Garry Ellem

Creating a new standard of universal design in holiday park cabins

Presenter: Garry Ellem, Holiday Parks Coordinator, Lake Macquarie City Council

Oral Presentation

The project of creating a bespoke design for cabins within the Lake Mac Holiday Parks group targeted an inclusive design to meet the needs for a broad range of customers. This was not just about focusing on the archaic concept of someone in a wheelchair. This project focused on developing a suitable bespoke cabin design as well as what else can be done to coincide with this new mindset and improve the overall experience at the parks.


So, what’s wrong with an off the shelf product? Everyone else seems to utilise these. A review of typical cabins revealed a startling situation; there were some common shortfalls that nearly every cabin contained.

  • Can you go up the ramp when it is raining without getting wet?
  • Are there glasses or microwaves, or kitchen appliances stored higher than the kitchen bench? Can you reach these? How about at the back of the lower cupboards?
  • Can you open/close the window and blinds?
  • Or, in the case of one award winning holiday park, can you use the spa bath in your luxurious access cabin if you have a need to use a wheelchair or a walking frame or… do the steps up to the spa bath stop you?

This presentation will discuss the project scope provided to architectural and industry experts, testing the market for new fully accessible designs, and to include those with first-hand experience in the design process. The main elements of the design process were: a floorplan suitable for a wide range of users including families; minimal environmental impact and energy efficiency to reduce ongoing costs; and making inclusion a new standard throughout the park so that the cabin isn’t sitting in isolation in the park.