Universal Design is the practice of designing and building spaces that will function safely and comfortably for all people, to the greatest degree possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design. In other words we create homes out of the gate that will serve people of all sizes, shapes, ages and abilities rather than be forced to modify these homes at the time of, or in anticipation of a life changing event. If you think about it, it makes good common sense. Studies show that only 15% of us will live our entire lives without experiencing some sort of temporary or permanent mobility challenge. Now that 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 each and every day, let’s work together to design and build homes that we can all live in for the rest of our lives.
So what does Universal Design entail? Universal Design is not a rigid set of standards but rather a philosophy. It seeks to incorporate the following seven principles as summarized from a Center for Universal Design, part of the College of Design at North Carolina State University.
Universal Design Principle 1: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
Universal Design Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
Universal Design Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
Universal Design Principle 4: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
Universal Design Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
Universal Design Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
Universal Design Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.
The best Universal Design features integrate seamlessly into the home and are only noticeable in how much easier daily tasks are for everyone who uses them.
You can view the full detailed Universal Design Principles here which will bring you to the North Carolina State University website.
Contact Solid Rock, your local remodeling contractor today to discuss how we can incorporate Universal Design into your remodeling project or new home.