What Is Adaptable Living?

With plenty of interest surrounding NDIS which is the National Disability Insurance Scheme, we thought this would be a great opportunity to explain how the Independent Builders Network Adaptable Living housing works.  Below we have the most commonly asked questions.

1. What is Adaptable Living?

The Independent Builders Network has been introduced to what we call Adaptable Living Homes following the Livable Housing Australia guidelines. These guidelines are about making homes easier to access, navigate through and live in.  By doing this as part of the building process we are providing a more cost-effective way to adapt to changes in life and make it easier to change your home to suit, as opposed to changing afterwards which can be a very costly experience.


2.   What are the benefits of building an Adaptable Living home?

Homes will be designed with comfort, safety and ease of access as core design features. These features make it easier for parents to manoeuvre prams, easier to carry the shopping into the house, easier for people with a disability or temporary injury to move around.

These features will allow key living spaces to be more easily and cost-effectively adapted to meet the changing needs and abilities of home occupants such as ageing baby boomers and people who have or acquire a disability.

·       Easy to enter

·       Easy to navigate in and around

·       Capable of easy and cost-effective adaptation

·       Responsive to the changing needs of home occupants

3. Can anyone build an Adaptable Living home?

IBN members are being provided with group training from external registered experts who specialise in this area of domestic construction. These members are also being provided training on the Livable Housing Design Guidelines promoted Livable Housing Australia. IBN is working with an external architecture and drafting company to provide a new range of house plans as well as modifying a selection of exiting plans to meet the Livable Housing Design Guidelines

4.  Can only specific designs be used to build an Adaptable Living home?

There are three performance levels designs being implemented by IBN to meet the Livable Housing Design Guidelines

Silver Level

Seven Core livable housing design elements

Focuses on the key structural and spatial elements that are critical to ensure future flexibility and adaptability of the home. Incorporating these features will avoid more costly home modification if required at a later date.

Gold Level

Enhanced requirements from most of the core livable housing design elements plus additional elements.

The gold level provides for more generous dimensions for the core livable housing elements and introduces additional elements in areas such as the kitchen and bedroom.

Platinum Level

Some further enhanced requirements for the core livable housing design elements plus all remaining elements.

All 15 elements are featured in the platinum level. This level describes design elements that would better accommodate ageing in place and people with higher mobility needs. This level requires more generous dimensions for most of the core livable design elements and introduces additional elements for features such as the living room and flooring.

5.  What is the difference between a standard home and an Adaptable Living home?

The core elements that differentiate between standard and adaptable living homes can be summarised as follows

1. A safe continuous and step fee path of travel from the street entrance and/or parking area to dwelling entrance that is level

2. At least one, level (step-free) entrance into the dwelling.

3. Internal doors and corridors that facilitate comfortable and unimpeded movement between spaces.

4. A toilet on the ground (or entry) level that provides easy access.

5. A bathroom that contains a hobless shower recess.

6. Reinforced walls around the toilet, shower and bath to support the safe installation of grabrails at a later date.

7. Stairways are designed to reduce the likelihood of injury and enable future adaption

6.  Do I need a specific block type to build an Adaptable Living home?

Although there are no specific guidelines it is highly recommended that block types should be as level as possible.

7.   Would I be eligible for financial assistance by building an Adaptable Living home?

Supports funded by the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can assist participants to live independently. This includes:

Supports that build people's capacity to live independently in the community, supports to improve living skills, money and household management, social and communication skills and behavioural management

Home modifications to the participant's own home or a private rental property and on a case-by-case basis in social housing

The NDIS may also contribute to the cost of accommodation in situations where the participant has a need for specialised housing due to their disability.

The NDIS will only fund Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) when it is a reasonable and necessary support for a participant due to extreme functional impairment or very high support needs, in accordance with the SDA Rules (2016).

8.  Is the process of applying for a home loan the same?

Adaptable Living homes are designed to be more versatile, to better meet the changing needs of the occupants over their lifetime and as such there would not be any change in the process for applying for a home loan.

9. Can I be an investor in an Adaptable Living home?

There are no restrictions on investors building homes that meet the Livable Housing Guidelines.

In fact, the Federal Government is relying on the private sector to help provide the needed housing required to support those families covered by the NDIS and Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

SDA refers to specialist accommodation for people who require integrated housing and independent living supports. It is generally for people with very high support needs. While most NDIS participants will have their housing needs met through options delivered by the jurisdiction in which they live, historically SDA was, and still is, in short supply.

The NDIA estimates that around 6 percent of total NDIS participants currently around 28,000 people will require SDA. To meet this level of demand, the supply and availability of SDA need to grow. To support this the funding available to participants for SDA has been designed to attract investment.

At full Scheme, total funding for SDA is expected to be around $700 million per year. This level of funding is expected to lead to investment in the development of new high quality, fit-for-purpose SDA which will increase availability.

All investors should undertake their own due diligence.

10.  What do I need to do to find out more about Adaptable Living?

Over the coming months, IBN will provide training and insight to its members on Adaptable Living Homes, as well as producing a range of plans accommodating to this change in building practice. To find out more about Adaptable Living Homes please contact 1300 IBN NET (1300 426 638).