Why you should consider including universal design features in your home
A house only truly feels like a home when it’s welcoming and safe for everyone who lives there, an experience which Tuai Timur in Setia Alam strives to offer with its universal design features.
The term universal design may be unfamiliar to most, however, the concept of a universally designed home isn’t new in real estate. Universal design, also known as barrier-free design, aims to ensure a living space is safe and accessible for everyone regardless of age, physical stature, or ability.
It coaxes us to rethink the ways our homes are built and designed to make them usable and comfortable for everyone, including family and guests.
The goal of universal design doesn’t end at creating spaces in a home that suits the needs of everyone but is also able to anticipate a homeowner’s changing needs with the intent of spanning all generations.
So, what are some of the universal design features that are important to have in a home that embraces multiple generations and abilities under one roof?
Universal design features you need in a home.
As we begin taking accessibility seriously, incorporating universal design principles has become more critical than ever. The effort it takes to implement universal design in a home is a lifelong project, which is why making your home fully accessible overnight is an impossible feat.
However, there are key design choices and renovations that have become popular among proponents of universal design especially, one such developer, Suntrack Development Sdn Bhd (Suntrack). Their latest project, Tuai Timur which is located in Setia Alam has made great strides in its commitment to building a multi-ability, multi-generational, inclusive community.
1. Consider the doors and doorways.
For a home to be able to properly accommodate wheelchair users or those using a walker or cane, hallways and doorways should at least be 900mm wide to comfortably allow movement. This is a prominent feature throughout Tuai Timur’s home layout.
Another feature that can be included is replacing the traditional doorknobs with levers to eliminate the need to grip the knobs to open a door. That way even if you have your hands fully occupied or if you have a condition that prevents you from turning a knob, levers are easier to handle.
Transitions between rooms or different flooring types should be smooth. Even if the flooring-level changes, a creative solution should be applied.
Thresholds are designed with low or no curbs or sloped edges, and at least one entryway into the home has no steps. In Tuai Timur, for example, there is a minimum floor drop with ramps at the unit’s entrance, yard and toilets.
2. Carve out ample space in the layout.
Opening up a home’s layout is at the heart of universal design, so it is important to consider how easy it is to manoeuvre throughout the home when movement is limited.
A wheelchair user, for example, requires a clear, obstruction-free space that allows for a minimum 5-foot turning radius for a 360-degree turnaround. While this sounds like a lot of space, it’s necessary for everyone’s comfort and to reduce tripping hazards. After all, even the most mobile person trips in tight spaces and injures themselves. You will find this feature incorporated in the design of Tuai Timur’s kitchen (wet & dry), bedrooms and bathrooms.
3. Pay Attention to Reachability
The centre element of universal design is that it should require as little physical effort as possible to navigate around your home. Reachability is an important element that helps minimise physical effort.
All outlets and switches in Tuai Timur’s homes are placed where either a child or a wheelchair user can easily reach without having to bend down or struggle to reach up. Switches that are situated between 36 to 48 inches from the floor to keep them within easy reach for most people, standing or seated—especially children from the age of 5 years old and wheelchair-bound persons.
Work surfaces, be it in the kitchen or living room should also be easily reached, maintained and used.
4. Keep the bathroom safe.
The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous places in a home. Most accidents that happen in a bathroom involve falls that are brought about by slippery surfaces. To prevent slips, Tuai Timur uses non-slip flooring to reduce falls.
The bathrooms here also allow for 360-degree manoeuvring. The showerhead and the temperature control (at a reachable height) are also placed on the opposite side of the walls to prevent scalding. The elderly and young children, in particular, are susceptible to burns from scalding water.
Install grab bars or at least install blocking between the studs so that grab bars can easily be added in the future.
5. Universal features inside and outside of the home
Features that are accessible and safe for everyone should also extend outside of the home. Some of the safety features include a fire refuge area on every floor, stretcher-accessible and in every home (which are not usually provided in any residential developments).
The swimming pool is raised above the ground to avoid children and adults alike from accidentally falling in.
If you love the idea of living in a home that caters to multiple generations and abilities under the same roof, and if you’re also planning to invest in a property that can anticipate your future needs, check out Tuai Timur @ Setia Alam.