VOL. 4, NO. 1

The recent legislation of the (ADA) Americans with Disability Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act has created heavy responsibilities for the Architect, Developer, and Owner of residential and commercial buildings. Now there must be emphasis on features which accommodate people with disabilities. Five elements must be maintained and enhanced in each building design to meet standards. They include: site design, doors/door entrances, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms.

SITE DESIGN. The top priority for any design is the elimination of steps and ramps. The idea is to make it easy for the physically limited to enter and exit a facility. Careful site planning and building placement can eliminate problems which may arise as a result of unusual land characteristics. Construction methods such as concrete slabs, wood or steel framing can make a difference in reducing barriers.
DOORS & DOOR ENTRANCES. Doors and Doorways must comply with national design standards. To do this architects must meet the following guidelines: (1) the doorway must be wide enough to pass through while in a wheelchair, (2) there must be adequate floor space in front of and on both sides of KITCHENS. Adequate maneuvering space and the installation of specific features within a designated reach are key design features including maneuvering space, knee space at work surfaces and sinks, height and reach ranges, kitchen space planning, base and overhead cabinet door placement, and placement of control switches on ranges and ovens.

BATHROOM. Careful design must be used to make a bathroom independently accessible. Floor space must be adequate for easy maneuvering. Other features to be considered are: getting into and out of bathtubs and showers. controls on the tub. shower, faucets and lavatory, grab bar positioning, and toilet height and transfer position.

BEDROOM. Individuals who use wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and canes have specific space requirements when in the bedroom. Access to doors, windows, closets and beds are made simpler when the design creates ample maneuvering and clearance space.
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the wheelchair to open and close the door, (3) the threshold should be flush with the floor surface, (4) the door handle must be operable without grasping by the hand, and (5) the door must be opened or closed with minimum amount of effort.

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