t is exciting to report that we attended the NSW Disability Access Inclusion Awards on 21 June 2017 as a nominee, and came away a winner!
We were part of the Summer Foundation’s team as the access consultant, with MSM & Associates as the architect, Base Build as the builder and Connectability as the project manager for their Hunter Housing Demonstration Project. In winning the residential category, this project is recognised as a superior example of a housing model for people with a disability instead of looking to minimum requirements of adaptable housing.
The development in Belmont NSW comprises 110 residential units and the Summer Foundation purchased 11 of these off the plan, ten of which now incorporate accessible, adaptable, universal and inclusive design elements and are rented to people with a disability. The extra unit accommodates support workers around the clock who are linked to tenants through communication technology.
The design incorporated minimum circulation spaces for the living area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, laundry and at doorways. It then went further by considering specialised elements such as adjustable height kitchen benches with knee clearance beneath them, folding shower screens to retain circulation spaces yet offer protection from splashing, adjustable height bathroom sink, level transition to balconies and technology to offer a variety of options for controls of doors, windows, communication and emergency alerts.
One key innovative design feature is flexible plumbing behind a nib wall to enable relocation of the toilet pan and suit left or right handed transfers. The Summer Foundation have published a resource regarding all the specialised design considerations to encourage others to replicate this model of housing which not only proves highly beneficial for the residents but can be financially beneficial to developers. There is also a video showcasing these features. This project raises the bar for residential developments when it comes to access and inclusion!
It is an honour to be acknowledged amongst the calibre of other nominees and winners. For the non-residential category, the team for Action Stations was recognised and for the outdoor public domain space category, the team for Wet’n’Wild Sydney was recognised. Congratulations to these winners and to all the nominees who advocate for accessibility beyond the minimum standards.
Thank-you to the sponsors, Family and Community Services and the Association of Consultants in Access Australia, for offering this opportunity.