Universal Design


What is Universal Design?

Universal Design is the use of products and environments to be utilized by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. The intent of the universal concept is to simply living for everyone by making life in your home usable by more people at little or no extra cost. Universal design is an approach to design that incorporates products as well as building features and elements which, to the greatest extent possible, can be used by everyone. While accessible or adaptable design requirements are specified by codes or standards for only some buildings and are aimed at benefiting only some people (those with mobility limitations), the universal design concept targets all people of all ages, sizes, and abilities and can be applied to all buildings.


What is a Universal Design feature?

A Universal Design feature is any component of a house that can be used by everyone regardless of their level of ability or disability. Universal features are generally standard building products or features that have been placed differently, selected carefully, or omitted. For example, standard electrical receptacles can be placed higher than usual above the floor, standard but wider doors can be selected, and steps at entrances can be eliminated to make housing more universally usable.


The composition of our population is changing. Many people are surviving permanently disabling accidents and illness, even more are living longer, and an increasing number of adults are taking in their family members. It would seem logical that the spaces built to accommodate this population must, by necessity, change also. The building and design industries have responded to this need for change by producing special products and spaces for special groups. But “special” is often synonymous with “expensive”. Specialization leads to complicated building standards and products which, in the end, seldom meet the needs of more than a fraction of those they were meant to help and often seem to stigmatize and separate them further from other people.This is not the case with Universal Design.


Universal Design succeeds because it does not require specialization. The concept promotes designing every product and building, so that everyone can use them to the greatest extent possible – every faucet, light fixture, shower stall, or entry. Universal design is a revolutionary, but practical leap forward in the evolution of building and design procedures.


Custom Homes LTD considers every opportunity to offer Universal Design for every custom home because this gives you long term accessibility and/or is an added value to buyers in the event you sell you home. Contact us for more information.

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Steve Sierleja, while living environmentally conscious himself, advocates a mantra in all of his company practices for Custom Homes LTD and BuildBlock of South Central Texas… “Green Building practices need to be the norm not the exception. We need to be good Stewards of this Earth for future generations. We have the capabilities presently to improve this world for all.”

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