Livable Housing Australia (LHA) was formed in 2011 as a partnership between community and consumer groups as well as government and industry.

The partnership arose from the Kirribili Dialogue on Universal Design for housing which was undertaken to assist with the formulation of a set of guidelines for the creation of more livable homes.

The Livable Housing Design Guidelines were consequently developed and promoted. These guidelines aim to produce homes which are easier and safer to use for all occupants including people with disabilities, older people, people with temporary disabilities and families with children. They state that a livable home must:

  • Be easy to enter and exit
  • Be easy to move around in
  • Be capable of easy and cost effective adaption
  • Anticipate and respond to the changing needs of home occupants

Three performance levels are identified under the guidelines: Silver, Gold and Platinum levels. Silver is the least onerous and focuses on key spatial elements allowing for future adaptability of the home at far lower cost to the occupant. Gold allows larger circulation to key areas within the home and extends to other areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. Platinum circulation requirements include further features such living room and flooring guidelines.

Earlier this year, LHA established a system of accreditation of homes under its published guidelines. LHA is responsible for the accreditation of dwellings under this system and grades buildings according to the performance level achieved. The LHA quality mark can then be used by the developer to assist with the marketing of their project.

LHA uses a number of registered assessors to assess and gather information regarding the proposed home in order to enable accreditation decisions to be made. Registered assessors have suitable prerequisite qualifications and experience, have completed approved training and have successfully undergone an exam to confirm their competency. They are directly appointed by applicants wishing to gain accreditation of a project.

Two stages of accreditation also apply within the process. A provisional quality mark can be gained for a project during the design phase. The final quality mark is only issued once the building has been completed and assessed by a registered assessor.

LHA envisages that by the year 2020, all new residential dwellings will achieve at least the Silver Level accreditation.