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What demographic changes are driving the need to change residential construction practice?

Last Updated: 19th July 2006

The Australian population is ageing. The current life expectancy is 81.5 years for females and 75.9 years for males.

The likelihood of reporting mobility impairments has been found to increase linearly with age (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1999). Thus, as a population ages, the incidences of mobility impairments is likely to increase. Additionally, the most recent National Health Survey cites falls as the most frequent cause of accidental injury in Australia (approximately 32%). Majority of these (92%) occur from a height of less than one meter. Fiscally, such injuries in people’s homes result in annual health related expenditure estimated at $2,369 million for older persons (Hill et al., 2000, 2004), and $660 million for children (Atech Group & Minter Ellison Consulting, 2001).

Changes in residential construction practice are needed to cater for the increasing population of older Australians who are likely to suffer mobility impairments as they age. These changes would contribute towards reducing the occurrences of accidental injuries at home and their associated costs.

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