What is Universal Design?Universal Design is the incorporation of structural and non-structural elements into a residence that are attractive and usable by all persons regardless of age, size and ability. A home designed using these principles simplifies daily life for residents and guests as needs and physical abilities change. Incorporating Universal Design features into a residence in the pre-construction stage adds little cost relative to the future cost of retrofitting a residence built with traditional design features. Done well, Universal design becomes a virtually invisible element that benefits any person occupying or utilizing a residence.
Objective - Insure accessibility to the residence for any person including those with different physical abilities.
- Provide an accessible route of travel from the public sidewalk or street to the primary entrance in the form of a graded path, ramp or driveway to graded path.
- Provide at least one step free entrance into the home.
- Provide a 60' x 60' (5' diameter) clearance at the primary entrance to the home
Objective - Improve overall circulation and allow people, furniture and appliances to move with ease in and out of the home.
- Provide flush thresholds exterior maximum of 1/2 inch beveled, interior maximum 1/4 inch
- Provide 42" wide hallways with 32" clearance doorways on an accessible route
Objective - Reduce bending, straining and twisting when turning on lights, faucets or when reaching for items on shelves.
- Include variable height (28" - 42") work surfaces such as counter tops, sinks and/or cook tops in the kitchen
- 50% of all storage within the home should be less than 54' high
- Provide structural reinforcement within bathroom walls adjacent to toilet, shower and bathtub for future installation of grab bars
- Full bathroom on an accessible route including a minimum 60' x 60' turning area, walk in shower and a clear space for use of the sink
- Include adjustable (36" - 60") rods and shelves within closets
- Install lever style door handles and faucet handles and rocker panel light switches throughout the home
- Install electrical panel with top more than 54" above floor and include a minimum 30" x 48" clear floor space in front of panel
- Install light switches 42" - 48" above the floor, electrical outlets 18" - 24" above the floor and thermostats no more than 48" above the floor.
Objective - Create easy recognition of the junction of floor surfaces and walls to reduce the likelihood of injury.
- Include color contrasts between the following areas: floor surfaces and trims, stair treads and risers, and counter tops and front edges or cabinet faces
- Provide smooth, slip resistant flooring. if carpeted use low density (less than 1/2 inch high pile) with a firm pad
Objective - Allow residents and visitors complete access to home when changing needs or physical abilities occur.
- Complete single floor living spaces. Provide entry, kitchen, laundry area, full bath and flex room on primary level of home
- Flex room should be usable as family room, nursery, playroom, home office or bedroom depending on the needs of the residents
- Avoid steps between rooms or areas on the primary floor of the residence