In addition, implementing these changes increase the resale value of the home, and make the residence of particular interest to many segments of home buyers. When planning a remodeling project, it just makes good sense to tell the general contractor or architect that EasyLiving guidelines should be included in the design.
The EasyLiving Program is Expanding
As the residential accessibility concept takes hold, terms such as visitable, universal design, and aging-in-place are becoming popular buzzwords among architects and baby boomers alike.
Finding a builder experienced with complying with the certification experience is becoming easier and easier as the program spreads. Although the innovative program had its birth in the state of Texas, it began reaching out in 2005. To date, the construction principles have taken hold in West Virginia, Georgia, and New Hampshire.
It is expected to draw interest in socially progressive states like California and retirement states like Florida.
In order to participate, building contractors must submit an application to the ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization) along with a registration fee of £150. This initial fee allows for certification of 2 homes. Subsequent certifications cost £100. Homeowners should be aware of this certification fee so that the fee passed to the homeowner from the contractor won’t be inflated.
Accessibility Features Included in the Certification
The accessibility features specified by the program benefit both residents and visitors alike. They also allow aging extended family members to maintain the maximum level of independence while remaining at home rather than moving into a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
Minimum Certification Features
- Zero-step thresholds. Not having to step up or down makes entering and exiting the home a snap for individuals using walkers or wheelchairs. It also eliminates a day-to-day nuisance for parents dealing with a stroller, diaper bag, and other accessories demanded by infants, the youngest members of the family. The threshold must not be over 1/2” from a sidewalk, driveway, or adjacent firm surface.
- “Easy use” features. These are defined as affecting an minimum of 1 full bathroom, a kitchen, a bedroom, and an entertainment area.
- Wider doorways and case openings. For example, conventional bathroom door widths are difficult and often impossible to navigate with a wheelchair. Opening these up to at least 32” do the trick. This is the minimum specification for all first-floor doorways.