For many wheelchair users, wider halls, doorways, and wet-area bathrooms can mean the difference between a house and a home. So when a group of intellectually disabled Pukeko Blue Ltd service users were able to move into their new purpose-built warm, dry and safe property last month – leaving behind one built in 1910 that was earmarked for Kāinga Ora redevelopment – it was small wonder why they were so excited.

Wet-area bathrooms with hand rails make a difference for disabled service users

"It’s exactly what we need,” said Pukeko Blue Quality Manager Deborah Cook.

“It just meets all the requirements and it’s a lovely home – it’ll be a home for life. As our people age and their ability or mobility declines, this home will continue to meet their needs.”

The Kāinga Ora Supported Housing property in Bryndwr, Christchurch, was built in partnership with Miles Construction, Stuart Manning Architects and WSP, among the various trade and build partners.

As the group at Pukeko Blue moved into the large six-bedroom, two-bathroom home, they were met with an insulated concrete floor slab, double-glazing, thermal drapes, high-quality insulation and more. The new home meets 6 Homestar and Healthy Homes standards.

It is fully accessible with level-entry access, wider halls and doorways, handrails throughout and wet-area bathrooms, while a fire alarm and sprinkler system automatically closes all internal fire doors and alerts Fire and Emergency when activated. For Karl Robinson at Miles Construction, it was the diverse fit-out and working to meet specific needs that made the project significant for him.

“We’ve been involved in 18 units, 36 units, two-storey, single-storey for Kāinga Ora, which has been great. But to have the opportunity to build in something for the end user … that will make it a lot easier for the disabled people who are going to live here, it’s been a good change.”

Wider hallways and doors allow residents to move with ease, and wider benchtops mean more space to get creative with arts and crafts

Stuart Manning, whose architecture firm worked closely with Pukeko Blue to design the home, echoed Karl’s sentiment. “We had to initially understand the group’s needs in terms of access, mobility, just being able to get around and just make it a home for them despite limitations in movement and things like wheelchairs,” he said.

“I feel like the result is a place that looks like a home, fits into the street scenario really well, but as you wander through you realise it’s really customised to fit that user group really well.”

Robinson likened the build, and the relationship formed with Pukeko Blue, to the feeling of providing new homes for those affected by the Canterbury earthquakes.

“When you see it hitting the heart of someone who might have previously been in a cold house … if they’ve got a place to call home that’s nice and warm and they’re taken care of, that’s something that makes you feel pretty good.”

Partners in providing a custom home, from left: Pukeko Blue Quality Manager Deborah Cook, Kāinga Ora Supported Housing Regional Lead Vivienne Limmer, Kāinga Ora Project Manager David James, WSP Senior Project Manager Andy Harris, Miles Construction’s Karl Robinson, Kāinga Ora Development Manager Lesa Davidson, and architect Stuart Manning.

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Page updated: 5 November 2021