Discussion paper

Universal housing, universal benefits

A VCOSS discussion paper on universal housing regulation in Victoria
Housing Australia
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Universal Housing, Universal Benefits is about the provision of appropriate, whole-of- life housing that is accessible to and meets the future needs of all Victorians.

Universal housing is housing designed to be used by all people to the greatest extent possible. Homes designed to a universal standard are liveable for the majority of the population and accommodate whatever comes along in life easily and inexpensively.

Given challenges such as Victoria’s ageing population, together with the varying needs across the whole community including those experienced by people with disabilities, families with young children and those suffering chronic illness or short term injury there are social and economic imperatives for the Victorian Government to act now to address universal housing requirements.

International experience shows the most effective strategies for increasing universal housing stock include the adoption of elements of universal design into planning and building codes and strongly enforced building regulations.

International and Australian experience also indicates that if regulation were implemented, the costs of the mandated (universal housing) features would decrease with competition and bulk purchasing as they became standard across the construction industry. Standardisation across designers and architects would also reduce costs.

In addition to the relatively moderate direct costs of mandating universal design features in future housing, there are significant social and economic benefits.

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