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Information Clearinghouse
Translating high quality research specific to better design and building practice
Translating high quality research specific to better design and building practice

What is a Home Modification?

Home modifications are changes made to the home environment to help people to be more independent and safe in their own home and reduce any risk of injury to their carers and careworkers. Modifications to the home include changes to the structure of the dwelling e.g. widening doors, adding ramps, providing better accessibility etc. and the installation of assistive devices inside or outside the dwelling e.g. grabrails, handrails, lifts etc. Home modifications assist people with disability and older people to be more independent and may reduce the need for ongoing assistance.

The term modification or adaptation are the words most commonly used to refer to change made to a home in order to accommodate a particular set of human abilities. The domain of home modification practice specifically addresses health, disability and safety problems. Consequently, current housing design models simplify design knowledge by standardising human ability based on notions of ‘normal’ ability, thus unintentionally excluding persons whose abilities are exceeded.

Renovation or remodelling more commonly refer to changes made to housing for purposes other than disability. Both renovation and remodelling, can be distinguished on the basis of scale (modifications are typically thought of a less extensive), and are undertaken for a different purpose. Usage of the term modification, implicitly de-emphasises fashion, aesthetic or stylistic concerns that are inherent in the notion of remodelling.