Check out my building blog to learn more about construction for your home or office in Austin! David L. Traut, President, CAPS Certified (512)444-0097

David L. Traut, CAPS

In 1974 while obtaining a graduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin an innate talent was acknowledged and T-Square Company was formed as a means to remodel both friends and Professors homes. This began a quest for constructive footprints leading to a lifetime of challenge. My researching practices evolved into the art of building the most efficient structures possible utilizing the ever changing technologies benefiting construction. With over three decades of experience in both residential and commercial construction techniques a hybrid type of building became available to our clients insuring a successful completion of their projects. We incorporate our in house craftsmen with a qualified group of licensed subcontractors to get your project done professionally, in budget, and on time.
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Recent Posts

Use Universal Design Principles in All Home Interiors When Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Jan 31, 2023 @ 14:01 PM

Universal Design in all building aspects helps everyone

While Universal Design is a human centered concept making up an overlapping design philosophy, this concept of design came about by the recent disability movement of our aging population and the quality of life created by an increased user concept. An evolution in building ideas which deals with a larger all-inclusive society rather than a select group will make our homes more livable and sustainable in the future. Small changes can make a great difference with practice and understanding of the antiquated architecture which has evolved as the norm. It has been demonstrated that a need for functionality and usability has been lacking within our existing home inventory and the standards and codes from our municipalities must catch up with the needs of our society as a whole. When everyone can benefit it just makes common sense. Observing other aging groups in our society and the personal perils they face has finally brought about a new way of thinking about the living environment. Universal Design is beneficial to all abilities and ages offering practical solutions for specific differences in people. We have long needed a new vision representing a home that works for everyone and this attitude is becoming the new reality stemming from a revolution.  This new building revolution, using Universal Design, is helping to create new accessible homes along with ways to make the older homes more accessible. 

There are seven criteria which must be met to be considered a Universal Design no matter which area of the home you are referring to. Any design must be equally useful to everyone, have flexibility in usefulness, be simple and intuitive, be perceived by everyone, have a tolerance for error, require little physical effort, and it must maintain an adequate area for approach and use. Any complexity or discriminating attribute to a design will doom it in terms of being considered universal in nature.

The new (but old) evolving concept known as Universal Design for home building and remodeling is catching on nationwide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  Universal Design techniques used in building or remodeling makes a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities and at any age. An evolution of new products used for disability home modifications is making those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry.  These new advances in accessible home remodeling not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics or resale value. Furthermore, this new way of thinking offers flexibility to add accessories now and later to those planning ahead or to the end user. It also provides for a wide range of human performance characteristics for the way people use spaces within their homes including well integrated usability features.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Universal Design does not equate to accessibility design even though they both are concerned with ergonomics and human function issues. The ADA guidelines for accessibility were created as a means to help those people with extreme disabilities within our society who are a narrow and specific cross section of the masses. A Universal Design approach broadly takes into account moderate impairments or disabilities, temporary health conditions, and the varying abilities of anyone within a home regardless of their age or size. In other words, an ADA accessible home would be designed for the one person with the disability whereas a Universal Design home is designed for everyone. Features like one story design, bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor, natural day lighting through larger windows and skylights, and wider doors and hallways appeal to users of all ages. With baby boomers eyeing a future where they'll Age in Place and younger people renovating older homes, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies is anticipating healthy growth for the U.S. home improvement market through 2025.

T-Square Company in Austin, Texas has been offering design/build accessibility projects to their clients incorporating the principles of Universal Design for over twenty-five years. David L. Traut, CAPS, the owner-president of T-Square Company is certified in Universal Design. He has published a book entitled "Age in Place at Home :Adapting the Home Environment for All Generations" which is available through Amazon. It covers identifying and overcoming common accessibility shortcomings within a home.  Within it's pages, he takes you through a home interior showing you how to apply Universal Design aspects in every room. Since Universal Design seamlessly segues into Aging in Place needs, it is a book worth reading. Incorporating Universal Design principles into your home facilitate future Aging in Place goals, while comfortably addressing the diverse needs of all ages and mobility levels living within your home at any time. It is a great reference book for parents of special needs children, homeowners moving in their elderly parents, and multi-generational living situations. Always remember, home accessibility is not exclusively age-related, but it must be appropriate for those needing it the most. 

Get Educated 

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David Traut's Recently Published Book/Age in Place at Home

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 14, 2022 @ 13:12 PM

 

After over a year of writing to fulfill my customers' requests, my new book, "Age in Place At Home," is available for purchase from Amazon.  Go to the link below to order my paperback book, which was released in late November, 2022. It provides a great guideline for using the principles of Universal Design in new home construction and/or remodeling for every room in your home. Get your copy today.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/r.html?C=2Z24ENUUAEWUK&K=13Y7YU7PKKYAC&M=urn:rtn:msg:20221010201802eb9acb7b24004a4785cd2ec1d4f0p0na&R=3R6MK9WDXJPH7&T=C&U=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fdp%2FB0BHTV28RV%3Fref_%3Dpe_3052080_276849420&H=7FWEPMGCH0TT8LN6SKPMUOCVJNYA&ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

A home's adaptability is one of the most desired qualities within a person's home during some point in their life as their or their family's  needs change. These specific needs to enhance accessibility can be short term while recovering from an accident or illness at any age, or  these home alterations may become permanent.  The special needs may concern an adult or a child. Universal design principles don't discriminate between any family members regardless of age, size, or ability. Every family member is included. Learn how to adapt your home environment to satisfy your family's needs in David Traut's new book, Age in Place at Home.

Age in Place at Home Book

 

T-Square Company, in Austin, Texas, practices Universal Design accessibility to segue into Aging in Place seamlessly. The essence of my book is to advise people so they understand why our homes are obsolete to us, the homeowners, the minute they are completed.  This fact is represented by the methodology used to create the traditional home. They are built to satisfy our immediate lifestyle and physical needs on the day we close on the house, with no regard for the future. The new home lacks adaptability to satisfy our needs once our bodies change beyond the purchase date. If we had incorporated the Universal Design principles into these new homes, those same homes would adapt to our changing family needs including every inhabitant regardless of age, size, or ability. The lack of home adaptability is not the consumers fault, they have always been unaware of how to reference the problem and accepted what the housing market gave them. They were unaware of what to ask for. Hence, the status-quo of building has been perpetuated  for over a hundred years.

 

T-Square Company offers all types of Austin Universal Design home modifications to better prepare you and your family for your unforeseeable home accessibility future on a design/build basis. Existing, traditional homes must be modified to increase their accessibility using correct designs. Become aware and embrace the knowledge that the principles of Universal Design offer greater home accessibility for every one of your home members, from your father to your son. This is why the process is known as inclusive design. 

 


David L. Traut, CAPS, has been involved with accessibility for nearly thirty years for the VA, HUD,  and private residences.  Contact me at 512-444-0097 for a professional home assessment to guide your future accessibility needs or at www.tsquareco.com. Simply fill out your information on the contact us page.

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Aging In Place Services for Seniors in Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Oct 21, 2022 @ 11:10 AM

When families are suddenly thrust into caring for an ill or injured family member, knowing how to make their homes accessible, barrier-free and safe can be challenging.  Here is where a professional CAPS-certified remodeler is needed.  It's not for everyone, but as increasingly older Americans choose to Age in Place and remain in their homes, issues related to maintaining mobility, promoting home safety, and creating an environment to meet care needs are becoming increasingly crucial to caregivers and care recipients. Even savvy and experienced families may have trouble figuring out whom to call for a roll-in shower or door widening. According to the AARP, nearly 90% of older adults want to Age in Place and maintain independence however, 85% have done nothing about it. Many retirees want to stay in their own houses for as long as possible. But being able to do so will depend on how easy it is to maneuver your home as you age.  Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Aging in Place home modifications may prevent up to 50% of home accidents among seniors in older homes, including falls.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for Aging in Place.  David L. Traut, CAPS owner of T-Square Company in SW Austin, Texas as a handicap remodeling contractor, is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills, training, and knowledge necessary to design and remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors. T-Square Company offers a complete line of Aging in Place services using their design/build approach.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

ADA-Compliant Kitchens

ADA-Compliant  Kitchen in Austin, Texas

People interested in Aging in Place services and Aging in Place home improvements are now looking for a level entry into their home along with the maneuverability that a more open floor plan with more extraordinary clear unobstructed floor space presents.  They desire flat floors without transitions requiring steps or stairs to move around.  Ramps having a correct 1:12 slope or less can be used to get them up to the level floor space at the exterior entries or the garage access.  ADA-compliant kitchen cabinets and ADA bathroom cabinets will more than likely come into play to complete any accessible home remodeling project. Aging in Place services and home modifications should include adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors.  You might consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier-to-use lever door hardware.  To provide safety and independence, many considerations for an Aging in Place design should be considered.  You should try to provide a clear barrier-free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home, as the ADA recommends.  The three areas needing improvement for a person wanting to age in place include the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family area in order of importance.

All disability home remodeling or disability bath remodels in Austin must be done considering all the data provided by the client, his or her family, and any caretakers involved. Aging in Place design must be carried out by an Aging in Place specialist who is also a reputable residential remodeling professional. The goal of an accessible design in Austin is to make the areas in the home a safe space for everyone who uses the facilities. T-Square Company's Aging in Place services use Universal Design to accommodate wheelchair users and can make the home environment more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs.

Aging In Place Home Modifications

Let's compare the alternative costs associated with aging in place versus when you already own your home.  The more institutional alternative of assisted living accompanied by more medical expertise and staff training plus the access to emergency medical facilities is available as opposed to renting an apartment.  These are two of the main alternative choices for seniors who decide not to remain in their own homes.   According to a national study done in 2019, the average cost for assisted living ranged from $8,000 to $9,500 per month.  However, if you decide to Age in Place in a high-quality one-bedroom apartment, the rent will run around $1,700 per month.  Living in your own home or with loved ones represents a preference by most seniors and property taxes must be taken in account.

For additional information about the CAPS program, visit nahb.org/CAPS.  For more information about T-Square Company, visit www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097 to schedule a home assessment by a CAPS professional.

 

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Aging In Place Services In Austin, Texas/T-Square Company

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Oct 14, 2022 @ 14:10 PM

Once you have decided to Age in Place in your existing home, the first thing you can do to make your home more age-friendly is to do a self-assessment. Go through your house, identifying known problem areas like potential tripping or slipping hazards and areas that are hard to access and maintain. Who would be better at pointing out problem areas than the person needing the home modifications according to their physical wellbeing? To help with this, several organizations have Aging in Place checklists pointing out potential problems in some regions of the home and suggesting modifications and solutions. Once you have completed your initial Aging in Place checklist, it is time to seek the advice of trained Aging in Place specialist.

Next, contact a builder or remodeler listed as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). CAPS are home remodelers and design-build professionals certified and knowledgeable about Aging in Place home modifications. The CAPS professional can suggest ways to modify or remodel your home to fit your needs and budget. CAPS professionals are generally paid by the hour or receive a flat fee per visit or project.

There are three categories of Aging in Place customers. Those who are simply and wisely planning for their futures to remain in their present homes.  The second category concerns those who know they have a chronic medical disorder and need to prepare for accessibility issues resulting from their disease. People with diseases constantly causing increased physical or mental changes to their being are a good representative of this second group.  The third group involves those who either have had a chronic problem that has progressed severely altering their mobility or those who have sustained a life-altering tragedy such as being involved in an accident.  All of these groups will drive the future metamorphosis of existing inaccessible dwellings.

During a professional home assessment for increasing accessibility, the structural needs of the client will be noted and documented through sketches, photos, and conversation by a registered CAPS professional. All the surroundings will be considered, from the flooring to the layout of a specific room or location as it pertains to the inhabitant's ease of usability. The physical and emotional needs of the occupant will also come into play because of mobility, sensory, or cognitive concerns. Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently when undergoing elder construction. The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness. The ultimate goal is to modify the home in a custom manner to provide for the occupant's maximum health, independence, and safety. Often the input from any caretakers, like a physical or occupational therapist, during the assessment phase can prove invaluable. The three main rooms involved in aging in place home modifications are the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family room. These areas make up the most occupied spaces of any home and will be connected by a designated accessible route. The basic needs involve access through wider doorways, nonslip floor surfaces, and adequate cabinet and plumbing fixture accessibility. More importantly, we must observe safety for everyone as the baby boomers choose to age in place within their homes. For more information about T-Square Company or Aging in Place services, visit www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097. We are certified Aging in Place contractors.

Knowledgeable construction and design professionals are utilizing their CAPS training across the nation. CAPS stands for Certified Aging In Place Specialist. This designation is taught through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP. CAPS connects responsible professionals with homeowners who need these services ever-increasingly. The CAPS designation program is a nationwide initiative, and all active CAPS members can be found at nahb.org/CAPSdirectory.

 

Certified Aging In Place Specialist In Austin

 

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

 

In designing for specific physical conditions, we realize that aging doesn't always bring on disease while the body declines to make certain physical limitations inevitable. Arthritis is the most common chronic condition as it restricts ordinary daily activities. The lack of hand strength and stiff knees are indicative of this illness. This most reported arthritic condition affecting people over 65 is followed by heart disease and vision loss in that order. Innovative aging design and concepts can compensate for frailty, lack of mobility, and blindness in Aging in Place families. We are constantly coming up with new methods for home modifications and household products to increase the comfort of our residential environments.

David L. Traut, CAPS, the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas, is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.  We offer a complete line of aging in place services using our design/build techniques and the principles of Universal Design. Everything we do is done on a turnkey basis.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

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My New Upcoming Book/Age in Place at Home

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Oct 10, 2022 @ 18:10 PM

 

After a Year of writing to fulfill my customers' requests, my new book, "Age in Place At Home," is available for pre-order from Amazon.  Go to the link below to preorder my book, which will be released on October 19, 2022.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/r.html?C=2Z24ENUUAEWUK&K=13Y7YU7PKKYAC&M=urn:rtn:msg:20221010201802eb9acb7b24004a4785cd2ec1d4f0p0na&R=3R6MK9WDXJPH7&T=C&U=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fdp%2FB0BHTV28RV%3Fref_%3Dpe_3052080_276849420&H=7FWEPMGCH0TT8LN6SKPMUOCVJNYA&ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

 

Age in Place at Home Book

T-Square Company, in Austin, Texas, practices Universal Design accessibility to segue into Aging in Place seamlessly. We offer all types of Austin Universal Design home modifications better to prepare you for your unforeseeable home accessibility future. The principles of Universal Design offer greater home accessibility for every one of your home members, from your father to your son. This is why the process is known as inclusive design. 

David L. Traut, CAPS, has been involved with accessibility for nearly thirty years for the VA and private residences.  Contact me at 512-444-0097 for a professional home assessment to guide your future accessibility needs or at www.tsquareco.com. Simply fill out your information on the contact us page.

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Universal Design and Accessibility/T-Square Company in Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Oct 07, 2022 @ 10:10 AM


Human problems must be solved using correct designs. The principles of Universal Design solve accessibility issues for the most significant number of people. Special needs children, people who have become seriously injured, people living with a debilitating disease, people with sensory limitations or intellectual limitations, and last but not least, the people who are planning to stay in their homes for as long as possible while Aging in Place all need accessible homes. The need to deal with disabilities during elder construction or modifications for special needs children empowers us to create environments wherein people can function effectively.  As our society evolves away from institutionalized care, making a home more comfortable for children, older adults, and their visitors can immediately benefit the comfort and lifestyle of the entire family. How are you planning for your future when it concerns your home?

Let's start by defining what is meant by an accessible home.  Accessible homes of Austin or anywhere else provide homeowners with a means to stay healthy, independent, and safe. They, in turn, experience a better quality of life. In these accessible homes, as a Universal Design contractor, any architectural barriers have either been removed during remodeling or were never a part of the design for increasing accessibility. The accessible home stands as the defined course for the Universal Designed home. People with disabilities can live comfortably and safely as well as fully functional individuals.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist 

  Tweet and understand this fact of life!  Accessible homes will be needed by everyone at some uncertain time, whether for ourselves, our family members, or our guests.  This defines the Aging in Place concept and its associated CAPS accreditation, a nationally registered credential offered through the NAHB.  Its function is to keep people in their homes longer and provide safety and independence to all homeowners. What is more, Universal Design segues seamlessly into Aging in Place.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design


ADA_kitchen_5
 
 
As in the kitchen in the above photograph, the accessible kitchen is comfortably sized for a clear five-foot turning radius to avoid backing up for an approach. Clear 30x48-inch approach areas for all work areas and appliances are a significant part of the more-open design. The final kitchen design must be tailored to the homeowner's abilities, needs, and interests.  Pull-out shelves expand workspaces at activity centers, while roll-under access is given underneath the stove, prep, and sink work areas. A higher and deeper base cabinet kick space area of 6x9 inches provides better forward wheel clearance for the wheelchair, enabling the user to get closer to the cabinet workspace.  A raised dishwasher offers more accessible access to dishes, and lowered microwaves and other appliances like ovens solve other reach distance problems making it easier to live with a disability. Open storage areas without doors to interfere with access is a better solution. Having multiple countertop heights allows everyone access to a work surface. A successfully designed kitchen isn't about cabinet style or the composition of the countertop. It is more about the ways the design can support the user's personal needs and functionality.
ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

Because everyone ages differently and has different needs and wants, a universal solution acting as a design for all is needed. The factors that constitute the Aging in Place market for all individuals are based on their genetic makeup and lifestyle, including their choices while living and their environment.  These factors have brought about the need for Universal Design. This is the design of products, services, and environments usable by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability, or situation without needing adaptation or specialized alterations. It provides the most significant safety and access for home guests or occupants and is undetectable when done well.  Since so few homes share the accessibility offered by Universal Design, to satisfy the needs of a particular household member brought about by an accident, an illness, or simply the aging process, there will always be a need for customized accessibility features.  A CAPS-accredited remodeling professional will accomplish this by producing a truly functional design. This same competent design/build home remodeling company that understands and practices Aging in Place home modifications in Austin should accomplish the work to fit the Universal Design and ensure your safety and accessibility.  Certified Aging in Place specialists is listed in Washington on the NAHB CAPS listing.

Home Accessibility Help

The concept of the accessible home has evolved beyond the basic grab bars and ramps to one in which accessibility is built into the basic design.  Universal Design makes living in a home easier for people of all ages and abilities.  Accessible design can be beautiful and functional and never needs to have any institutional appearance.  As our aging baby boomer population ages, the need for accessibility in the home is becoming ever more critical.  Our new way of viewing the basic home in our society and our antiquated architecture is giving way to a revolution in home design.  Ordinary homeowners with extraordinary challenges can partner up with CAPS design professionals, architects, and their own families to create homes to restore capabilities, independence, and grace to daily living.

 
Aging in Place home modifications incorporating Universal Design principles is available through T-Square Company in the Austin area. We have an A plus rating with the local BBB and have over 30 years of remodeling experience. We are additionally an accredited Aging in Place specialist offering complete aging in place services.  Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs increasing your accessibility through Universal Design. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. 
 
David L. Traut, CAPS (#1636580)
 
Accessible Homes Of Austin
     

    




 

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Universal Design For Disabilities/T-Square Company

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Sep 30, 2022 @ 10:09 AM

Our homes have always been exempt from any of the federal accessibility regulations put in place in 1990. Unfortunately, no restricted codes or regulations concerning residential bathrooms or disability access baths exist. An evolving concept called Universal Design satisfies most people's personal needs. Universal Design techniques in the building make a home more accessible to all regardless of size, mobility or adaptive abilities. Children and aging adults benefit in the home from its existence. The evolution of new products used for disability home modifications makes those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry. Specialized handicap remodeling contractors for home remodeling incorporating the principles of Universal Design are catching on nationwide and have been a sign of the times for several years. Our present-day obsolete homes, now inhabited by the baby boomer generation, will slowly and increasingly raise their obsolete ugly heads and expose their true lack of accessibility to those inhabiting them.  

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

When mobility becomes an issue for any homeowner, regardless of age, the question arises concerning physically moving to a different home that is more accessible. Universal Design prepares your home for one of those highly likely events involving someone needing room modifications for even a short time while recovering from surgery or the chronically ill.  Solving Aging in Place issues will soon become the number one challenge concerning our country's obsolete housing inventory. The situation will only expand with an increasingly aging population due to medical advances. When these homes were previously purchased, they represented a complete castle in the world of their owners in which to prepare for a day, and they also acted as a retreat from life's challenging interactions. They housed our families, our memories, and our stuff.  They represented a place where we could be ourselves. 

There are many benefits to using Universal Design techniques, including potential use by aging family members or special-needs children, added resale value, and the fact that you'll be creating a space that can be used by anyone who visits your home, regardless of their range of abilities. Simple universal design updates for Aging in Place home modifications and handicap bathroom accessibility can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, adding a seat within the roll in shower, lowering upper cabinets and countertops, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways, or installing stair lifts, and widening doors. You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier-to-use door levers. Try to provide a clear barrier-free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home. These new advances in accessible home remodeling make living environments safer and will not compromise the home's aesthetics.   

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs, and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people find more ways to remain in their homes. Furthermore, children with special needs make up a significant part of the population. One crucial way to increase independent living is by making a home accessible to an individual's personal needs. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

Conquer A Tub To Shower Conversion

Universal Design runs parallel with wheelchair access. Many of the published guidelines for wheelchair-accessible remodeling, particularly requirements for corridor and door widths, safety bars, and proper access to different rooms, can go a long way in extending the amount of time an elderly or physically impaired individual can live independently. The absolute truth about the design process is that if it allows access by a seated person, it gives everyone access.  More comfort is built into a room while avoiding a cramped and cluttered living environment because there is adequate room to move about freely.

  

Roll In Showers

Aging In Place Home Modifications

An Aging in Place (CAPS) specialist must design an Aging in Place project. Always consider the end user's preferences and capabilities. For instance, roll-in showers without curbs are advised for everyone on a universal basis for an accessible bath.  A 5'x5' clear shower floor turning space is an optimum size when a caretaker is involved. Using a 32-36"  wide barrier-free entrance in a shower partition with an out-swinging door is advised for everyone to increase safety. Remember, wider is better in all respects. Upon exiting the shower, a clear floor space of 30"x48" for an approach to the shower should be present. This area can overlap with the designated five feet turning radius area within the room. The shower should contain a hand-held shower wand on a sliding bar or mast mounted 48" above the floor and is available for varying heights of use. The hand shower is complimented by a fixed height shower head located at approximately seven feet above the shower floor. These diverse shower heads are both regulated using a diverting controller valve.You can opt for the fixed shower head if you desire a full body wash or the hand-held is used for rinsing and shower cleaning. This configuration allows adaptability within the design. Hence, the user has a choice. Always use a shower valve that is thermostatically controlled and pressure-balanced to prevent scalds. 

Installing fixtures with a scald guard or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Fold-down seats attached to the shower wall are useful if caretakers are involved. Recessed shampoo niches help eliminate clutter on the shower floor.  Secure grab bars installed on wood grounds buried within the wall around the entire shower perimeter at 34-36" above the finished shower floor increases the safety factor and helps to prevent falls.  A recessed can light fixture should be installed above the shower area for proper lighting. To prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor, all bathroom floor surfaces must be the nonskid type. The ultimate goal in accessible design is to make the bathroom space safe for everyone who uses the bathroom. Universal Design better accommodates wheelchair users and makes the bathroom more comfortable for all users. This modification can be done without sacrificing style.

Home Accessibility Help

The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for Aging in Place using Universal Design.   David L. Traut, CAPS, the owner of T-Square Company in SW Austin, Texas, is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.

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Universal Design Construction in Austin/T-Square Company

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Sep 27, 2022 @ 12:09 PM

Universal Design Construction or inclusive construction is used when a homeowner is smartly planning for life changes within their home. The most significant advantage of using this innovative concept is that it smoothly prepares a home for Aging in Place. By gradually applying elements of Universal Design into periodic home remodeling projects, those specific home areas are Age in Place ready without being noticed until needed. The concept provides various human performance characteristics for people using spaces within their homes, including well-integrated usability features. These adaptations have a broad market appeal to everyone for achieving ease of use, safety, and convenience, accommodating an inevitable reality. The effects of aging and disease are tempered because adaptability is built into the design. The reality is that all people exist along a continuum of human performance as per their traits and characteristics, regardless of their age. A universal approach to design considers that everyone has varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone who is either fully functional or disabled.

A universal design-build project is appealing to all users. When correctly applied, any home area will be accented universally with stylish function and appears virtually invisible. Bathrooms, kitchens, family rooms, and bedrooms will all benefit the homeowner once the principles of Universal Design are applied. Examples of increased usability provided by Universal Design include wider doorways and hallways, enhanced lighting, non-slip flooring, contrasting colors within rooms, more accessible electrical controls and devices, curb-less showers, lever door hardware, more pull-out shelves, and drawers over cabinet doors, varying cabinet top heights, and water faucets and controls operable by a single hand or closed fist.  Be advised, Universal design ideas do not strictly deal with accessibility or Aging in Place design. They do not implement precise ADA standards, but it offers flexibility to add accessories now and later to those planning or the end user. 

Universal Design construction and Aging in Place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in SW Austin, Texas. Each universal design/build project is customized to the homeowner's needs. Call 512-444-0097 today to prepare for the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. T-Square Company will design and build an adapted living environment customized to your abilities. Whether your project concerns home modifications, an accessible addition or wing, or new construction, we can help you increase your accessibility. We have over three decades of building and remodeling experience practicing as a disability contractor for people with special needs. We want to help our clients be as self-sufficient and independent as possible by offering handicap accessible floor plans. Let us show you how to increase safety and accessibility within your living environment.

David L. Traut, CAPS (1636580), the president and owner of T-Square Company, is accredited in Universal Design in the United States and Australia. He has written many papers on the subject and is in the process of finishing a book called Age in Place at Home: Adapting the Home For All Generations. The book covers how Universal Design avoids today's problematic living situations by traditional home's association with status-quo building concepts. Universal Design offers a common-sense gateway for increasing accessibility and adaptability in future homes. It will be available soon from Amazon.

   After so long a time of blogging, soap box deliveries, and conversations with my customers concerning the importance of Universal Design in the future of our home building industry, others have listened and agreed. I was humbled to find this article published in the Austin American Statesman. I take pride in the fact that people are beginning to see the importance of this very forward-thinking design concept.  May this article help to propel the needed universal building movement forward.

Accessible Homes Of Austin

 


The trend toward 'universal design' in homes
Tuesday, Jan 15, 2019 @ 3:57pm
By David Wilfong

universal home design in Austin

Simple adjustments like a sideways opening oven can make life a lot easier for a person in a wheelchair. | Jofre Essley / Flickr


For many years disabled people faced challenges at every corner of public life. Stairs, rough ground, or even just reaching objects on a shelf created obstacles at inopportune times. Then the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into play. Wheelchair ramps and handicapped restrooms became commonplace in common spaces, and the result has been an improved quality of life for millions.


Then there’s the subject of home design. Homes have been modified for many years to meet the needs of the disabled, but now there is a new concept of “universal design,” which means homes being built for all needs from the beginning, even if there is not currently a disabled person living there.
“Along with aging in place, universal design is becoming more of a household term,” says T-Square Company (14141 Highway 290 West, Suite 800 in Austin) in is online blog. “Essentially, it’s about building or modifying places and spaces—both public and private—to accommodate people of all ages and abilities. More than just an architectural concept, universal design is a win-win for sandwich generation boomers caring for aging parents and their children at home, for grandparents raising grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and for all who are facing the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other chronic diseases. Whether your family needs the support now or down the road, universal design features are a good long-term investment for the home itself.”


The trend toward 'universal design' in homes
Tuesday, Jan 15, 2019 @ 3:57pm
By David Wilfong

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

 

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Disability Contractors For Special Needs in Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Sep 22, 2022 @ 10:09 AM

Perhaps you have or have taken in a special-needs child as a grandparent. Or an aging parent who endured a life-changing accident or illness has come to live with your family. Or perhaps you have a family member who suffers from a progressive condition like MS or ALS needing home alterations to ease the effects of the disability. In all these situations, the help offered by a CAPS-certified Aging in Place home remodeling contractor comes into play.  This is the only way to ensure safety and mobility for the homeowner or family member requiring the home modifications.  Furthermore, modifications of existing homes are important because people aged 50 and older want to remain in their current homes for as long as possible.  Aging in Place home modifications in Austin should only be done by a nationally listed CAPS-certified remodeling company.  This is the only way you can be assured that the home modifications are the right choices to satisfy your needs.  There is no need to waste money only to discover that an inexperienced and unqualified remodeling company did the wrong alterations.

T-Square Company in SW Austin, Texas, is an accomplished accessibility construction company and disability contractor for any whole house special needs revisions or a handicap accessible bathroom remodel.  Accessible wheelchair designs in Austin are available through T-Square Company. T-Square Company has over three decades of home accessibility experience. David L. Traut, the owner and president of T-Square Company, is an experienced accessibility specialist and has successfully worked with people of all ages with a disability. Each design/build project is customized specifically to the customer's needs. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin the accessible second chapter in your or your family's life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home (CAPS 1636580).  All registered CAPS program graduates and their remodeling companies will be listed in a national registry in Washington.  The information can be found by simply visiting nahb.org/CAPS.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Disability is a complex phenomenon representing an interaction between one's physical impairments, the activities one needs to perform, and the architectural barriers within the space in which this situation occurs. Each individual demonstrates the complexity with similar impairments describing his or her limitations differently. The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness. Some of our societal statistics that weigh into Aging in Place situations include reports stating that 19% of the population between the ages of 16 and 64 and 42% of those of us 65 and over have a physical disability affecting the activities of their daily lives. 

Making your home accessible for a special-needs child will give your entire family a feeling of security and freedom. Your child with the disability will become more comfortable and be able to maneuver through and use the home more safely. They will be able to develop the life skills they need in their daily environment rather than just focusing on treatment. Sometimes, the living environment must be changed to impact the child's life significantly.

Home Accessibility Help

Physical limitations affect many more people than the daily users of walkers and wheelchairs.  Many members of our life experienced or elder society has significant problems dealing with their home environment. Exceptional circumstances have brought about special needs in the home for many young and old people. Today's conventional building standards conflict with most people's accessibility when considering our created architectural barriers concerning cabinetry and door opening widths, individual strength, range of motion, movement, manual dexterity, balance, and coordination. Once the demands of our built environment exceed their capacities, we become excluded from a room or even the entire home, bringing forth the need for elder construction and remodeling.  The situation holds true for children with special needs. The building world must work in unison to be sure the entire living environment meets basic needs in addition to affordability and structural integrity for the consumer and homeowner.  This includes the home and the components within the home being accessible to all inhabitants.  Privacy, a sense of belonging, a sense of control, and the sense of safety and security make up the quality of life for any home and should be considered for any design.  

The concept of the accessible home has evolved beyond the basic grab bars and ramps to one in which accessibility is built into the basic design.  Everyone ages differently and has different needs and wants. These factors have brought about the need for Universal Design. This is the design of products, services, and environments usable by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability, or situation without needing adaptation or specialized alterations.  It provides the most significant safety and access for home guests or occupants and is undetectable when done well. The principles of Universal Design enable living in a home with more comfort and adaptability for people of all ages and abilities.  Accessible home remodeling for the disabled can be beautiful and functional and never needs to have any institutional appearance.  As our aging baby boomer population ages, the need for accessibility remodeling in the home is becoming ever more important.  Our new way of viewing the basic home in our society and our antiquated architecture is giving way to a revolution in home design.  Ordinary homeowners with extraordinary challenges can partner up with CAPS design professionals, architects, and their own families to create homes to restore capabilities, independence, and grace to daily living. Fortunately, there is home accessibility help in Austin, Texas, offered by T-Square Company. T-Square Company specializes in home disability access for any age resident with special needs. They offer a complete assortment of disability services to help cushion and adapt to any disability. Wider entries and hallways, accessible bathrooms and showers, accessible kitchens, ramped entrances, vertical platform lifts, stair lifts, elevators, and accessible rooms of any type are just a few of the services we offer. Every design is based on your specific needs and abilities.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

 

ADA Kitchen With Wheelchair Access

Increase Your Accessibility

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Professional CAPS Services In Dripping Springs, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Sep 16, 2022 @ 12:09 PM

Suppose the current pandemic taught us anything concerning safety and institutional living situations. In that case, we now know it is much safer to remain in a barrier-free home surrounded by familiar surroundings and friends. During the stay-at-home mandates, everyone knew what Aging in Place meant because all family members lived within this inspirational and needed solution. We all became better acquainted with our homes and family members. The best way to approach a desire to Age in Place is by being proactive before an illness takes control of your life. At that point, you must deal with it reactively. There are many differences between home modifications and a home remodel. The main difference is home modifications involve investing in your familiar home versus spending during remodeling. Home modifications enhance your ADL (Activities of Daily Living), whereas remodeling deals more with aesthetics. An example of a home modification increasing accessibility includes a walk-in tub with easy access versus an aesthetically pleasing deep soaking tub. Investing in your home using the principles of Universal Design will benefit your future retirement years by making your home gradually conform to your needs. The point of involving this universal technique in periodic remodels within your home is that the alterations appear invisible until their advantages are needed when your housing needs change. A professional CAPS program graduate performs accepted home modifications to increase accessibility for any resident.  

What are CAPS services, and what does CAPS stand for? Let's be clear, it has nothing to do with hats or the associated industry. First of all, CAPS stands for Certified Aging in Place Specialist. The aging societal changes and inventory of inaccessible existing houses created the need for a CAPS certification program. This designation program, offered through the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, in collaboration with The American Association of Retired Persons AARP, incorporates components of assessment, technical knowledge, and management skills related to proven home modifications used to help people stay at home safely and independently for a more extended time. The program was developed in 2001. The CAPS program connects responsible professionals with homeowners needing specialized accessibility services ever-increasingly. Professional CAPS services include home assessments, consultations, accessible designs, complete build-outs, accessible additions, and determining a positive path forward for any individual or their visitors requiring better accessibility and usage of their existing home, better fitting their personal needs.

Aging in Place Bathroom Remodel in Austin, Texas

The CAPS services offered by a CAPS professional vary from a complete accessible remodel beginning at the curb and ending inside the backyard. Additionally, you can improve the comfort of the most used rooms in the home, like bathrooms, kitchens, and family rooms. The detailed process begins with a home assessment. The precise modifications identified increase usability according to the homeowner's and family's personal needs. The housing modifications are designed for all generations within a home, from children to older adults. Ordinary homeowners with extraordinary challenges partner up with experienced CAPS professionals and their own families. Working as a team, the trained CAPS specialist and any family caretakers or therapists identify the day-to-day problems weighing on those with health limitations. Aging in Place services provided by a specialized remodeling contractor ensures all accessibility issues of the home are accomplished correctly. T-Square Company, located in SW Austin, Texas, is one of the specialized CAPS certified contractors.

The CAPS credential is a nationwide initiative, and many building and design professionals are taking advantage of the helpful training nationwide. David L. Traut, president, and owner of T-Square Company, is an active CAPS member (#1636580) and has participated in the program for over a decade. Furthermore, he has actively completed accessibility design/build remodels for over three decades for the private sector, HUD, and the VA.  Always check a person's credentials to verify the remodeler holds an active CAPS certification and is familiar with Universal Design. All registered CAPS program graduates and remodeling companies are listed in a national registry in Washington, DC. The information is found by calling 1-800-368-5242 or simply visiting their website at: http:www.nahb.org/en/learn/designations/certified-aging-in-place-specialist.aspx.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

T-Square Company in SW Austin, Texas, located at 14141 Highway 290 West, Suite 800, is a CAPS-certified remodeler and offers design/build Aging in Place projects using principles of Universal Design. Call 512-444-0097 to discuss your project today and learn how to achieve better accessibility within your existing home. Our knowledge and experience can help solve your personal needs within your existing home. Whether you need a safer shower, wider doorways, a zero-step entrance, or a more accessible kitchen to entertain your family and friends, T-Square Company is here to help.

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