Demonstration House

Introduction

Existing houses in Indigenous communities can be poorly designed or poorly maintained.  Health hardware* may not be suitable for high house populations or the climate.  This can result in failure of the house to provide a habitable living environment for householders.

This project was established to develop a range of designs to construct prototype houses that demonstrate best practice in all aspects of design, construction and detailing.  Emphasis was placed on elements of the house that have the greatest impact on the health of occupants as defined by the National Indigenous Housing Guide ed 3.

*‘Health hardware’, a term first used by eye doctor Fred Hollows, is the physical equipment needed to give people access to the health-giving services of housing.

Identifying poor environments

Poor House

Progress: a typical house for an Indigenous family in Central Australia in 1985.

Temperate House

Existing house in warm temperate climate.

Designing for better health

Demo House2

Demo House3

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The problem

Poor House"Poor environmental and living conditions promote the spread of infectious diseases. To achieve good health outcomes, most houses in a community must have health hardware functioning most of the time. Houses must be designed well, soundly constructed and regularly maintained... ...Functioning health hardware and the capacity to perform Healthy Living Practices reduce the pool of infectious organisms and, therefore, rates of diarrhoeal disease, skin infection, pneumonia, eye infection and other transmissible diseases. These diseases are common in many Indigenous communities in remote areas." 

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The solution

Demo House2

This project was established to develop a range of designs to construct prototype houses that demonstrate best practice in all aspects of design, construction and detailing. Emphasis was placed on elements of the house that have the greatest impact on the health of occupants as defined by the National Indigenous Housing Guide ed 3.  

Demo House1House designs specifically targeted the adoption of all the knowledge & detailing developed under the FHBH R&D projects including: 

  • Prefabricated bathroom and laundry module
  • Prefabricated kitchen module (with Design Lab fit out)
  • Lighting 
  • Temperature Control
  • Yard Improvement
The project also identified other elements of the house that impact on use and developed alternative design options for trial including:
  • Doors, frames, panels and locking
  • Windows – light, privacy, fire egress and ventilation issues
  • Air conditioning installation
Demo House4

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Trial projects

Demo House45jpgA review was undertaken of projects that followed the first R&D project using prefabricated wet area modules in housing refurbishment programs. These included: 

  1. Larrapinta Town Camp, Alice Springs NT – with continued monitoring of the original prototype unit;
  2. Alice Town Camps – 5 additional wet area units installed by Tangentyere Council, Alice Springs NT;
  3. Balgo, WA – 7 wet area units installed by the Western Australian Department of Housing and Works; 
  4. Angurugu – 10 wet area units installed (as part of the NT SIHIP works) for major rebuilds on Groote Eylandt, NT.

Demo House3This review confirmed both the practical application of the unit to a variety of houses and suitability for new houses and upgrading houses, established in original report. Comparative costs for in-situ built alternatives on Groote Eylandt also proved the economic advantage of ‘factory’ built units, even considering the high freight costs required to barge units to the Eylandt. 

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Where to next?

Contact Healthabitat for more information on this Product

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B5. Reducing the impacts of over-crowding

9 Hl Ps 5 " Crowded living conditions increase the risk of the spread of infectious diseases, such as meningococcal disease, rheumatic fever, tuberculosis and respiratory infections. In a crowded house it can also be more difficult to access health hardware, such as hot water, showers and clothes washing facilities. To reduce these risks, consider how to minimise the effects of crowding when planning the living environment.”* 

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Back to Products & Processes

 

Linking health and the house

Linking health and the house

Related Healthy Living Practices

Parts of the house and living environment impacted by this product

Parts of the house that are impacted