RIPL Project - Post-occupancy built and technology design evaluation

RIPL Project

  1. RIPL Project One (interactive PDF)
  2. RIPL Project Two (interactive PDF)

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RIPL Project One Post-occupancy built and technology design evaluation

Interactive Panoramas (Project One)

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POE1 zipped project files (50MB)

Project Background

In 2010 the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) established Residential Independence Pty Ltd (RIPL), a property trust dedicated to the development of small-scale home-like living environments. These new environments are intended to offer a model of shared support, bringing together the design of the environment and the use of assistive technology to meet the needs of residents with near 24-hour care requirements (TAC, 2011).

RIPL Project One opened in August 2013. The project consists of four apartments and a small office for disability support workers within a larger medium density residential development in an inner suburb of Melbourne. A model of 24-hour shared support, coupled with a comprehensive home automation and resident-staff communication system has been provided onsite.

Notably, RIPL Project One was a particular case in terms of the planned RIPL portfolio. The TAC entered the project after construction of this mixed development had commenced. As a result, substantial changes were required to the design of the four ground floor apartments, and some of the associated common areas. While this presented some significant challenges in the realisation of the environments and some necessary compromises were needed, it has also provided a variety of spaces and resident experiences for consideration in this post-occupancy evaluation. This innovative approach to the provision of housing and support, and the evaluation of its impact, can usefully inform the design and development of future supported accomodation projects.

This post-occupancy evaluation report details a comprehensive interdisciplinary evaluation of RIPL Project One. A customised Environment-Experience Evaluation Framework was developed for this purpose. It established criteria on the basis of stated ambitions for the project, identified by stakeholders and Scheme documentation. The Framework consists of tailored post-occupancy evaluation procedures considering the briefing, design development and inhabitation of this purpose-built environment and its assistive technology enhancements. Recommendations to inform future RIPL developments are offered in this Research Report, including design and technology briefing and further refinement of the ambitions for the Scheme, using innovative approaches to the communication of evaluation and evidence.

People with significant and permanent disability and resultant high daily support needs currently have a limited range of options for a return to community living. To date, these options have consisted primarily of returning to the person’s own or family home, often with a mix of paid and informal supports, or moving to more institutional models of living, such as disability-specific shared supported accommodation or residential aged care (Callaway, Winkler, Sloan, Osborn, Pattawage & Pitt, 2013; Winkler, Farnworth, Sloan, Brown & Callaway, 2010). The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is a Victorian Government body providing no-fault compensation to people injured in road accidents (TAC, 2014). The TAC has recognized the need to increase the range of housing models, and the type of support offered within these models, for people who sustain neurotrauma, specifically severe traumatic brain and spinal cord injury.

The TAC has developed the TAC 2015 Independence Accommodation Strategy and Vision, detailing principles that underpin optimal housing and support delivery, in order to begin to address this need (TAC, 2011). As part of this strategy, the TAC established Residential Independence Pty Ltd, a property trust aiming to offer new models of supported housing for Scheme clients, by using state-of-the-art technology and built environment design to assist in the delivery of support. RIPL Project One includes four one-bedroom apartments and a support worker office. It is located on the ground floor of a medium density residential development in an inner suburb of Melbourne. RIPL Project One opened in August 2013.

This report, provided as an interactive and navigable pdf document, responds to six key project objectives:

  • Develop a comprehensive and tailored Environment-Experience Evaluation Framework (E-EEF) for RIPL projects.
  • Design the RIPL Project One E-EEF for mixed methods data collection and procedures that identify and respond to key criteria.
  • Pilot the RIPL Project One E-EEF.
  • Evaluate and report the impact of the designed built and technology environments at RIPL Project One, on user experiences and outcomes.
  • Identify elements of the built and technology environment that act as enablers and / or limitations in terms of the criteria identified.
  • Draw on evaluation findings for recommendations to RIPL and TAC regarding future project design and development.

The methodological approach in this project was innovative, customised and comprehensive. It included both quantitative and qualitative methods as detailed in the Methodology section of this Report. An interdisciplinary approach brought together architectural and occupational therapy expertise. This was supported by consultancy from specialists including a physiotherapist and exercise physiologist for mobility tracking, and IT developers for the production of navigable panoramas. Project Phases generally reflect the timeline of the project, although some refinement of criteria and approach took place as the project progressed.

Phase 1

1.1 – Review of project background, documents and relevant literature, and interviews with key project stakeholders 1.2 – Identification of criteria and sub-criteria

Phase 2

2.1 – Investigation of the environment and users’ experiences
2.2 – Evaluation of RIPL Project One against identified criteria

Phase 3

3.1 – Communication of project findings and recommendations.


RIPL Project Two Post-occupancy built and technology design evaluation

Interactive Panoramas (Project Two)

There are four Interactive Panoramas that utilise Adobe Flash Player. This is a plugin that may need to 'allow' to run in your browser. This message may ask you to update or run the current version of Flash. The latest player is not required, please choose to run your current version of Flash.

Cook/Eat

Toilet/Bathe

Dress/Rest

Socialise/Relax

You may also download the entire project. You can run each of the four sections by unzipping the files and opening the folders Panoramas->SR->SR.html in your browser. Each of the four sections has a different folder group (CE, SR, TB, DR).

POE2 zipped project files (30MB)

Project Background

In 2010 the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) established Residential Independence Pty Ltd (RIPL), a property trust dedicated to the development of small-scale home-like living environments. These new environments are intended to offer a model of shared support, bringing together the design of the environment and the use of integrated personal care, mobility transfer (e.g. hoist), home automation and communication assistive technologies to meet the needs of TAC claimants with near 24-hour care requirements following neurotrauma (TAC, 2011).

RIPL Project Two opened in December 2014 and has delivered a cluster unit model. This project consists of five single-level units for TAC clients and a sixth two-story unit currently utilised as an office space for disability support workers. The units are co-located on a block of land in an outer Eastern suburb of Melbourne. A model of 24-hour shared support, coupled with a comprehensive home automation and resident-staff communication system, has been provided onsite.

RIPL Project Two is located on the first parcel of land procured by RIPL, and was the inaugural project designed by the property trust. However, some delays to Local Council approvals for RIPL Project Two, and the retrofit approach taken with apartments purchased in a project already under construction at RIPL Project One, has meant that Project Two was the second housing project delivered.

This post-occupancy evaluation report details an interdisciplinary evaluation of RIPL Project Two. A customised Environment-Experience Evaluation Framework (E-EEF), established and piloted previously by the research group at RIPL Project One (Tregloan, Callaway, Meyer, Wood & Ianello, 2014a) has been applied. The application of the E-EEF reviewed the previous criteria established and documented via the further analysis and review of stated ambitions for RIPL projects, and briefing and construction documentation. User perspective was evaluated at RIPL Project Two against these criteria using the E-EEF. Innovative approaches to the communication of the evaluation and the evidence it builds upon were refined and new methodologies were included. These are presented in this Research Report, with associated navigable panoramas. Recommendations to inform future RIPL developments are offered, including design and technology brief development, and further refinement of the ambitions for the Scheme and the delivery of future models of housing and support for people with disability.

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has identified an ongoing need to separate the supply of housing and provision of support for people with neurotrauma, and to drive innovation within this approach. Following the development of the TAC’s Accommodation Strategy (TAC, 2011), the organisation undertook a further comprehensive review of this strategy in 2015. The TAC has continued to invest in new models of housing and support through their property trust, Residential Independence Pty Ltd (RIPL). The trust aims to facilitate independent living by developing purpose built, accessible housing coupled with integrated assistive technologies and a client-centred model of support (TAC, 2016).

This report is the second part of a suite of post-occupancy research reporting that commenced with post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of RIPL Project One (Tregloan et al., 2014; Callaway et al., 2016). The research team developed a tailored Environment-Experience Evaluation Framework (E-EEF) for RIPL projects, piloted through the POE of RIPL Project One. The research delivered an evaluation of the impact of the designed built and technology environments at RIPL Project One on user experiences, informing the further development of the RIPL Design Brief documents.

The current report details a POE of RIPL’s second project, delivered within an interactive and navigable PDF document. RIPL Project Two is a cluster model development, located in an outer suburban residential area of Melbourne. Project Two includes four two-bedroom single story units, one single story unit with capacity for three bedrooms, and a support worker office located in a two-bedroom double story unit. RIPL Project Two opened in December 2014.

For RIPL Project Two, the research aims were to:

  • Revise and extend the pilot E-EEF used in POE of RIPL Project One to deliver a comprehensive and tailored POE of RIPL Project Two
  • Use the E-EEF to undertake an actual use review of RIPL Project Two, examining the benefits and limitations of the case study as a designed (built and technology) environment, in terms of the identified design criteria
  • Elicit key learnings and recommendations re criteria, processes and outcomes to inform future RIPL projects and further application.

The mixed methods approach to the POE of this project, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods is detailed in the Methodology section of the report. Review of the eight criteria, and thirty related sub-criteria identified through the development of the E-EEF at RIPL Project One (Tregloan et al, 2014) was undertaken with key stakeholders involved in development of Project Two. This review of stakeholder aspirations for RIPL Project Two demonstrated that they continue to align with these original established criteria. The criteria and related sub-criteria are presented in the Criteria Overview section and include: Independence, Community Integration, Homelike Environment, Support, Effective Workplace, Flexibility, Risk Management, and Scheme Viability. A small proportion of the sub-criteria identified were considered beyond the scope of this project, or not yet able to be evaluated in the first year of RIPL Project Two’s operation. These have been included for completeness with relevant notes.

The mixed methods approach extended the innovative and customised approach to POE developed in RIPL Project One, and included two new methodologies. These were 1) mapping changes in furnishings and other customisations made by tenants across two separate data collection time points, and 2) Projective Diagrams demonstrating an individual’s degree of physical access within the three dwelling designs delivered at RIPL Project Two. Ethics approvals for participant recruitment were amended to allow a broader range of approaches to this for future projects.

As was the case in POE of Project One, an interdisciplinary approach brought together architectural and occupational therapy expertise, supported by consultancy from specialists including a physiotherapist and exercise physiologist for mobility tracking, and IT developers for panorama production. The collaborative approach of the interdisciplinary research team and the careful balance of selected research methods and projective approaches have informed a detailed perspective on RIPL Project Two.

One of the primary tasks of the research team undertaking POE of RIPL projects is to inform future developments for RIPL, other areas of the TAC, and by extension other providers of housing and support for people with disability. For this reason, RIPL Project Two was reviewed against the current version of the RIPL design brief (v5.0) rather than the version in place at the time of the design development. The translation of criteria through their application at RIPL Project Two and the impact on residents’ experiences and future iterations of the RIPL design brief, are central concerns of the evaluation. Specific elements of RIPL Project Two have necessarily affected the way that these ambitions have been realised. Key factors included the design of this project as a cluster unit model, the necessary location of the housing in relation to shops, transport and services, and the design of the support staff hub as a two-story unit onsite.

Overall, acknowledging the limitation of small participant numbers in this study, RIPL Project Two was found to be successful against the vast majority of the established criteria and sub-criteria for the single participant. In general, the reported and observed user experience of the built and technology design, as well as anecdotal reports by families of other tenants, was positive. However, useful learnings have also been made and key recommendations stem from these. These findings have included the identification of trade-offs and conflicts, as well as intersections between identified criteria, observations, and key outcomes.