Visitability Nov 2008

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VISIT-ABILITY (Inclusive Home Design)Our focus is new homes. Not government buildings, restaurants, etc. (important as they are). Our goal is to make ALL homes visitable, not just “special” homes — to be at the party, meeting, and family reunion . . . not isolated. We narrow the emphasis from a long list of access features to the most essential: entering a home and fitting through the interior doors. So that widespread construction change is more likely to happen quickly.

Text of Visitability Nov 2008

  • 1. Visit-ability: Basic Access in Every New Home Eleanor Smith Concrete Change www.concre techange.org Copyright 2006, 2008

2. Copyright and Disclaimer You are encouraged to show this presentation widely.However, it is not permitted to substantially imitate the presentation in another Power Point or other media.Nor is it permitted to add or remove any text or images withoutthe written permission of copyright owner Concrete Change ofDecatur, Georgia.Certain images and text supplied to the presentation by contributors remain under their sole ownership. Concrete Change has made every effort to ensure that the information in this presentation is complete and accurate.However, neither the author nor Concrete Change is responsible for any errors or omissions and no warranties are made or implied.Neitherthe author nor Concrete Change shall be liable or responsible for any damages or loss arising from the information contained in this presentation or its use.No representation is made as to whether the information complies with any building code, law or regulation. The information contained herein is in the nature of general guidance, examples and suggestions.This presentation is not intended to substitutefor appropriate architectural, engineering or contractor advice.Use of the information herein will require adaptation to specified building codes, according to locality. 3. Definition A Visitable home is one that is builtfor the open market not specifically for people with disabilities with a few specific access features. 4. The essentialaccess features -- One zero-step entrance on an accessible routeat the front, back, side,or through the garage. --Allmain floor interiorpassage doors with 32 inchesclearpassage space. --A main floor bathroom (preferably with designatedmaneuvering space.) 5. Why build basic accessin virtuallyeverynew home? Why not just incorporate access as needed? 6. 1 . Because retrofittingan existing house is usually expensive and often awkward- looking, like this add- on ramp. .While creating access in a new home is inexpensive and attractive. 7. 2. And, because visiting friends and relatives isimportant to people who cant use steps, just like it is to other people. 8.

  • And, because accessible homes decrease
  • institutionalization.
  • In the stress-filled days
  • after a medical crisis, people
  • often lack the time or resources
  • to hire contractors and
  • renovate their house.
  • Thus, manywho could
  • manage in their own home
  • with some assistance must
  • move instead into institutions.

60 % of nursing home residents enter directly from hospitals. Source: Centers for Medicare and MedicaidServices (CMS) Minimum Data Sets, 2005 Marian enjoying her own home. 9. Basic access adds convenience for everyone.A step-free entrance and ample interiordoorwidthsmake it easier to bring in the baby, the bicycle, the heavy bookcase.and move throughout the house. 10. SeveralMYTHS cause some people to assume universal basic access in new homes is unneeded, unattractive, difficult orexpensive. 11. Myth: Only a small portion of houses need access because only a small portion of the population have difficulty walking.

  • Facts:
  • Most households have more than one resident.If one
  • member of the household develops a short-term or long-term
  • mobility problem, the house needs access features.
  • During the many decades a house serves as a dwelling,
  • a series of different households live in the house.
  • The number and percent of people over 65 in the
  • population is rising very rapidly.
  • TheJournal of the American Planning Association
  • reports that25% to 60% of ALL houseswill have
  • over the lifetime of the house at least one resident
  • with a severe, long-lasting mobility impairment.
  • (Summer Issue, 2008)

12. In fact,well-planned access in new homes is integrated into the design and landscape,and is anattractive asset. Myth:A zero-step entrance looks unattractive. 13. MYTH: A zero-step entrance requires a ramp . Fact:In the great majority of new homes,a sidewalk can be graded to meet a porch. 14. Fact:A steep lot is often even easier than a flat lot.For example,the lot above slopes steeply front toback.The sidewalk easily meets the front porch, while the back porch requires several steps. FrontBack of same house MYTH : A zero-step entrance works only on a flat lot. 15. Fact: The best location depends on the lay of the land. Myth:Zero-step entrances must always be locatedat the front of the home. 16. At the side Steps at front and short ramp at side The zero step entrance can be located 17. From the driveway 18. At the back 19. Or from the garage. 20. Fact:Building with a basement or crawl space doesnotdeter a cost-effective zero-step entrance.Myth : A zero-step entrance is feasible only when building on a concrete slab. 21. Nor does a cold, snowy climate. . 22. This is one of several thousand Visitable homes in Bolingbrook, IL near Chicago all with basements. 23. Not always. Not if the site is steep AND has no drivewayAND has no back approach . Visitability-type ordinances can and do provide for exemptions in unusual circumstances. Is a zero-step entrance ALWAYS practical? 24. Exceptions make up less than 5% of new homes. 25. Why not focus on the 95% plus that ARE practical? 95% 26. Door widths, Bathrooms and Water Protection 27. All main floor entry doors and interior passage doorsincluding bathrooms---should offer at least 32 inches of clear passage space.This can be achieved by a 210 ora 30 door, or a pocket door. Although 210 doors are not commonly available at retailstores like Home Depot, they are readily available from wholesale suppliers where professional builders buy doors.210 doors from wholesalerscost at most about two dollars morethan 28 or 26. Narrow bathroom doors are the norm for houses, out of habitrather thannecessity. Wide enough doors fit evenin small bathrooms. 28. Square Footage Most stock house plans showing narrow doorsalready have ample wall space for the buildersimply to write in a wider door specification, without re-drawing plans.In a minority of cases, a few inches of space need to be shaved from an adjacent roomor amore open plan chosen.Adding square footageto the home is not necessary even in very small houses. 29. If bathroom size does not permit a 5-foot turning circle,a 48 x 30rectangle of open floor space adjacent to each fixture can provide maneuvering space.(The rectangles can overlap.) In a small half-bath, the door can be hinged to swing out, if desired,to facilitate a wheelchair- or walker-user closing the door when inside the room.Or, apocket door can be used. 30. Moisture protection for zero-step entrances In homes can be accomplished by applying normalwaterproofing procedures. 31. .Justas for commercial buildings, the combinationof a good-quality door seal, a sloping porch floorand an overhang above the door has proven toprovide long-term, reliable moisture protection at residential zero-step entrances.Thousands ofVisitable homes throughout all climates haveconfirmed this in practice. 32. Fact: Planned-in-advance basic access costs little.$100 for new homes on a concrete slaband$300 to $600 for homes with basementsare typical costs. Myth :Basic access is expensive and compromises housing affordability. 33. Discussions on the costs of home access need to includethe high costs of continuing to build without access :

  • Increased residence in nursing homes
  • at average cost of $64,000 per person per year. 160% of this is paid with public funds. 2
  • Widespread expensive retrofitting, depleting family and public dollars.
  • Social isolation of people who develop
  • disabilities, and often their spouses and
  • families too.
  • 1.MetLife, 2005
  • 2.US Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2007

34. House by house, builder by builder, policy by policy, .positive change is occurringrural and urban, high-end and affordable, in all terrains and climates. Change does not occur because time passes. Change occurs because people take action.