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How to Make a Property Disability Friendly and Accessible

 21st July 2016

How to Make a Property Disability Friendly and Accessible

Nowadays it is commonplace to find disabled access in business premises and public places. Great strides have been made to make life easier for those with disabilities but when it comes to making your own property more disability friendly the potential work involved may seem daunting. The truth is it’s easy to make your home or business property more accessible for people with disabilities if the project is planned carefully. As mentioned above, able-bodied people will appreciate disabled access such as ramps or designated washrooms, but there is much more to the term than that.

Some of the changes you will make may require very little investment, while others may require a bit more planning and expense. Either way an important tip worth remembering is that a little thoughtfulness goes a long way and is improved access is easily achievable when the perspective of disabled people is taken into consideration.

With that in mind, if you’re looking to make your property disability friendly and accessible, see below for the top priorities you should tackle first:

Disabled Access Ramps

Disabled Access Ramps

Depending on the entrance to your home or business premises, you will most likely need to add disabled access ramps to your property. In terms of disabled access this is by far one of the most important ways of making access easier for wheelchairs and mobility scooters coming into your home or place of business. It’s important to remember that while able-bodied individuals may not think twice when negotiating certain obstacles, for disabled people it can easily be an enormous inconvenience.

Disabled access ramps are also the easiest way to make a property more accessible, for example a wheelchair user would require help to go past steps when going in and out of a building. This can become particularly tricky for those travelling alone not to mention a demoralising inconvenience, whereas access ramps are simple and effective.

Remove Unnecessary Obstructions

A good place to start when making your home more disability friendly is to remove any unnecessary obstructions in every room and corridor. Other potentially hazardous obstructions that should be removed include loose rugs or carpets and any furniture that is not needed. Another tip is to rearrange the furniture in your property to ensure easy access into each room as well as making it easy to move around each space. With access ramps and thoughtfully laid out interiors, people with limited mobility cane enter, exit, and make their way easily within the property.

Interior Modifications and Changes

Once access has been improved at the property’s exits and the spaces within, there are other modifications and changes that owners may also want to consider. For example, hand rails and automatic entry systems go a long way in making a property more disability friendly. While there are universal alterations that will help everyone, it is also important to consider who you’re making the changes for, particularly if it’s your family home. Other changes include wheelchair friendly flooring, well organised and conveniently located cupboards and drawers, as well as other suitable aids and equipment.

Remodelling and Renovations

The changes above are largely minor adjustments that can be easily carried out to make your property more disability friendly and accessible but sometimes some remodelling and renovations are required. The work involved may cause some disruption while it is being carried out but will be of huge importance to supporting a disabled persons independence and freedom of movement. Jobs include remodelling your kitchen and bathroom to make them more disabled friendly, as well as widening hallways that are to narrow for wheelchair access.

Extended Doors and Electric Window openers

Extended Doors and Electric Window openers

Other renovations to consider in making a property more disability friendly and comfortable is by carrying out further renovations to install extended doors and even electric window openers. In some cases trying to fit a wheelchair or mobility scooter through a standard door may be difficult, and this where extended doors come in. Extended or double doors are a simple solution that makes entrance into the property easy and without obstruction.

In the case of electric windows, they are another great way to make your property more disability friendly as it reduces the opening of windows at home or in a business premise to the push of a button.

Lastly, remember to provide disabled parking spaces or enough room outside the property where those who require it can exit and enter their vehicles easily and safely. Ensuring the parking spaces are as near to the building as possible to prevent disabled individuals from covering long distances and providing unobstructed spaces and pathways is also incredibly helpful.

Whether they are minor changes in and around your property, or major renovation works, all the tips listed above are all simple ways that make a big difference. Making a property disability friendly and accessible is important to maintaining the dignity and independence of people with disabilities and is an important aspect that should always be a part of the architecture of buildings and properties.

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