Residential Independence Pty Ltd (RIPL) is a Trust set up by the TAC to offer supported home-like living environments with state-of-the-art technology and design to TAC or WorkSafe claimants with Spinal Cord or Acquired Brain Injury. Researchers are now evaluating the opened RIPL facilities, to ensure they meet the requirements of the people who have moved into them.

The first evaluation commenced after the first RIPL site opened in Abbotsford in March 2013.

More developments have since been rolled out across Melbourne. The site in Lilydale (opened mid 2014) is the subject of a new ISCRR research project.

Referred to as a Post-Occupancy Evaluations (POE), the evaluations assess the physical and organisational factors of the new sites to see how they impact upon the people currently living in them.

Led by Libby Callaway from Monash's Faculty of Medicine,Nursing and Health Science, the evaluations look comprehensively over the briefing, design, and use of RIPL's purpose-built environments and their associated technological advancements.

The research teams hope to identify the physical/technological elements of these environments that either enable or prohibit independence, participation and autonomy for their residents.

These projects are unique as there has previously been only limited evaluation of the impact that a built environment's effectiveness can have upon its users.

The objective of this work is to inform future RIPL designed environment procurement and design criteria, with an eye to improving housing partnerships between government and non-government organisations into the future.

Status

The first RIPL evaluation (with a focus on the Abbotsford site) concluded with the development an interactive PDF document, summarising key recommendations across the following areas:

  • Site planning and context
  • Layout and planning
  • Fitting the fitout
  • Home-like appearance vs functional effectiveness
  • Client selection
  • Customisation, modification and flexibility
  • Transition planning
  • Building skills and independence
  • Assistive technology design
  • Support model
  • Work environment

A series of YouTube clips have been released, providing a comprehensive summary of this project's process and its finding.

Libby Calloway and Kate Tregloan also produced an article for The Conversation on this topic, entitled "Bringing the NDIS home: smarter housing design for people with disability."

Since then, a new research project has commenced, applying the same framework of environment evaluation onto the Lilydale site. A follow up report 12 months on is now available.