PROVIDING RESEARCH AND BEST PRACTICE RESOURCES
UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR HOUSING
Applying Principles of Universal Design to Housing
What is Universal Design for Housing?
Accessible Design for Housing
Accessible Design. The CSA/ASC B652, Accessible dwellings standard was developed to support peoples’ accessibility needs. It uses evidence to outline the requirements for the design, construction, and renovation of accessible homes. It was written to help people build homes that can meet a wide range of requirements and are easily adaptable over time.
CSA B652 is free to download
Universal Design for multi-unit residential buildings
The Universal Design Guide for multi-unit residential buildings is intended for multi-unit residential buildings consisting of single-level units in low-, mid- or high-rise buildings with common areas and entrances.
CMHC Universal Design guide for multi unit residential buildings
Aging in Place
Accessibility for housing is not yet mandated in Canada however there are multiple resources to help creating barrier free homes. Here are common accessibility features for aging in place:
Common Aging in Place Features:
- One no-step path to a no-step entry that can be at the front, side, rear, or through a garage (1/4–1/2 in. thresholds)
- No step access to patios, balconies, and terraces (1/4–1/2 in. thresholds)
- Doorways have at least a 34 in. wide clear opening with appropriate approach clearances
- Door handles are 34–38 inches from the floor
- Hallways and passageways are 42 in. clear minimum
- Access to at least one full bath on the main floor with reinforced walls at toilets and tubs for the future installation of grab bars
- Cabinetry in kitchen that allows a person to work in a seated position
- Light switches and electrical outlets 24–48 in. from finished floor
- Stairways have tread widths at least 11 in. deep and risers no greater than 7 in. high
- Good lighting throughout the house including task lighting in critical locations (e.g. under kitchen cabinets)
- Non-glare surfaces
- Contrasting colors to promote good perception of edges and boundaries
- Clear floor space of at least 30 x 48 in. in front of all appliances, fixtures, and cabinetry
- Front-loading laundry equipment
- Ample kitchen and closet storage or adjustable shelving within 28–48 in.
- Comfortable reach zones
(Steinfeld and White, 2010).
Based out of New Zealand, Lifemark Homes is a certification process to mark universally designed homes. Lifemark® rated homes are designed to be usable and safe for people of all ages and stages. Learn more about Lifemark certification standards below.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website on Universal Design for new Housing Units is a great resource to get started on UD principles and applications for your home.
SAFERhome’s mission is to promote the adoption and use of housing standards and practices that are safe, healthy and sustainable for everyone in the community. To achieve its objective SAFERhome provides home planning assistance, home inspection and certification programs for the new home construction industry.