Guest Post from Todd Hawkins of Builder Fish. BuilderFish™ specializes in Universal Design (UD) to help everyone, particularly older Americans and people with disabilities, enjoy independence, comfort, ease and longevity in their homes. Class A general contractor Jonathan Fishbeck is designated Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist by the AARP® and NAHB. They define “recycle your house” as going beyond “green” building to include preparing the house to accommodate multiple life stages and unforeseen circumstances so the home is convenient and safe for people of all ages and abilities. Energy conservation is an important component of Universal Design because features which conserve energy, prevent waste and save money contribute to core principles of UD promoting efficiency and safety.
Recently we were asked about a tub-to-shower conversion. Typically we recommend an all tile solution using linear drains (Drains don’t always have to be in the middle of the floor. QuickDrain USA’s brochure shows numerous solutions worth reviewing.)
Concerned about cost, the owner asked about ADA compliant shower inserts, also known as curb-less, roll-in or flush threshold showers. I’ll emphasize that custom tile work isn’t necessarily a budget buster, depends on what you select, but there are alternatives including this shower base from Delta with a built-in trench drain.
Why is it important to avoid a curbed (standard) shower? Even a half inch rise poses a significant obstacle to someone with impaired mobility. The safest bet is a roll-in shower with water directed to an edge.
Before leaving this topic, I want to point out something about the fixtures Delta has branded as Smart Solutions. What they’re labeling “smart features”, like touch and motion activated faucets and multi-flow, trigger activated wands are universally designed. Since the mention of UD usually results in a blank stare, companies are trying new ways to describe and promote to consumers.
In fact, I’m now using “lifetime design” more instead of Universal Design. Do you think that makes more sense? Please reply to this blog entry to give me your opinion about what “lifetime design” means to you. Regardless of what we call it, UD is already becoming the standard in new and remodeled homes because it’s simpler and convenient. Who doesn’t prefer easier?
Director of Client Happiness
Preacher of Universal Design
434-299-8633 (must dial area code)