Living at Home More Comfortably by Using an ADA Contractor to Modify Your Space
One’s living environment can become physically difficult to navigate for individuals seeking to age in place or for those with disabilities and/or serious mobility issues. Modifying one’s home space can be a daunting undertaking for individuals who aren’t familiar with the specifications required to create a safer, more independent living environment. Whether making minor adjustments, such as adding pull handles on doors, or major additions, such as expanding a bathroom, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) contractors are home modification specialists that meet each individual’s needs.
While a general contractor may be skilled for general renovation purposes, many may not realize that ADA provides guidelines when it comes to the height, width, strength, spacing, and dimensions. UDS provides contractors with knowledge of ADA compliance regulations to ensure modifications adhere to the specific rulings set out by the Department of Justice in accordance to State laws. This additional knowledge ensures that our contractors are educated to comply with ADA standards when designing home modifications.
ADA Contractor Considerations
With some appropriate home considerations that support ADA regulations, individuals can be more self-sufficient and remain in their homes longer. ADA contractors take into account several factors when providing home modifications. Some examples include: Do the bathrooms meet ADA specifications such as toilet height and width (17-19’’ high)? Are the doorway frames and hallways wide enough for wheelchair access (minimum 32” wide)?. Is there enough accessible lighting to prevent falls? Can an individual reach items in a closet without assistance? Taking into consideration an individual’s needs and aligning them with ADA guidelines allows the ADA Contractor to create a more holistic living space for their client.
ADA Compliant Bathroom Renovations
When it comes to bathroom modifications it’s important to consider the person’s needs prior to making renovations. Asking certain questions can help determine cost and the extent of the renovation itself: Does it need to be a major overhaul such as building a new bathroom or enlarging the existing space to make room for wheelchair access? Do you need to swap out the toilet or shower stall for a height or size to make it safe for those with mobility or stability concerns? Are the faucets easy to turn on and off to accommodate those with strength and coordination issues? Regardless of what modifications are made, it’s important to stay within the ADA regulations and standards.
Common bathroom renovations and specifications include:
- Installing vanities that are a proper height so that those in wheelchairs have access to the sink and cabinet storage space;
- Creating a curbless shower stall wide enough to allow a wheelchair, walker, or shower chair to enter without barriers;
- Installing a built-in secure seat to sit while showering and having a shower head with a long shower hose;
- Adding hardware for stability such as grab bars next to the toilet, and easy push/pull or motion-sensor sink handles;
- Replacing the toilet with a longer base to adjust the height of the seat to make it accessible from a seated position;
- Direct bathroom access for convenience and quick entrance;
- Widening the doors to ADA code or replacing them with alternatives such as pocket doors or door knobs with lever handles;
ADA Compliant Bedroom Modification
As with other areas of a home modification, a thoughtfully designed bedroom environment can provide adjustments that supports individuals wanting to age in place or for people with disabilities. Types of accommodations, considered by ADA as home ‘modifications’, can include ADA compliant hallway width, remodeling, restructuring or rearrangements of walls, expanding of door frames or, or adjusting heights of partitions to make a person’s bedroom more readily accessible. UDS has ADA contractors that provide expert guidance on how and what can be done to create a bedroom modification that best fits one’s needs and budget.
Common bedroom renovations and specifications include:
- Built-in beds that allow extra stability and support at the appropriate mattress height of no more than 22’’ from the floor for getting in and out of;
- Wheelchair storage to open up additional floor space when not in use;
- Built-in cabinets to organize and store personal belongings. Built-in cabinets also increase the amount of floor space as compared to having a physical piece of furniture creating a potential obstacle;
- Easy access closets that are at an appropriate height level to retrieve stored items;
- ADA compliant doorway widths of at least 32’’ high with door handles that are easy-to-grasp, single lever, and operable with one hand;
- Ensuring there is a 36’’ pathway on each side of the bed and at the foot of the bed that can accommodate a wheelchair or person;
ADA Compliant Kitchen Modification
Every kitchen space can be revamped to be ADA compliant to meet the needs of individuals wanting to age in place, people with disabilities, or those with serious mobility issues. Depending on the shape of the kitchen (walk-through or ‘U’ shaped) can determine how much walkway room is required to meet ADA regulations. Certain considerations such as countertop height, stove dimensions, and location of the refrigerator/freezer are important factors in creating a safe and functional working space for those seeking more independence. To assist those wanting to create an ADA compliant kitchen, UDS’ ADA contractors can provide expert recommendations when designing a space based on one’s needs and budget.
Common kitchen renovations and specifications include:
- Kitchen work space that provides clear floor and ground space for knee and toe clearance that adhere to the ADA minimum and maximum height requirements;
- Installation of shelving and cabinetry that are easily accessible and comply with the ADA reach guide regulations;
- Kitchen appliances such as stove top, dishwasher, refrigerator unit, etc. need to be placed and modified to provide accessibility and safety measures that comply with ADA specifications;
- Remodeling or restructuring kitchen entrance/exit ways that meet ADA compliant doorway width;
- Altering countertop height that make counters more wheelchair accessible;
- Restructuring or rearranging kitchen layout if required to meet the modification requirements.
At UDS – Finding an ADA Modification Contractor
Having an expert eye can help you design and create modifications that help you optimize the accessibility and ease of your living space. Whether it’s a complete home renovation, specific room modifications, or simple changes that create a more user-friendly environment, UDS proudly offers a resource center to answer any questions you may have.
By contacting UDS we can work with you to create a safe home modification environment. Our experts will assess your needs, do a home evaluation, obtain cost estimates, and supervise every aspect of accessible home modifications for people with disabilities. Our goal is to provide what you need to make your home more ADA accessible.
UDS services the greater South Central Pennsylvania area. A full map of the areas serviced by UDS can be found here.