September 18, 2017

Universal Design House Plans Make Home Renovation Pay Off

Universal Design House Plans and Cost Recovery

Using Universal Design house plans when renovating your home can pay off big time. Home renovation dollars can be limited. Figuring out how to spend them is always a challenge. Should I make just cosmetic changes? Should I try to make the house appeal to a certain generation? What will give me the best return on investment?

builder looking at universal design house plans

Look to the 2017 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report (http://bit.ly/2jGMXFy) for answers and how Universal Design house plans can make a difference in cost recovery.

Remodeling magazine’s annual report estimates the cost of 29 home improvement projects and how much homeowners could expect to recoup on a renovation when they sell.

This year, realizing that more homeowners are focused on aging and multi-generational households, the report added a new category and looked at the value of using universal design house plans for a renovated bathroom.

The $15,730 project included:

  • Widening the doorway for wheelchair accessibility
  • Reinforcing walls to support grab bars
  • Installing a zero-threshold shower with a fold-down seat
  • Putting in a comfort-height toilet
  • Installing a sink with space to allow someone to sit at it

It’s a project that could help you both age more comfortably and stay longer in your house. You also can expect to recoup $10,766 — 68.4 percent of the project cost–when you sell.

What is Universal Design?

If you’re not familiar with the term, universal design, and how it might apply to your home renovation, this is how The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design defines it:

Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples’ needs. Simply put, universal design is good design.

Universal Design House Plans for Home Renovation

I find that definition to be kind of wordy and unclear, as it might apply to a homeowner. Let me simplify that in my own words, speaking to you as a homeowner (or maybe even a flipper) who needs to renovate a home with the intent of reclaiming as much money as possible from the renovation costs.

Universal design is not just for disabled people who need features like ramps, wheelchair doorways, etc. We Baby Boomers who are not disabled need some of those features, too — if not now, then later. Within the definition of “environments that meet peoples’ needs . . . regardless of their age, size, ability or disability” are old people, toddlers, little people, big people, and handicapped people. You get the picture. So, there are a wide variety of universal design features that could be included in a home renovation.

How to Incorporate Universal Design into Your Home Renovation

Universal Design is not necessarily a specialist subject. In truth, it can be applied by any designer.

There are seven principles applied in a home renovation that can get you started:

  1. The design is useful to people with varied abilities.
  2. It accommodates a wide range of individual likings and abilities.
  3. Its use is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current awareness level.
  4. The design communicates needed information well to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  5. It lessens hazards and the adverse consequences of unintended actions.
  6. The design can be used efficiently and easily and with the least fatigue.
  7. Proper size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

If you want to incorporate universal design in the most effective and efficient way, you should find a builder or architect who knows how to apply these principles. Regardless of where you are in North America, we can help you with that through our network.

PS
Take a look at a related post we made on architect Matthias Hollwich and his book, New Aging: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever

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    Raleigh Lee

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