Section 1 Home Location and Approach

Universal Design Homes should be appropriate to their context and create a strong sense of place. Attention to detail and high quality materials are essential to ensure longevity of use. Well designed housing will be appreciated and treated well by the people who live there.

Section 2 Entering and Moving Around

Attention to detail, taking into consideration the different sizes and capabilities of people over their lifecycle, can make Universal Design Homes easy and safe to enter and move around for everyone. Good design decisions can allow the home to adapt to changing requirements over time.

Section 3 Spaces for Living

Living areas should be large enough for furniture to be arranged in different ways, and with enough clear, unobstructed space for movement and activities. Thoughtful design decisions can ensure that spaces are easier for everyone to use, and provide flexibility for future adaptations.

Section 4 Elements and Systems

The building elements and systems should create a comfortable home that is easy to manage and understand, and affordable to run. The UD Home should promote well-being and good health, and anticipate the changing needs of diverse occupants, including children and older people.

Section 5 Floor Plan Examples

The following section shows indicative floor plans for a variety of unit types, that show the implications of the guidelines in a practical and visual way.

Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland Appendices

Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland

These Home Design Guidelines are a first step in the process of raising awareness and inspiring people to think differently about the benefits of Universally Designed homes and the potential opportunity to address some of the global challenges society faces by future-proofing our homes through embracing Universal Design thinking.

When home environments are people-centred in design, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. Simply put, Universal Design is good design.

The guidelines are informed by research, a literature review of national and international best practice and guidance and a consultation process with key stakeholders. Universal Design Home design builds upon social and technological advancements in Ireland and internationally. The consultation process with stakeholders that informs these guidelines highlighted a need for better quality housing design for everyone in Ireland for the future.

The Design Guidelines are not intended to be overly prescriptive, but provide a flexible framework for designers to apply the guidelines creatively to all new home types through incremental steps described as UD Homes and UD Homes +. For wheelchair liveable homes, UD Home+ guidelines should be applied. Residential developments incorporating Universal Design Homes should include homes designed to both the UD Home and UD Home+ (wheelchair liveable) levels.

Although the guidelines enhance quality of life for everyone in their homes, they would not necessarily meet every need to accommodate an individual’s personal factors, circumstance or choice. Therefore UD Home ++ guidance and design tips are also provided to raise awareness and assist in person-centred design. For example, where the future occupant of a home is known, there should be direct consultation with them so that their needs and preferences can be incorporated into the design from the outset.

Note: The Universal Design Guidelines for Homes in Ireland supersede the content on Housing in in Section 7.12 of Building for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach, 7 Building Types.