Focus on Universal Design

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Why HPI developments value the principles of Universal Design

New homes that have been certified with the new Home Performance Index (HPI) give homebuyers and planning authorities a unique assurance, that the home has really been designed with care. Did you know that there is a 60% chance that a new home will be occupied by a person with some form of disability at some stage? HPI encourages the designer to consider this from the early stages of designing the home.

Embracing flexibility in design is known as Universal Design.  We provide Universal Design checklists for the designer to consider at the design stage, issues such as clever use of limited space designed for multi-purposes. This works for young families who need ease of movement for strollers,for children’s play areas, or for extra storage or shelving space, and it also works for wheelchairs and double buggies. It is also important to consider in the approach to the home, such as easy, safe, access from the immediate neighbourhood to the entrance to the home.

What is a Universally Designed house?

Universal Design is the design of a house, so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. When an environment is accessible, usable and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits.

We are lucky in Ireland to have the Irish Centre for Excellence for Universal Design. The Centre has recently published the Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland as a first step in the process of raising awareness about Universal Design. Their aim is to inspire people to think differently about the benefits of Universally Designed homes and the potential opportunity to address some of the global challenges society faces.We were delighted to work with them in the development of the Home Performance Index to include Universal Design.

Find out more about these guidelines that will enhance the quality of life for everyone in their homes here.