What is Universal Design Construction?

What is Universal Design Construction? Are you struggling to do everyday chores or they take you so long because your home is just not comfortable for your age? Hi, I’m Kimmy Rolph and I specialize in real estate solutions for people just like you. People who are downsizing right now have a lot of options. You can choose a retirement community, move into a multigenerational housing situation with children, you can build a new home, or retrofit your existing home with elements of universal design construction. What is universal design construction? With nearly 3 million people turning 65 next year, the changing makeup of the family facilitated the growth of a new architectural science: Universal design. It is a human-centered design that offers environments and products geared towards safety and comfort for all people without the need for adaptation or functional changes.  This design style really began in the 50s with people with disabilities, but has grown to be a cornerstone of aging in place homes and designs. 

There are 7 principles of Universal Design and they are Principle 1: Equitable Use, Principle 2: Flexibility in Use, Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use, Principle 4: Perceptible Information, Principle 5: Tolerance for Error, Principle 6: Low Physical Effort, and Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use. So if are considering building a new home, remodeling a childs guest house  and want to incorporate elements of universal design, these are the most common. 

First is to replace door knobs with levers and trade out your traditional faucets for models with blade handles or motion controls.

Next, for hallways and doorways, eliminate stairs and level changes wherever possible including widening all hallways to at least 36 inches. Make most, if not all doorways and room openings at least 36 inches. Another easy way to assure that a bathroom is usable by small children as well as someone in a wheelchair is to simply lower one vanity sink and eliminate the cabinet underneath and replace it with a slim vanity shelf. Replace automatic flushing mechanisms and install anti-scalding temperature controls in showers. In the kitchen, replace wall ovens with doors that open to the side rather than fold down to the front, lower the cook top so that burners are easily accessible by a person or from a wheelchair and check that refrigerator and dishwasher drawers all have below counter drawers. Are you interested in more Universal Design tips for aging in place or home buying for a loved one with a disability? Please reach out to me. I specialize in this area and have many resources you may find useful in the below links.

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