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Taupo home incorporates mobility needs into design

2 April 2015

When building their Taupo holiday home, Rochelle and Dean Jones had one goal in mind – it had to be adaptable to meet the physical needs of family and friends.

A lift was installed, entrances and hallways were made wider and level-entry showers were included to ensure Dean’s father, who has had a stroke, and the couple’s friends in wheelchairs could stay in comfort.

The practice of building adaptable homes to cater for diverse and changing needs is expected to become more commonplace in New Zealand, according to BRANZ – an independent research and information company for the building industry.

“Having older and multiple generations under a single roof means homes must not only provide enough space for everyone…they must be readily adaptable to changing mobility and access needs of occupants over the years,” says the organisation in its bi-monthly publication, Build.

For Rochelle and Dean, it was a no-brainer.

“It was very important to us that friends and family who have physical disabilities can enjoy the house just as much as we can,” says Rochelle.

“I think future-proofing a home and including versatile spaces is particularly important, because there are a lot more people with disability and access issues than people realise.”
A new home has a 60 percent probability that someone with a permanent disability will live in it during its expected 80-year lifetime, according to Australian researcher Dr Jane Bringolf.

Top 10 national building company Generation Homes built the Taupo house for Rochelle and Dean, using elements from its ‘Generation for Life’ service. The property will act as a for the next 12 months, allowing the public to view its unique design features.

Generation Homes Taupo director Paul Marshall says the Generation for Life model, which can be applied to any of the company’s house plans, allows customers to create a home that suits a wide range of capabilities with minimal compromise.

“Wider hallways and doors, level-entry showers, ramped entrances and power points and light switches at a lower height are just some of the adjustments that can be incorporated into the finished design,” says Paul.

“Importantly, the home doesn’t need to look any different to a standard house.”

Rochelle and Dean’s lake view property is the first Generation Home to have a lift installed.

“We worked closely with Rochelle and Dean to ensure the needs of their family and friends were incorporated into the final design. The result is a beautiful home that is safer and more useable for all future occupants.”

Paul says building a home for life enables it to grow with you, rather than facing a tough decision down the road.

A Ministry of Social Development study revealed that it was 22 times more cost-effective to install universal d

esign features in a home during the build compared to retrofitting later. Universal design refers to a home’s ability to accom

modate people of different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities.  

This home has been built to meet specific family needs and won SILVER in the Master Builder House of the Year 2015 - Bay of Plenty/Central Plateau Region.