As a certified Aging-in-Place Specialist through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Ray Floyd of Re-Builders, Inc. specializes in Universal Design. Aging-in-place is defined as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”. Universal Design makes the home more accommodating with appropriate home adjustments, which should be done by a certified specialist.
As multigenerational housing is on the rise due to less affordable housing and generations are moving back in together, universal design is becoming increasingly more important so that all generations may live together comfortably and safely.
Universal Design may call for Accessible design, which indicates that homes must meet mandatory requirements which are regulated on a state level and locally. Most of the Accessible features are permanently fixed. Examples of Accessible features in homes include:
- wide doors with sufficient clear space for wheelchair
- lower countertops
- lever and loop type handles on hardware
- seats at bathing fixtures, grab bars in bathrooms
- knee spaces under sinks and counters
- audible and visual signals
- switches and controls in easily reached locations
- entrances free of steps and stairs
- accessible route through the house
- pull-out features on cabinetry
Adaptable Design, in contrast to Accessible design, allows some items to be omitted or concealed until needed. In an adaptable home, wide doors, no steps, knee spaces, etc. must be built in. Grab bars, for example, can be omitted and installed when needed although the necessary blocking must have already been provided. Countertops and closet rods can be placed on adjustable supports instead of fixed at lower heights.
Adaptable features are a marketing advantage for owners because they allow fully accessible homes to be suited to their users yet also marketable to anyone.
Whether you are living in your home long-term or hope to sell, Universal Design should be a factor in considering the design of your home. Call Ray Floyd, Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist, at 843-448-0041 today for an appointment to discuss remodeling your home the correct way.
Paraphrased from Qualified Remodeler Magazine, August 2017