Universal Design Becoming Increasingly Popular As Society Ages
Convenience outweighs cost for easily accessible products.
When designing and building new residential homes, Marty Kirchner never specifies standard toilets anymore, instead opting for comfort height, ADA compliant options. Kirchner, the co-owner and vice president of La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Kirchner Custom Builders, notes that he helps his clients plan for the future during the design/build process.
“Many of my clients are baby boomers, so when I’m designing a home, we put in a lot of time thinking about things like: ‘What if I need a wheelchair someday?’” Kirchner says.
The most important universal design feature is making sure there is zero entry at the home’s entrances, Kirchner notes. He also ensures stairways are wide in case the day comes where a chair needs to be installed and has even designed homes with elevators or space for future elevators. Kirchner also almost always specifies at least one roll-in shower with no threshold.