Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lifetime Design ( universal design, barrier free) is a set of specification that, when applied to a home plan, will create a home that can be lived in and visited by persons with mobility limitations. As a past chair of the lifetime design committee at our local home builders association we set up these basic design criteria for making your home lifetime design.

  • Accessible entrances and main floor doorways must be at least 36 inches wide with at least one zero step entrance.
  • Main floor hallways must be at least 42 inches wide.
  • There must be at least one bedroom and one bathroom on the first floor with a doorway at least 36 inches wide. This bathroom must have a minimum 48 inch turning radius (standard wheelchairs need 60 inch turning radius, motorized wheelchairs need a 72 inch radius).
  • There must be accessible electric switches on the first floor. Recommended height is 48 inches maximum and outlet height should be between 18 and 24 inches.
  • The kitchen must be accessible with a minimum 48 inch turning radius.

You do not need to incorporate all of these criteria into your new home to enjoy the benefits of lifetime Design. If you carefully examine the criteria, you will notice that the main concern is space. Simply start with a wider hallway and wider doorways is an excellent start. Add in a bedroom and full bath on the first floor and you are well on your way to having a home you can live in for a lifetime.