Many important things come in sevens…. the seven wonders of the world first come to mind, but then there are the seven seas, seven days of the week.   See what we mean.  The number seven also has special meaning in the field of aging in place and disability planning and design.   It refers to the seven key principles of Universal Design:  the essential guideposts that inform all our design, planning and construction projects.  These are the commandments that impact a home’s interior design and layout and determine how accessible, safe and enjoyable the use of a home can be.   And it’s not just important that we know these principles; Sadler Construction firmly believes your understanding of these valued standards will serve you well on any aging in place or accessibility project.  Here’s the nutshell list:  the seven principles of universal design boiled down to their essence.   

1.Equitable Use:  The design works for people with all ranges of ability; young, old, physically or mentally challenged.   Example:  front-mounting controls on a stove that allows a person in a wheelchair to reach them. 

2.Flexibility in Use:  The design works for a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.  Example:  Left and right-handed scissors. 

3.Simple and Intuitive Use:  The design is easy to understand regardless of experience education, language skills.  Avoid complex language and instructions.  Example:  Simple thermostats with big numbers, and color-coded to distinguish warm from cold. 

4.Perceptible Information:  The design clearly communicates the information needed by a user.  Example:  a doorbell with flashing light for use by homeowners with impaired hearing. 

5.Tolerance for Error:  The design eliminates or minimizes hazards and the risk of mistakes and unintended actions.  Example:  no-slip tile and step-free entries into a home.  Also included:  curbless showers.

6.Low Physical Effort:  The design can be used comfortably and with a minimum of effort.  Examples:  Lever or door handles on doors and faucets; touch lamps operated without a switch. 

7.Size and space for Approach and Use:  The design allows for enough space and size for people of all body sizes, postures, and mobility skills to approach, reach, manipulate and use.  Example:  Extra-wide doors that allow space for a wheelchair or walker to pass through easily. 

Sadler Construction practices these seven principles every day in the work we do and the services we provide to our clients.  In sum, Universal Design is a good design, and it’s how we do business.  Any questions?  Please feel free to contact with any comments or thoughts you have about this post.

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