Australians are blessed to be surrounded by so much nature. We seek to make the most of our beautiful outdoor climate, in rain, hail and shine. Whether we are relaxing at home with family and friends, hosting large scale events or hosting more simple, intimate gatherings, Australians take everyday moments to escape, soak up some sun, unwind with a good book or refresh with an icy cold drink by our side.
No matter the season or reason, Australians love to venture out into our own personal outdoors. And no matter the establishment, we strive to make the most of any sized alfresco space. We might dream up a small, heated timber lined deck that’s a cosy nook fit for one, or we imagine cooking up a storm in a fully-fledged external kitchen ready to house an entire football team beneath a stunning pergola.
Often, we plan our home renovations and extensions, or dream of a property investment’s potential with these endless possibilities for outdoor activity in mind. But what we often neglect is the thought for safety, sustainability, and most pressingly, the need to adapt to changing lifestyles and the needs of families living in that home – whether that’s your growing or ageing family, or the next families to occupy it.
Today, the Australian baby boomer’s population has tripled over the past 50 years, with those aged 65 and over living longer than ever thanks to higher quality healthcare. While generally enjoying longer and healthier lives than our ancestors of previous decades, senior citizens will inevitably experience an increase in restrictions because of disability and other health impairments.
According to the Department of Social Services (DSS), 1 in 5 Australians – or almost 4 million people – live with a disability. 62% of accidents occur in the family home, where shower recesses, bathrooms, doors, corridors, broken pathways and handrails are the common culprits. Regardless of age, wealth or mobility, everyone wants to enjoy living in their homes for as long as physically possible, and the only way to continue living independent lifestyles in the homes we love is by adapting them to our population’s changing needs.
Staggeringly, the cost to a home-owner of implementing precautionary liveable housing features is 22 times lower than refitting a home when a need may arise. One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to avoid preventable trips, slips and falls is to install threshold drainage solutions to minimise the effects of the natural elements or human accidents.
Levelling thresholds in problematic areas isn’t just a matter of retaining aesthetic appeal or synergising beautifully between indoor and outdoor zones. It is a matter of adapting to necessities as a conscientious population that requires functional spaces with greater accessibility and agility over time. Effective and sustainable drainage solutions ensure a dwelling can remain in the most liveable condition possible, reducing the chances of owners having to adapt when life throws a costly, debilitating curveball.
In the current market, aging couples are downsizing no more than they are turning to aged care facilities. With the lack of security in purchasing property, designing homes that are fit for the test of time and to accommodate 8 to 80 year olds is the best way to look at restructuring homes and adapting to changing needs. In line with the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines, homes can be fitted with features to accommodate the accessibility of any resident or occupant, such as continuous and step free pathways from street or parking entryways, uninterrupted walkways, an easily accessible toilet on ground level, a bathroom on the ground floor with step-free shower, reinforced walls surrounding bathing areas for installation of railing (if necessary later) and continuous handrails for one side of stairways.
ACO Pty Ltd is part of the ACO group, a multinational family company leading the way for drainage worldwide, including pioneering integrated solutions for drainage. As the industry expert in construction and building manufacturing, ACO has an extensive track record of delivering drainage systems throughout Australia for clients in commercial and residential areas for bespoke applications, with design, specification, installation and maintenance expertise every step of the process.
In order to deliver even more sustainable architectural solutions, ACO have teamed up with Architectural Window Systems (AWS) who are making waves for tailor made design solutions for windows and doors to improve performance and construction across a range of developments. AWS have a wide, technically impressive product range of architectural solutions and they are always innovating.
Together, the two companies have collaborated to create the ACO and AWS FlowTHRU integrated door and drainage solution. Its installation helps to prevent trips and falls from inadequately drained water that is the result of door frames that do not drain, or elevated or uneven thresholds. Level thresholds are a dynamic and effective drainage infrastructure that can be installed within the existing drainage framework or piping.
The FlowTHRU product
The FlowTHRU drainage solution is a practical way of removing water runoff from glass doors, which prevents damage to internal flooring structures and surfaces. The FlowTHRU system is unique in that it has been hydraulically tested in different storm category simulations. The flush sill aids an uninterrupted flooring threshold, eliminating a tripping hazard.
Its stainless steel grate was designed to comply with disability access (AS 1428.2) and is also compliant to Australian slip resistance safety standards, AS 4586. FlowTHRU has been tested by wet pendulum, wet barefoot inclining platform and oil and wet inclining platform conditions, so it passes the test for everyday durability in and around swimming pools, balconies, courtyards, decks, walkways and other pedestrian areas.
FlowTHRU is an ACO Heelsafe® Anti-Slip grate, meaning it is designed to prevent small stiletto heels from becoming trapped within the maximum 10mm slot width of the grating, without disrupting pedestrian, wheelchair, bicycle or cane access.