Accessing the Home

Collecting, analyzing and creating a centralized record of the Home Renovation scheme reports - which represent a comprehensive record of Victoria's housing stock for people with a disability or age-related restrictions.

From 1999 to 2016 the Department of Health and Human Services funded the ‘Home Renovation Scheme’ which provided an architect and occupational therapist to visit a client’s home and conduct an assessment focusing on access and safety, but also including general maintenance, energy efficiency and details of the dwellings construction, condition and age.

A report was generated for each inspection which included architectural drawings (of hand-rails or ramps for example), approximate costings and details on the type of builder that was suitable to perform any work suggested. The scheme did not fund any actual building work, that was left to the client. At the peak of the program around 4,000 inspections were being conducted annually. These reports represent a comprehensive, contemporary, and unique record of Victoria’s housing stock viewed through the prism of suitability and safety for people with a disability or age-related restrictions.

The combination of existing building assessment, architectural drawings of suggested modifications, and costings offers the prospect of empirical and statistically viable data on the scale of need for housing modification and the potential costs associated.

This data is essential for any cost-benefit analysis on the long-term benefits of an insurance-style scheme to reduce service costs by enabling people to be more independent in their own homes.

The first phase of the project concentrates on locating, collecting, and transferring to a database the reports (hard copy pre-2011 and electronic post-2011), currently in possession of the around 30 architects who were contracted to conduct the assessments.

Research Team:
Dr. Andrew Martel, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne

Ms. Mary Ann Jackson, Managing Director, Visionary Design Development Pty Ltd, PhD Candidate, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Deakin University