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Accessible housing

Permanently Unable to Work cover can provide you a lump sum payment to help with home modifications required to make your home accessible in the event of an accident or illness.

An accessible home is one that is convenient and easy to live in no matter your level of mobilityi. For some people with sensory or motor disability, getting around the home can be difficult. While public premises have certain accessibility requirements as set out in the Building Code of Australiaii, these are not always considered in the design and construction of a private homeiii. In the event that your or a family member's mobility needs change, you may have to make modifications to your home to make it safer and more accessible.

Accessible homes provide a safer living environment for people with mobility and sensory difficulties.

An accessible home

Here are some design features you should consider when making your home more accessible for a person with impaired mobility. Keep in mind that the cost for these features can vary considerably depending on a number of factors, including the choice of materials, method of construction, the size of the job, as well as choice of builders or renovatorsiv.

  • Accessible path of travel - There should be an unobstructed path of travel from the street entrance and/or parking area to a dwelling entrance that is level (step-free). The slope of the path should not exceed a 1 in 20 gradientv.
  • Level entry - Make sure there is at least one level entrance into the dwelling. The gradient of the entry should not be greater than 1 in 14vi.
  • Hand/grab rails - Ramps with more than a 1 metre rise should be fixed with handrails. Rails should be fitted between 865mm - 1000mm off the ground and extend a minimum of 300mm beyond the end of the rampvii.
  • Doors, doorways and corridors - There should be ample space for wheelchair access in doorways and corridors. A minimum clearance width of a door is 850mmviii. Widening doorways can be costly, especially if you need to shift electrical light switches or internal wiring in order to make the adjustments.
  • Layout and space - If a member of your family uses a wheelchair, the entry level of the home (ground floor) should be equipped with a food preparation area, accessible bathroom, toilet and bedroomvii that allows easy wheelchair access. The bathroom should contain a step-free shower recess and the walls around the toilet, shower or bath area should be reinforced, so that hand/grab rails can be safely installed. Remember that certain modifications you make to and around your house may require approval from your local council.
  • Fittings - fittings around the home should be at a height that is within reach for all potential users. Fittings include power points, door handles and light switches. The Australian Standards recommend that power points and light switches be placed at least 500mm from an internal corner and between 900mm and 1100mm highviii.
Bathrooms and toilets should have hand/grab rails installed on the walls for easy access.

If you or a family member's motor or sensory abilities become impaired due to illness or accident, you may need to make these changes to your home so that it is safe and easy to get around. Without adequate savings or insurance, these modifications can put significant financial stress on a household. The Permanently Unable to Work cover, also known as Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) cover, from Allianz provides a lump sum payment in the event that you are permanently unable to work due to sickness or injury. This cover can provide for medical treatment or ongoing care as well as help pay for home modifications that are required.


i Building Commission, 2010, Visitable and Adaptable Features in Housing Fact Sheet, Regulatory Impact Statement, Victorian State Government, http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CE8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.buildingcommission.com.au%2Fresources%2Fdocuments%2FAccessibility_RIS_DRAFT_Fact_Sheet_1812091.doc&ei=pGXyT-H4F6ipiAf1n9nSAw&usg=AFQjCNHFDh6oD9-eKRrx9g0FQfVhid5kPA, p.1

ii Australian Building Codes Board, 2011, The Building Code of Australia, http://www.abcb.gov.au/en/about-the-national-construction-code/the-building-code-of-australia

iii Queensland Government, Accessible home renovations, http://www.qld.gov.au/disability/community/accessible-places/

iv Consumer Affairs Victoria, 2010, Building and renovating A guide for consumers, http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/library/publications/housing-and-accommodation/building-and-renovating/building-and-renovating-a-guide-for-consumers.pdf, p.6

v Victorian Government, 2008, Accessible Housing Checklist, http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.moreland.vic.gov.au%2Fmccwr%2Fpublications%2Fbrochures-factsheets-guidelines%2Fchecklist-accessible-housing-disability.doc&ei=m1_yT828MKSsiAeV5vmuAw&usg=AFQjCNGtMhRaHfWmKzJqYn3u1q6SY6NOHA

vi Victorian Government, 2008, Accessible Housing Checklist, http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.moreland.vic.gov.au%2Fmccwr%2Fpublications%2Fbrochures-factsheets-guidelines%2Fchecklist-accessible-housing-disability.doc&ei=m1_yT828MKSsiAeV5vmuAw&usg=AFQjCNGtMhRaHfWmKzJqYn3u1q6SY6NOHA, p.1

vii Victorian Government, 2008, Accessible Housing Checklist, http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.moreland.vic.gov.au%2Fmccwr%2Fpublications%2Fbrochures-factsheets-guidelines%2Fchecklist-accessible-housing-disability.doc&ei=m1_yT828MKSsiAeV5vmuAw&usg=AFQjCNGtMhRaHfWmKzJqYn3u1q6SY6NOHA, p.3

viii Victorian Government, 2008, Accessible Housing Checklist, http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CFEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.moreland.vic.gov.au%2Fmccwr%2Fpublications%2Fbrochures-factsheets-guidelines%2Fchecklist-accessible-housing-disability.doc&ei=m1_yT828MKSsiAeV5vmuAw&usg=AFQjCNGtMhRaHfWmKzJqYn3u1q6SY6NOHA, p.2


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Important note:
The insurance is issued by Allianz Australia Life Insurance Limited ABN 27 076 033 782, AFSL 296559. The information contained on this website is general information only. It does not take into account your individual objectives or financial situation. You should therefore consider the appropriateness of the insurance having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. Prior to making any decision you should read the Allianz Life Plan Product Disclosure Statement and Policy Document (PDS). You should seek advice from your financial adviser before deciding on appropriate insurance cover.