New $60,000 grant will make homes safer and more accessible

The Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) has given a $60,000 grant to the Safer Housing Society for a two-year Universal Design Housing Pilot Project.

The grant, administered through the SAFERhome Standards Society, will provide developers of low-rise, multi-unit housing with $600 for each unit they design incorporating SAFERhome 19-point standards. Developers must provide matching funds.

Universal design

The goal is to encourage the use of what are known as universal design housing principles in new construction through SAFERhome certification. There are now 400 homes in BC that are SAFERhome-certified.

The SAFERhome 19-point standards include inexpensive, flexible built-in features that can accommodate residents as they age.

All 19-points are within the current building code and require no special permit or rovisions.

Features include wider doorframes with little or no thresholds to minimize tripping hazards, wider hallways and stairs, easier access to bath‐shower controls and electrical outlets, and smart‐ready technology to connect phone lines, audio, video and computer systems.

The SAFERhome Standards Society estimates that for approximately $500-$1,000 in additional building costs, a home can be built incorporating SAFERhome standards. This compares with retrofitting costs of about $80,000. The two-year project will help quantify the actual costs and benefits to developers.

How can a buyer ensure they’re buying a SAFERhome-certified home?

The SAFERhome Standards Society recommends buyers include in any Real Estate Interim Agreement for a new home or condo the subject clause "subject to written proof of successful SAFERhome certification".

The society also recommends buyers insist REALTORS® or builder/contractor/developers includes this clause in all contracts.

The Urban Development Institute supports the HPO SAFERhome Research Project grant opportunity.

For information about the SAFERhome Standards Society, please visit:


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