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  Universal Design Further Information

New Zealand resources

Several New Zealand resources promote and assist universal design in its various forms and provide complementary information to this site:

Lifemark Design. An independent, not-for-profit advocate to improve New Zealand housing, providing design solutions for the ageing population. They have a common-sense design standard called Lifemark™, which provides an award for homes that meet specific design criteria.

Barrier Free NZ. A charitable trust that provides advice, support and training to help ensure built environments are accessible for everyone, through education and training, provision of technical advice, research and advocacy.

Enable NZ. Delivers a range of contracted services for the Ministry of Health and for some other District Health Boards. Services include: equipment and housing modification; disability information and advisory; needs assessment and short-term loan equipment.

Good Homes. Provides smart checklist-based tools to help older people assess what repairs and maintenance work needs to be done and who the best person is to do it; for the householder, the service provider and the housing provider.

NZS 4121:2001 Design for access and mobility: Buildings and associated facilities. This freely downloadable standard provides guidance for those who are responsible for making buildings and facilities accessible to and fully usable by people who have disabilities. Although focused on providing dimensions and spaces for public and private accommodation, it can be usefully used in the design of homes. Also useful is the Standards NZ document  Safety in the Home.

Homestar. Administered by the New Zealand Green Building Council, HomestarTM is a comprehensive, national, voluntary residential rating tool that evaluates the environmental attributes of New Zealand's stand-alone homes in terms of energy, health and comfort, water, waste and more. 

ACC Injury Prevention. Tips on injury prevention in the home.  

Overseas resources

Many overseas websites promote and assist universal design in its various forms. These are some of the best free guidance documents:


Universal Housing Design Guidelines Fact Sheet

Australia-based. A reasonably comprehensive, 60-page, freely downloadable fact sheet. Includes guidelines for the design of detached and semi-detached houses, terraces and townhouses. The key design features and best practice principles in this guide are actually derived from the Australian standard for adaptable housing. Provides a series of ‘model houses' that incorporate the key features.


Livable Housing Design

Australia-based. A reasonably comprehensive, free resource that has been endorsed by industry, community and government, for all new housing in Australia. Structured around three performance levels - Silver, Gold and Platinum - which describe 16 livable design elements.


Housing for Older Canadians - The Definitive Guide to the Over-55 Market

Canada-based. Developed by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation to address the housing needs of Canadians aged 55 and older. Provides a variety of resources in five volumes, covering: trends in seniors' housing; planning and developing a housing project; design guidance; and principles for providing services and amenities within housing developments.



Building for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach

Ireland-based. Centre for Excellence in Universal Design's highly comprehensive best practice guide on how to design, build and manage buildings so that they can be readily accessed and used by everyone. Comprising 10 self-contained booklets, each downloadable individually. Includes an extensive index and terminology.


Practical Guide to Universal Home Design

USA-based. Produced by the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology. Only 20 pages, but provides a room-by-room checklist for those who are buying, remodeling or building. The checklist helps the user to consider their options and increase the ease and flexibility of their home. Checklist divides features into those that are essential and those that are worth considering. Includes some outdoor features.