ARTICLE Andrew Olsen

Generally speaking it is easier to incorporate design features that allow for accessibility when building a new home. However, depending on your floor plan and how much space you have available, a concrete floor is not a restriction when redesigning your bathroom.

There are a number of companies who specialise in grinding concrete floor slabs to allow for drainage gradient and level entry to a shower, be this tiled or specialised safety vinyl.

Apart from including a level entry or curbless shower, there are other key elements you need to consider when designing an accessible bathroom: a minimum clear opening of 810 millimetres doorway to allow for wheelchair or walker access, unobstructed access to the toilet, and strengthened walls to allow for the future installation of handrails and a shower seat, if these are not already included in the initial design.

In terms of your kitchen, the key thing to consider is enough space around appliances and cupboards a 1,500 millimetre-turning circle), and easy reach of fixtures and fittings. As a general rule of thumb lever handles should be used on all doors and power sockets should be located away from corners and sited between 600 and 1,000 millimetres from the floor.

The Lifemark Design Standards are your best reference, with clear construction and design considerations to ensure you are designing an accessible bathroom, now and into the future.

Read more advice on universal design by reading our article on Future-proofing your home.

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This expert advice by Andrew Olsen featured on page 41 of Issue 005 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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