Additional Considerations

The following are some special additional considerations dependant on the users of a space.

Barrier-Free Design

According to the Americans Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) public facilities should not impose obstacles which discriminate against people with disabilities. These laws have been enacted to assist those people have mobility, visual, and audible disabilities. New construction and renovations of an existing structure need to meet these standards.

For additional information visit http://www.ada.gov/stdspdf.htm

Universal Design

Universal design is similar to Accessible design, however it typically applies to residential design instead of commercial. Using standards which are comfortable to the average population maximizes the ability to use the space. By using a common standard, the application of Universal Design should appear invisible.

Examples:
Bathroom Renovation- When replacing the tub and shower, consider reinforcing the wall structure to accommodate a grab bar even if you don’t install one.
Kitchen- Varying counter heights between 28” to 36” will allow maximum use by the population. Adding handles to doors and drawers assist in the accessibility. Built-in organization within the cabinetry is also great design.
Doors- Doors should be at least 32” to maximize accessibility. Also consider lever handles instead of knobs.
Elevation Changes- Minimize steps between common living areas.

These are just a few of the simple modifications to consider when renovating or building that will appeal to the most potential users.