Unit 502 Ironbank, 150 Karangahape Rd,
Auckland, NZ

0800 227...

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Very few homes are designed to cater to older people, those with disabilities or families with young children. Many have architectural challenges such as steps and stairs, narrow halls and doorways, and other obstacles that make it difficult to manoeuvre around the home.

The Lifemark rating is awarded to new homes that meet the Lifemark Standards, based on design principles of adaptability, accessibility, usability, safety and lifetime value. The Lifemark home accreditation system is about forethought, planning and function.

A rating of either 3, 4 or 5 stars is awarded to a dwelling depending on how many of the Lifemark Standards are applied to the home. Lifemark Standards work with any design and any size home. It's about designing to have space in the right place.

Designing a home to be easier to use by all doesn’t mean it will look institutional or medical. Modifications can be made to the home that are both beautiful and functional.

Amongst New Zealand's ageing population, just 10 per cent of people move into a retirement home – with the majority wanting to stay in our own homes. But rarely are we thinking of our later years and the changes to our future lifestyles when caught up in the excitement of planning our house build. That’s where Lifemark gets involved.

The goal of Lifemark is to see a large scale shift in new housing design so that an increasing proportion of the New Zealand housing stock will be suitable for a growing proportion of older people. We believe the best way to achieve this is by focusing on the design features that cannot be changed later without major expense.

We have identified the key structural and spatial elements we believe are critical to put in place up front, during the house design stage, to ensure the future flexibility and adaptability of the home and then added some home safety standards that will prevent injuries as well as usability standards that will just make life easier.

The Lifemark Design Standards are the culmination of many years of New Zealand and international research and are based on an international movement toward Universal Design Principles. What is absolutely clear in New Zealand and internationally is that the size of the demographic shift over the next 20 years demands a large scale response now – with 1 in 5 people being over 65 by 2030. The vast majority of people want to stay living in the home and the neighbourhood they know, so it makes sense to ensure that mainstream housing meets the majority of their needs.

Jeremy Baker, from Glasshouse Property Management... “We chose Lifemark because we wanted to test the rental market for accessible homes and Lifemark was a good way for us to ensure the property was accessible and we had thought of everything, and it was also an easy way to communicate the nature of the property when we went to market with it. The property is located very close to Chartwell so it’s a great location with easy access to shops and transport. My Grandmother owns this property – so we also saw it as a good possible option for her if she needs something accessible in the coming years. We rented this place within a week, we actually had a lot of demand from the general public as well as people requiring accessible property. I would highly recommend doing this for other landlords, the cost is minimal and it ensures you get a well thought out house that’s a pleasure to live in. I do think there is a huge opportunity for private landlords to work with social housing providers who are always looking for suitable properties. There is certainly a much bigger role for private landlords to fulfil in providing this sort of accommodation over the coming years.”

Carolyn Gallagher, Housing Unit Manager, Christchurch City Council... "Tenants living in Christchurch City Council social housing units are some of the city's most vulnerable. It's important to the Council that all new units are warm, healthy and accessible for our tenants, as well as being the types of units they can call home for many years to come. The Council has partnered with Lifemark because we believe it's important to show leadership in this area. It also sends a clear message to the community that we are committed to providing the highest standards of accessible social housing in Christchurch."

Accredited Partners Genius Homes recommend Lifemark Lifemark is a great organisation that promotes housing that is more accessible and adaptable - making it easier for people with a disability or injury to live more comfortably in their houses now & in the future. Genius Homes offers house designs that use the Lifemark standards. We can customise any of our standard plans to meet the Lifemark Standards and make new homes more accessible and future proof for our customers with features like wet floor showers, ramp entryways & wider doors for disabled or wheel chair access.

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