The movement toward liveable housing design in Australia has received a significant boost as two major property and construction firms have committed to incorporating liveable housing guidelines in their apartment designs.

In its latest announcement, building giant Grocon says it will now build all of its residential developments to Livable Housing Design Guidelines – the company claiming to be the first real estate developer to make such a commitment.

Grocon has also signed on as a Platinum Corporate Partner with Liveable Housing Australia.

This follows the earlier announcement of a partnership LHA signed with Meriton Group, the nation’s largest property developer, under which the later agreed to champion best practice benchmarks in liveable design.

The recent announcements underscore the success of the design industry in getting buy-in from other sectors of the real estate, design and construction sector as well as community groups in its efforts to promote housing and apartment design which is safe, accessible and easy for those who are frail or of limited mobility to live in or visit.

Since its inception in 2011, corporate sponsors LHA have attracted include Lend Lease, Stockland, the Australian Institute of Architects, the Property Council of Australia and Master Builders Australia.

The efforts have also attracted widespread community support, with groups such as Achieve Australia, Council of the Aging and the Australian Human Rights Commission on board.

Describing its commitment as a “logical decision for our business,”  Grocon chief executive officer Carolyn Viney said the company’s move toward liveable design and would help ensure apartments built by the company would best meet the holistic needs of those who live there.

“The ultimate test of design excellence is a building’s ability to remain relevant,” Viney said. “Designing residential apartments that meet the changing needs of all of us throughout our lives is, in our view, an essential component of that relevance and points to functional brilliance.”

LHA’ executive director Amelia Starr welcomed both Grocon and Meriton’s commitment, describing the former’s commitment as “setting a new benchmark’ for the industry,” and that of the latter as “another step on the road toward industry adoption of the Liveable Housing Guidelines.”

“Grocon has been a long-term advocate and champion of livable design, and this commitment confirms their position as a leader in forward- thinking and socially-responsible development,” Starr said, referring specifically to Grocon’s commitment. “It takes a company with both vision and integrity to align itself to such an ambitious goal.”

Star said builders and developers were increasingly recognising business benefits in embracing liveable design.

“The leaders in the property and construction industry are embracing the guidelines because they know these simple and straightforward design features make a home easier to live in – and ultimately easier to sell,” she said.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison says leaders in the industry understand that safe and liveable homes are simply good design that meets the needs of all Australians.