Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ten Grand Is the Fee When Builders Ignore Universal Design

Twenty years or so ago, my boss built a wonderfully elaborate McMansion near a small fishing pond at the edge of town where we lived then. He loved to walk out after a stressful day, toss in a line, and then toss back the little bluegills or perch that he caught.

I only visited his house once. It was built with a stepped entrance, and I didn't enjoy the hassle of carrying a ramp. The time I did visit I noticed every bathroom door was 24-inches wide. I wondered aloud, and probably not in a polite way, where he intended to shower, shave, and ... if he or his wife broke a leg or were otherwise disabled, even temporarily.

And two decades later, I now have the same problem -- and with a house built in 2006! It boggles the mind that contractors continue to build homes without at least one ground level entrance and with bathroom doors wide enough for wheelchairs. It would add no significant cost. Actually, I believe it could be done for the same investment.

Modification for wheelchair access is a different story, probably 10,000 different stories paged with dollar bills even if a person finds a sophisticated contractor. But we are underway, and the house will soon have a ramped front entrance; a patio-door-level deck and ramp-to-surface at the back; a 36-inch door in the second bathroom where a 24-inch now resides; and a true roll-in shower.
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