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Why Should I Build Using Universal Design?

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Universal Design is a growing movement in residential construction for universal access. Although consumers sometimes think it is just another way of describing "handicapped-accessible" construction or wheelchair accessibility, Universal Design is actually a much broader concept, intended to create houses that are usable by all people through all of life’s stages, whether young or old, tall or short, strong or weak, able-bodied or with a disability.

Great for Families

By incorporating features such as level – stepless – entrances, wider hallways, and larger doors, a Universal Designed home becomes easier to navigate when pushing a child in a stroller or moving furniture in or out of a room. A home that features the principles of Universal Design’s easy access will meet a family's needs now and into the future, allowing homeowners to age in place without forcing them to make expensive renovations, move, or radically alter their lifestyle when their abilities start to slip.

Great for Aging Parents and for Visitors

Even younger adults are interested in Universally Designed homes, as they are very helpful to their aging parents. Building a house with universal accessibility standards – one that can be entered without having to climb steps, that allows someone in a wheelchair or with a walker to circulate easily, and that has a full bathroom on the first floor adjacent to a room that could be used as a bedroom – makes it possible for an aging parent to move in some day. Given the astronomical costs of nursing homes, this is often the only viable option for families.

Such Universal Design features also allow visitors with a wide range of physical abilities to feel welcomed and comfortable.

Can Be Cost-Effective and Seamlessly Integrated

A Universally Designed home simplifies daily life for residents and allows guests to visit now and in the future, especially as needs and physical abilities change.

Universal Designs generally utilize standard building products or features that are placed differently and selected carefully to enhance accessibility to and maneuverability in and around a residence. 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.

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