A home is considered to be adaptable if it has all or most of the following key structural features to allow reasonable entry and circulation without extensive modification:
- Entrance is on a flat or level site with paved walkways from parking and sidewalk
- Alternatively the entry could be on ground-level entrance with a one or two step entrance, clear of any major obstructions (trees, corners, etc.) that would accept a ramp with a slope no greater than 1 inch height per 12 foot length.
- No steps or abrupt level changes on the main floor.
- Doorways that are at least 36 inches wide.
- Hallways at least 42 inches wide.
- At least one bathroom on the main level with a 36 inch wide door and clear 5 foot by 5 foot floor space.
- A kitchen that is U shaped or L shaped with room for a wheelchair to manoeuver.
Individual access needs vary widely, but some additional items to consider when building new or buying a house that needs to be accessible include:
- Low pile carpeting or hard floors
- Chair height doorbell/mailbox (48-54 inches)
- Chair height electrical controls/outlet/phone jacks (48-54 inches)
- Accessible, easily operated window controls (slide open with one hand with less than 8 pounds of pressure (24-28 inches from floor)
- Direct outside emergency exit from bedroom of person with cerebral palsy
- Chair height controls in kitchen and bathroom
- Reinforced wall for grab bars
- Lever handle door handles inside and out
- Appropriate bathroom fixtures for persons need (roll in shower or tub with built in seat or lift)
- Reinforced ceiling if need a lift
- Roll under sink in kitchen and bath
- Automatic door opener
Some modifications that could me made in the home include:
- Accessible Entrance/Exit – includes adding ramps, widening doorways, making entrance locks and door handles accessible and providing an emergency exit.
- Accessible Interior – includes widening hallways or interior doors, moving electrical switches and outlets related to door widening.
- Accessible Bedroom – including widening doorways, making the closet accessible (lowered shelves and hanging rods), relocating electrical switches and outlets.
- Accessible Bathroom – includes modifying design of commode, sink and cabinets, tub or shower, widening entrance, moving switches and outlets, faucet hardware.
- Accessible Kitchen – including cabinets, counters and appliances for disabled adults to prepare their own or their family’s meals.