is important.

Lifemark® is seeing an increased desire by prospective multi-storey home builders to make provisions for or even install a lift at the build stage.

This is evident in the Thames Coromandel (TCDC) region, an area where many homes are achieving Lifemark® certification. Of the 28 multi-storey homes in TCDC that have achieved a Lifemark® provisional rating or final Lifemark® certification, 18 have ensured provisions for a lift or installed one.

The Lifemark® team are very happy to see people are starting to consider lifts as an option on a more regular basis. We asked Allan Fullerton Co-founder and Sales manager at Powerglide what he thought of this?

“Lifts are becoming much more popular nationwide, and highly desirable in retirement areas. When a multi-tenancy home is being built a lift is a key consideration to future proof a home.” Allan said

Another Powerglide S Series Lift example

Allan also thinks “the best/most cost effective time to install a lift is during the build of a home, and it needs to be included in the preliminary drawings of the home to ensure sufficient space is provided (you may need a lot less space than you think).

The best location for a lift is to have it opening into common areas (hallway, living or dining room, etc.) and if most of your living is done on a different floor from where you park your car then having the lift opening into the garage makes bringing groceries, luggage, etc, into the main area of the home much easier.”

The team at Lifemark® can’t wait to see this home completed and achieve a final Lifemark® rating.

For now, DataPlan Waikato have provided a 360 Panorama set so you can have a virtual tour and experience what this home will look like.


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