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

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.

Tags: ADA accessible, accessible routes, barrier free access, aging in place remodeling, aging in place home modifications, aging in place, wheelchair accessible remodeling, wheelchair accessible baths and kitchens, handicap home modifications, ADA remodeling, ADA compliance, disability bathroom remodels, handicap accessible bathrooms, aging in place construction, aging in place designs, custom tub to shower conversions, wheelchair accessible baths, accessibility home remodeling in Austin, CAPS professional in Austin, CAPS certification holder in Austin, accessible home remodeling, CAPS remodeling techniques, Universal Design,, Austin bathroom remodel, disability home remodeling in Austin, home modifications for independent living, disability bathroom remodeling in Austin, bathroom modifications for elderly, aging in place specialist, aging in place services, aging in place design,, elder construction, certified aging in place specialist, handicap remodeling contractors in Austin, disability home modifications in Austin, Austin elder construction, remodel bathroom for handicap Austin Texas, handicap home modifications for disabled, handicap accessibility, handicap remodeling contractors, bathroom modifications for disabled, bathroom accessibility remodels in Austin, accessibility remodelers in Austin, ADA remodeling Austin, Texas, ADA bathroom Austin, Texas, wheelchair accessible showers in Austin,, roll in showers, accessibility designs Austin Texas, handicap bathrooms, ADA compliant wheelchair accessible showers, roll in shower design for wheelchair access, disability access contractor, accessible home remodeling for disabilities, accessibility home modifications, Universal Bathroom Design, Universal Design for Disabilities

Future Home Building Using Universal Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 @ 15:12 PM

The present out of control housing market situation prompted a search for answers solving the question of how to create houses capable of meeting the needs of tomorrow while accommodating future life changes. There is no one size fits all home design because everyone’s life experience is unique to them creating a diverse society with diverse physical needs. Using Universal Design, the wide ranging abilities of the homeowner is a major consideration for all successful inclusive and adaptable designs in homes. The absence of the Universal Design principles entering into all existing home architectural endeavors is perpetuating the lack of accessible housing urgently needed for the lifespan of every homeowner. To increase the acceptance of this design concept by everyone, especially the consumer, Universal Design must become a topic of conversation through knowledge and basic understanding. This depends on the members of the broadest populations’ acknowledgement of the need for the use of this practical idea.

Universal Design Kitchen in Austin

Universal Design plays a significant role in the future accessibility of all home designs. Homeowners must base design decisions on the seven (or eight) principles of Universal Design. Deciding which universal features to include in future forever homes is the most alluring question. Each principle is very useful in itself. The more principles involved in the design process, the greater the adaptable outcome of the home. After all, the smart forward thinking homes of the future depict long term sustainable assets for life allowing Aging in Place to seamlessly follow as people age and evolve. It is true Universal Design emerged out of the accessible and adaptive architectural movement; however, it constantly attempts to combine aesthetics with basic core values for every user. While moving us toward an accessible future, appearing invisible, Universal Design recognizes peoples’ bodies, needs, and lifestyles constantly change along a continuum due to the aging process. Universal Design acknowledges too that everyone ages differently as individuals. One person’s disability type is not experienced like another’s. It is better to live in a more open and comfortable Universal Design home with the flexibility of evolving with the homeowner rather than one which at some uncertain time becomes an impasse during the homeowner’s lifetime.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Embracing Universal Design with its many values and advantages for all people during timely remodeling projects or while building a new home is needed if society is ever going to escape the inaccessible cookie cutter homes of today. Additionally, this design technique offers a win-win solution helping solve problems encountered by multi-generational households. The multi-generational homes of today create the greatest personal accessibility challenges for all the generations involved. The application of Universal Design principles is desperately needed to sustain the choice of living environments for these diversified families. Universal Design homes have the unique ability of simultaneously accommodating strollers, walkers, or wheelchairs within the home without regard to a person’s size, age, or abilities. Furthermore, these homes contain lasting value if the owner ever decides to sell appealing to all society groups. To the uninformed, the folklore associated with Universal Design has stigmatized the process in home building today. This has much to do with why such a unique building concept is not greeted with open arms by the consumer. Beliefs like, it costs more, it takes up too much space, it will make my home have less resale value, it will look institutional, or only a few people could benefit from it represent a select few.

While Universal Design sounds appealing in conversations, it is rare to actually witness it in the built environment. The Universal Design movement recognizes its slow acceptance hinges on historic ties related to being a disability solution. This way of thinking causes implications for consumers and the world of home design presenting a huge misconception. Universal Design never distanced itself from the need for increased accessibility during the disability movement of the 80’s and therefore is mired in ADA jargon producing an indelible unfocused brand. As an inclusive design, Universal Design pertains to overcoming the barriers and stereotypes associated with its terminology in order to stand out as the next and final trend in future housing. Universal Design has no limits for the varying groups of people it helps. Every family member is included when using this design methodology whether they are abled or disabled, short or tall, young or old. With education, people understand Universal Design is the most revolutionary element in housing design today. Once realized how the principles of Universal Design affect everyone in the quest for maximum inclusion, consumers might start paying better attention to this logical building concept. Future home dwellers are fortunate in having this transitional and adaptable design concept in their vocabulary. Possibly they distinguish the designs flexibility as the gateway for tomorrow homes built and designed for everyone at every age. Only then, when people grasp the importance of Universal Design, does it become an everyday building term and a much needed household solution. No longer are personal desires for Aging in Place creating total disruption during life’s waning years. It is successfully accomplished seamlessly following the accessibility offered by Universal Design.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Tags: ADA compliant kitchen cabinets, accessible routes, barrier free access, wheelchair accessible baths and kitchens, CAPS certification, custom walk in showers, ADA kitchen cabinets, wheelchair accessible baths, CAPS professional in Austin, Universal Design,, aging in place specialist, aging in place design,, handicap accessibility, roll in showers, accessibility designs Austin Texas, roll in showers in Austin, universal design/build, universal design ideas, Austin Accessibility Design, certified aging in place consultant in Austin, aging in place specialist in Austin, universal design building for a lifetime, what is universal design, home accessibility help in Austin, universal design kitchen ideas, universal design remodeling techniques, universal design remodeling contractor, why is universal design important, universal design principles, 7 principles of universal design, universal principles of design, Universal Principles of design revised and updated, principles of universal design, applying principles of universal design in Austin, special needs contractor in Austin, disability and special needs contractor Austin, bathrooms with disability access in Austin, Texas, ADA compliant wheelchair accessible showers, disability access contractor, barrier free showers in Austin, ADA compliant roll in showers, wheelchair accessible shower stalls, roll in shower, accessible bathroom design specifications, wheelchair accessible toilets, barrier free toilets, handicap accessible toilets, what is ada compliant, home access, accessible homes, home access in Austin, universal design/build contractor, universal design vs. aging in place, universal design contractor, accessible design, why universal design, wheelchair accessible housing, handicap accessible housing, accessible homes in austin, accessibility home modifications, wheelchair accessible bathroom, handicap bathroom design, modifying your home for a disabled child, accessible home builder in Austin, wheelchair accessible homes, universal home design in Austin, the basics of aging in place, how the life cycle affects aging in place, applying universal design, maneuvering in and around the accessible home, Universal Design Garages, Universal Bathroom Design, Universal Design Bedroom, universal kitchen design, wheelchair accessible kitchens, universal design kitchen, barrier free kitchens, disability access kitchens, the universal design laundry, barrier free laundry, future home building using universal design, universal design home builder, universal design home additions, barrier free design, barrier free home design

Universal Bathroom Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 02, 2020 @ 11:12 AM

Including Universal Design ideas when periodically remodeling anywhere within the home and especially in the bathroom means the design personally fits a family for a longer period of time. Universal Design contains the natural ability to adapt with people. Many times, an existing bathroom’s layout is changed regarding fixture arrangement and orientation to increase efficiency. Remodeling an existing bathroom using Universal Design possibly involves changing the wall configuration for a more open feeling. Additional space is needed in the bathroom once caretakers providing assistance are required for aging adults or young children.

wheelchair bathroom design in Austin

Modifying the bathroom following practiced wheelchair accessibility guidelines is a great place to start a Universal Design remodel in any home. The expanded clearances involved create a more comfortable and roomy environment for every family member. Universal Design principles provide access for the users of wheelchairs or walkers including everyone else including children. A functional, well organized, and attractive layout placing the items used in close proximity and within reach of the users meets the needs of most homeowners including children and aging adults. This includes people with limited mobility or impaired reach due to physical or medical conditions. The diversity of all people is accounted for. Therefore, it represents a perfect design concept for multi-generational households. Regarding the current multi-generational living environments there are varying participants of many ages with multiple sizes and abilities within the family group indicating the need for Universal Design’s use throughout the home. A major difference in these special family units is a better probability function and dexterity is negatively affected by a group member. 

Planning for the future involving Universal Design principles is so important with any remodel for both now and in the future. Using Universal Design to remodel a bathroom space increases aesthetics, sustainability, usefulness, and safety while lending itself to privacy in a functional surrounding. Universal Design bathroom accessibility includes opening up the area with a clear five foot diameter in case a wheelchair is needed, adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home (or at least blocking for them for a later time when needed), adding a seat within a roll in shower, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops, providing an accessible comfort height toilet, offering at least one vanity sink with roll under capability, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways, and widening doors. Privacy, sense of belonging, sense of control, and the feelings of safety and security make up the quality of life for any home and are considered for any successful Universal Design project. The reasons for embracing these ideas go beyond aging and disability. They include being an asset for children, is inviting to visitors, it promotes long term health and wellness, works well for seniors, all this paired with the fact it is smart and invisible. 

Bathroom Remodels

Designing task oriented bathroom fixture locations takes into account their use, placement, or how they make up the bathroom environment. This defines the current way of thinking universally. A clear floor space of 30 by 48 inches is provided for approaching all bathroom fixtures. These areas can overlap one another and the five foot turning radius within the design. Always choose quality plumbing fixtures and fittings easily controlled using a single hand motion or a closed fist. Motion controlled sensor fixtures offering hands free operation are a possibility when specifying fixtures and finishes. Sometimes, the master bath today is one of the busiest rooms in the home. It has the potential of becoming the family bathroom. If young children are a part of the family, bath time transforms the bathroom into a very busy and crowded area. If aging parents are visiting, they also need their time in the bathroom because it is a larger and safer space.  

Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling        

Tags: wheelchair accessible remodeling, handicap home modifications, bathroom remodelshow-to, handicap accessible bathrooms, wheelchair accessible baths, bathroom modifications for elderly, disability home modifications in Austin, bathroom renovations in Austin, Texas, remodel bathroom for handicap Austin Texas, handicap home modifications for disabled, handicap accessibility, handicap remodeling contractors, disability home modifications, wheelchair accessible showers in Austin,, universal design ideas, universal design/build ideas, bathroom modifications for disabled in Austin, TX, aging in place design in Austin, home modifications for disabled children, home modifications for children with disabilities, home remodeling contractor near Austin, Texas, universal design remodeling techniques, bathrooms with disability access in Austin, Texas, Austin disability contractors for special needs, barrier free remodeling, handicap remodeling, handicap accessible bathroom remodeling, handicap accessible home modifications, disability remodeling, roll in shower design for wheelchair access, wheelchair accessible shower stalls, roll in shower, accessible bathroom design specifications, wheelchair accessible toilets, bathroom remodel contractor, Austin home remodeling for disabled, wheelchair accessible bathroom, handicap bathroom requirements, handicap bathroom accessories, Universal Bathroom Design