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about your house

CE 63i

Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs


and Floor Plans
What is Accessible Adaptable
An overview of the key
House Design? An adaptable house is designed concepts of universal design
Accessible house design is to be adapted economically at is provided in “The Principles
design that will accommodate a later date to accommodate of Universal Design” text
everyone, including people someone with a disability. box on page 17.
with disabilities. Accessible Features include removable Bolded terms throughout
housing includes houses that cupboards in a kitchen or this fact sheet are defined
are minimally accessible, bathroom to create knee space in the “Glossary” text box
houses that can easily be made for a wheelchair user, or a on page 16.
accessible at a later date, and knock-out floor panel in a
houses that are completely closet to allow installation of
accessible with power door an elevator. This approach is that change over time. Features
openers, large bathrooms also known as FlexHousingTM. include lever door handles that
and so on. Some of the most everyone can use, enhanced
common types of accessible Accessible lighting levels to make it
house designs are: An accessible house includes as easy as possible to see,
features that meet the needs stairways that feature handrails
Visitable of a person with a disability. that are easy to grasp, and
A visitable house includes basic Most accessible houses feature easy-to-use appliances.
accessibility features that allow open turning spaces within
most people to visit, even if rooms, wheel-in shower stalls Assessing
they have limitations such and kitchen work surfaces with your needs
as impaired mobility. Basic knee space below. First, think of why you are
features of a visitable house interested in making your
include a level entry, wider Universal house more accessible and
doors throughout the entrance Universal house design what is required to successfully
level and a washroom on the recognizes that everyone who complete your accessible
main floor. uses a house is different and housing design project.
comes with different abilities
About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

project. Working from big as re-grading a front yard to


Planning for issues down to smaller details provide level entry into the
Emergencies will help you, and the designer house or relocating a vanity
The design of an accessible or contractor you are working to create more space in a
home, whether it is a with, to clearly understand bathroom. More complex
renovation or a new the design requirements of projects will likely require
construction, should take into your project. the services of a design
account the need to evacuate
professional, such as an
in an emergency. At least For example, using the kitchen
architect, interior designer
one accessible exit should sink might be identified as a
be available from each floor
or architectural technologist.
problem. The reasons could be
level. An accessible exit on many—no knee space below What are the
the ground floor level would the sink for someone in a
likely be an exterior door; on
Options?
wheelchair, faucet too far away
an upper or a lower level, from the front of the sink for When extensive accessibility
an area of refuge such as improvements are required, the
a short person or a person in
a balcony or exterior patio question often arises whether it
a wheelchair to reach, a faucet
should be considered. is better to renovate or build a
(See the About Your House
that is difficult to grasp and
turn, a sink too deep to reach new, custom-designed home.
fact sheet Accessible Housing Unfortunately, there is no
by Design—Fire Safety for You the bottom, or not enough
space in front of the sink to simple answer.
and Your Home.)
“park” a wheelchair. The more Many factors can determine
specific you can be about why the feasibility of either strategy.
A good starting point is listing the sink is not usable, the easier They include the location of
what works well for you and it will be to design a solution. structural walls within an
your family in your existing existing house, the available
home and what does not. Once you have developed a
comprehensive list of your space on a lot for constructing
Although targeted more an addition, how often existing
specifically at the needs of needs, it is time to assess how
to best meet those needs. Are spaces in the house are used,
seniors, the checklist provided and the availability of a serviced
in CMHC’s Maintaining there technologies available to
address the problems? Is there lot to build a new home.
Seniors’ Independence
Through Home Adaptations: a need for personal assistance The feasibility and effectiveness
A Self-Assessment Guide can or attendant care? Would the of renovation versus new
help all family members problems be alleviated by construction is one area where
identify problem areas. On the re-designing your house? you should call on a qualified
basis of your list, decide what A homeowner can tackle a design professional to investigate
are the key elements of your simple design project, such and determine costs.
accessibility improvement

2 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Pre-designed Altering a builder’s plan Finding a designer who is


accessible housing Another strategy for achieving experienced in accessibility
There are few sources of appropriate accessible housing issues can often be a challenge.
pre-designed accessible housing is to find a builder who Possible sources of information
available in Canada today. offers house styles that can be include local architect and
However, some builders are adapted to include accessibility interior design associations,
starting to realize that there features before construction. disability support organizations
is a potential market for Changes, such as wider doors, such as the March of Dimes
accessible housing that lever door hardware instead of and the Easter Seals Society,
incorporates some universal knobs and re-grading to avoid and magazines such as Abilities
features, such as larger steps at the front door, are (see “Additional Resources” on
bathrooms, and can often easy and inexpensive. page 15). Be sure to do your
accommodate “add-on” Some builders allow purchasers research, interview a short list
accessibility features, such to customize the interior of potential designers and ask
as residential elevators and layout of their base models. for—and check—references.
extra-wide garages. Other Widening hallways, enlarging
evolving trends in new house foyers, reorganizing bathroom Case Studies
design include housing that is layouts, and so on, can
Case studies of accessible
“visitable” and housing that improve accessibility.
house designs are provided on
supports “aging in place.” the following pages. Each case
Your local and provincial Custom-designed
study provides details on the
homebuilders’ associations accessible housing type of house, the profile of
should be able to direct you to If you are considering a custom- its residents and the design
local builders who offer universal designed accessible home, you features which make the
design housing choices. should use a design professional house “visitable,” “adaptable,”
who is knowledgeable and “accessible” or “universal.” In
In many provinces, public
each scenario, design features
housing corporations typically experienced in the design of are a direct reflection on the
provide a percentage of accessible homes. It is also
a good idea to involve an present and future accessible
accessible housing units in design needs of the residents.
their developments. Similarly, occupational therapist in the
non-profit housing associations design process to help you
and housing co-operatives determine your current
often include accessible units. functional needs and provide
Check with your municipality guidance on future
for public, non-profit and requirements.
co-operative housing projects.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 3


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

The visitable three bedrooms, a bathroom Features


house and an open study-work area The main floor of the house
(see Figure 1). is designed to be visitable
House profile
by everyone in the family,
This two-storey house with a Resident profile
including the aging
basement features open living The residents are Mr. and grandparents. Specific
spaces on the main floor, as Mrs. Singh and their two teenage features include:
well as a den and a bathroom. sons. The family entertains a
Stair access is provided to the lot and frequently has visits
upper level, which incorporates from the Singh grandparents.

Patio

Breakfast

Bedroom Bedroom
Family room

Kitchen

Study
Den

Living room Bedroom

Porch

GROUND FLOOR SECOND FLOOR


Sloped
walkway

Drawing by: DesignAble Environments Inc.


Figure 1 Example of a visitable house

4 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

n Level entry at the n Wider hallways throughout The adaptable


main entrance; the main floor to reach all house
of the living spaces, as well
n Doors and other openings House profile
as the main floor bathroom;
throughout the main floor
This is the same house from
that provide at least n A main floor bathroom
the previous case study,
810 mm (32 in.) of that is large enough to
except that the design allows
clear width; accommodate a person using
further modifications to be
a device such as a walker, a
made to meet the occupant’s
wheelchair or a scooter.
changing needs (see Figure 2).

Patio

Dining room

Bedroom Bedroom
Bedroom

Kitchen

Kitchen

Bedroom
Dining
room

Living room
Living
Typical wheelchair room
Foyer turn space

Porch

GROUND FLOOR SECOND FLOOR


Sloped
walkway

Drawing by: DesignAble Environments Inc.


Figure 2 Example of an adaptable house

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 5


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Adaptable housing Resident profile n doors with lever hardware


incorporates CMHC’s The same family as in the that provide at least
FlexHousingTM guidelines, visitable house case study, 810 mm (32 in.) of
which allow homeowners but later in life. The two sons clear space when open;
to reconfigure the interior now live in different cities. n a wheelchair-accessible
space of their homes more Mrs. Singh is widowed and kitchen;
economically. is having some difficulty
a wheelchair-accessible
The original house was designed walking—she now uses a
n

walker but may eventually bathroom;


to be easily and inexpensively
subdivided into two units. A need to use a wheelchair. n an emergency exit to an
two-unit configuration may exterior area of refuge
make the home more affordable, Features (e.g. rear patio);
by allowing the homeowners The main floor unit is occupied
n lower switches and
to supplement their income by by Mrs. Singh. The upper unit
controls throughout.
renting out part of the home. is rented out to supplement
Alternatively, it could allow her pension income. The The accessible
people who require a significant tenants, Mr. and Mrs. Wong, house: renovation
amount of personal care have a baby. Mrs. Wong is
assistance to remain in their a stay-at-home mom and Existing house profile
home by providing caregivers supplements the family income A two-storey, three-bedroom
with rental accommodation by providing housekeeping and house with an attached two-car
in exchange for personal care assistance to Mrs. Singh. garage (see Figure 3). The
care assistance. Adaptable house features house features a large covered
include: porch at the front, and a
A separate living unit has been
created on each floor by the n Level entry at the sunroom and deck at the rear.
addition of entrance doors, main entrance; Main floor includes open plan
minor changes to the partition living spaces, as well as a small
n A secondary two-bedroom
layout and the addition of bedroom, bathroom and
unit on the upper level; laundry room.
kitchen facilities on the
upper level. n Secure entrances for both

living units; Resident profile


Note: Remember to check The house is owned by
local zoning bylaws before n An accessible two-bedroom
Simon Jones and his partner
subdividing a single-family main floor unit, featuring:
Colin Chow, a couple in their
residence. For more information, n accessible floor finishes; late 60s. Simon was recently
see CMHC’s fact sheet About injured in an accident and
Your House: Secondary Suites. n wider hallways;
now uses a powered wheelchair.

6 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Since his accident, Simon Other significant changes n Doors featuring 860 mm
has been restricted to the included creating an accessible (34 in.) clear space when
main floor of his home. front entrance, altering the open, as well as lever-type
The bedroom, bathroom interior to make the main hardware;
and hallways are small and floor hallway more accessible,
n An accessible main-floor
inaccessible, and there is incorporating wheelchair-
laundry room with raised
no space for the exercise accessible bathroom and
washer and dryer with
equipment that Simon requires kitchen facilities, creating a
front-mounted controls;
for rehabilitation. Simon also large accessible master suite on
requires personal care assistance the second floor, and providing n An accessible powder room
24 hours a day. a separate space for a personal on the main floor;
care attendant. Specific
Features n A three-stop
features include:
residential elevator;
The renovation reorganized n Level entry at front door;
the main floor spaces to make n Ceramic tile and hardwood
them wheelchair accessible and n 1,800 mm (71 in.) diameter floor finishes;
installed a residential elevator wheelchair turning spaces at
n A caregiver’s room with
for access from the garage floor critical locations throughout
separate entrance and
level to the main and second the house;
two-piece bathroom;
floors. An exterior balcony was n An accessible kitchen with:
added to the second floor as an n A secondary exit from
area of refuge which can be n lowered counters; ground floor to deck at the
used in case of fire (see Figure 4). rear of the house;
n raised dishwasher;
n An exit on second floor to
Assessing Your Needs n countertop-mounted
an exterior area of refuge;
cooktop with knee space;
The assessment of client needs,
n A wired-in, interlinked
a critical part of the design n wall-mounted oven
smoke detector system;
process, showed that Mr. Jones with side-hinged door
required an 1,800 mm (71 in.) and insulated pull-out n A carbon monoxide
diameter turning space for his shelf below; alarm system;
wheelchair—which is larger
than the typical wheelchair n shallow sink with knee n Switches and controls
turning space specified by space below, accessible mounted 400–1,200 mm
most accessibility codes and faucet and insulated (16–47 in.) above the floor,
standards. If you use assistive hot-water pipes and that are easy to operate
equipment such as a walker, drain line; using one hand;
a wheelchair or a scooter, be
sure to measure the space you n side-by-side refrigerator
need, and design accordingly. –freezer;

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 7


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Deck

Sunroom

Bedroom Bedroom
Living
room

Kitchen Bedroom
Laundry

Porch

Garage

GROUND FLOOR SECOND FLOOR

Drawing by: DesignAble Environments Inc.


Figure 3 House design before renovation

n An accessible second-floor n An accessible second-floor n curbless shower area


suite incorporating sleeping, bathroom with: with accessible controls
exercise and work areas; and shower head on a
n raised toilet fixture;
flexible hose;

8 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Deck

New pathway

Sunroom

Bedroom

Bedroom Living room


Raised
dishwasher

Lowered
counter
Exercise/
Laundry Kitchen office area
Wall
oven

Porch Refuge
area
Elevator
Attendant New ramp
Elevator
Garage
GROUND FLOOR SECOND FLOOR

Drawing by: DesignAble Environments Inc.


Figure 4 Accessible house design after renovation

n vanity with knee space n bathtub with n grab bars for toilet, tub
and accessible faucet; accessible faucets; and shower stall.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 9


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

The accessible
house: new
construction
House profile Kitchen Porch
A newly constructed, Bedroom
three-bedroom bungalow
with basement and attached, Typical
turn space
two-car garage (see Figure 5). Dining
The open plan main floor room Living
room
includes three bedrooms,
Closet
two bathrooms and a
laundry room. Laundry
Bedroom
Resident profile
Jenny Giocametti is a successful
lawyer in her early 30s who
lives in her own home. She
rents one of the bedrooms Porch Bedroom
to a tenant. Jenny can stand
and walk short distances but
generally uses a scooter for Garage
mobility. She drives a converted
mini-van, which is equipped Paved Walkway
with a side-lift for her scooter. driveway
Jenny has contracted with a
builder to construct her house
from the floor plan of an
accessible home she found
on the Internet.
Drawing by: DesignAble Environments Inc.
Features
Figure 5 Example of an accessible house
Jenny worked with the builder
to customize the design to n A kitchen that incorporates kitchen activities but can
meet her specific needs. work surfaces for both become fatigued at times,
The customized features standing and seated use— requiring the use of
include: Jenny prefers to stand for her scooter;

10 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

n A kitchen that maximizes The universal integrated laundry facilities


storage options within garden suite (see Figure 6).
Jenny’s reach. Storage
cupboards feature pull-out House profile Resident profile
shelves to make it easier to A modest, single-storey Mrs. Rafsanjani, a woman in
reach items; secondary unit, built as her 70s, lives in the universal
a separate house on a lot garden suite, which is located
n Lower windows to provide
with an existing house. (See at the rear of her son’s home.
unobstructed viewing from
CMHC’s fact sheet About She is dealing with the effects
a seated position;
Your House: Garden Suites.) of macular degeneration,
n Raised, front-loading The suite features an entrance resulting in poor vision.
laundry appliances; foyer, open living area, Otherwise, Mrs. Rafsanjani’s
bedroom and bathroom with abilities are excellent.
n To reduce fatigue and
conserve energy, Jenny
installed a central
environmental control
system that allows her to
control her environment
from a central panel located
in the living room. She can
control lights, wall outlets
and the thermostat, as Living area Bedroom
well as the TV and the
entertainment system. The
system also incorporates a
video connection to the
main entrance, to allow Kitchen Bath
Jenny to remotely answer
and unlock the door
(see Accessible Housing by Ramp up
Design—Home Automation);
n The stairway to the
basement is configured
as a straight run, with lots
of headroom and space at Drawing by: DesignAble Environments Inc.
the bottom of the stair for Figure 6 Example of a universal garden suite
future installation of an
inclined-platform stair lift.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 11


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Features functional zones within The universal


The unit incorporates numerous the open plan living area house
features to assist Mrs. Rafsanjani —seating area (low pile
carpet), kitchen/eating House profile
to make the most effective use
of her limited vision, including: area (ceramic tile) and The universal house is a large,
circulation/hall area two-storey, four-bedroom
n Significant use of (hardwood); house with a full basement and
contrasting surfaces and an attached two-car garage
finishes to make them easier n Finishes and window
(see Figure 7). Main floor
to see. Specifically: coverings minimize direct
accommodation includes open
sunlight and reflective glare.
contrasting coloured plan living space, an office, a
n Matte surfaces are used
baseboards and door trim bathroom and a large master
throughout and adjustable
are used to better define bedroom suite. The second
blinds are used on
room perimeter and floor incorporates three
all windows;
door location; bedrooms, one with an ensuite
n Enhanced levels of lighting. bathroom, as well as a large
n a light-coloured Lighting can be increased in hall and a family bathroom.
countertop with a dark- key areas, such as kitchen
coloured front edge and work surfaces and Resident profile
backsplash is used in the reading areas; A busy family of seven lives
kitchen—the light colour here: Mr. and Mrs. Lambie
helps define the location n Appliances feature large,
colour-contrasting controls and their five children, aged
of objects on the 4 to 17. One of the children,
countertop, and the and displays. Some of the
controls provide sound Sarah, is hard of hearing.
colour-contrasting front
edge and backsplash help cues to the user; Features
define the extent of n Lots of electrical outlets The house features many basic
the surface; minimize the need for elements that contribute to
n colour-contrasting extension cords and the universal accessibility and
hardware on doors potential tripping hazard are of benefit to everyone.
and cabinets; caused by appliance cords. Examples include:
n wall switches and outlets The design of the universal n Entrances that are free of
are a different colour garden suite also features a steps and stairs—providing
from the wall finish; no-step entry, wider doors, greater safety;
easy-to-use switches and
n different flooring controls, and sufficient space n Floor finishes that are level,
materials define the to accommodate a walker or smooth, slip-resistant and
boundaries of the various a wheelchair in the future. glare-free—providing
enhanced safety and comfort;

12 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

n Doorways that provide n Lever-type door hardware that n Windows that feature
at least 860 mm (34 in.) is easy to open with minimal easy-to-operate opening
clear space when open— strength using one hand or and locking systems, as well
wide enough to negotiate an elbow—which is good as shades or blinds to adjust
while carrying grocery bags for small children, or when interior lighting;
or a child; carrying objects;

Porch

Master
bedroom
Open to
Great room
below
Balcony

Closet

Dining
room Bedroom
Bedroom
Kitchen

Foyer
Open to
below
Bedroom
Garage
Office

Paved Walkway GROUND SECOND


driveway FLOOR FLOOR

Drawing by: DesignAble Environments Inc.


Figure 7 Example of a universal house

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 13


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

n Enhanced levels of lighting n Stairways that feature n Bathrooms that incorporate


throughout—easy to continuous handrails on larger, spa-type, curbless
adjust to suit all needs both sides that are easy shower stalls, capable of
and preferences; to grasp for small and accommodating a seat
large hands; or stool and featuring
n Additional lighting where
easy-to-use controls;
it is most needed—under n Appliances that feature large,
upper cupboards in the easy-to-read controls that n Appliances with
kitchen, illuminating the are comfortable to reach; front-mounted controls
work surfaces; which are easy to reach
n Faucets and other controls
and operate.
n Kitchen cupboards and work that can be operated with
surfaces with contrasting minimal strength—such as The house has a number of
colours, making doors, door hands-free faucets and features that will particularly
handles, counters, and so motion-sensing light benefit Sarah Lambie (who is
on, easier to see and use; switches. hard of hearing):
n Kitchen cabinets that The house also incorporates n A smoke alarm system that
incorporate lots of drawers features that can benefit people provides audible alarm sounds
and pull-out shelves. This with limited mobility, as well as visual signals
brings items closer to the including: (flashing strobe lights);
user, eliminating the need
n Stacked storage closets on n An intercom, a door bell
to reach to the back
each of the floor levels, with and a telephone system that
of cupboards;
knock-out floor panels that feature visual signals as well
n Stairs that feature steps will accommodate a residential as sounds;
that are deeper and shorter, elevator with minimal cost
n Enhanced levels of evenly
as well as safety-designed and disruption;
distributed, glare-free lighting,
nosings (the front part of a
n Walls in bathrooms are to facilitate lip-reading and
step that hangs over the step
reinforced to accommodate the use of sign language;
below). Stair nosings should
grab bars if they are needed
be shaped to guide the foot n Quiet mechanical systems
in the future;
over the front of the step; and appliances that reduce
n Bathrooms that feature background noise and
enough space to accommodate provide the best environment
a walker or a wheelchair; for people with limited
hearing ability.

14 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Additional Australian Network for Manitoba Family Services


Resources Universal Housing Design and Housing—Visitable
(June 2010) Housing Design (June 2010)
Books www.anuhd.org http://www.gov.mb.ca/
Covington, G. A. and housing/visitable_housing.html
Canadian Abilities
Hannah, B. (1996). Access
Foundation (June 2010)
by Design. New York:
www.abilities.ca
Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Canadian Centre on
Leibrock, C. and Terry, J. E.
Disability Studies—Welcome
(1999). Beautiful Universal
to Visitability Canada
Design: A Visual Guide. New
(June 2010)
York: John Wiley & Sons.
www.visitablehousing
Young, L. C. and Pace, R. J. canada.com
(2000). Accessible Multifamily
The Center for Universal
Housing. Raleigh, NC: The
Design (June 2010)
Center for Universal Design.
http://www.design.ncsu.edu/
Retrieved October 13, 2010,
cud/index.htm
from http://www.ncsu.edu/
www/ncsu/design/sod5/ Concrete Change (June 2010)
cud/pubs_p/docs/acessible www.concretechange.org
multifamilyhousing.pdf
Disability Services
Websites Commission—Access and
Universal Design (June 2010)
AARP—Livable Communities http://www.disability.wa.gov.
(June 2010) au/aud.html
http://www.aarp.org/home-
garden/livable-communities/ The District of Saanich—
Adaptable Housing
ABLEDATA—Informed (June 2010)
Consumer’s Guide to http://www.saanich.ca/
Accessible Housing business/adaptable/
(June 2010) adaptable.html
http://www.abledata.com/
abledata_docs/icg-hous.htm

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 15


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

Glossary
Aging in place: The ability to remain in one’s home safely, independently and comfortably,
regardless of age, income or ability level throughout one’s changing lifetime.
Area of refuge: A fire rated area where a person, unable to evacuate independently, can safely
wait for assistance. Some building codes require an area of refuge served by an exit or firefighters’
elevator. Balconies are sometimes considered acceptable areas of refuge.
FlexHousingTM: A practical approach to designing and building housing that allows residents to
convert space to meet their changing needs. For more information, visit CMHC’s website at
www.cmhc.ca and enter “FlexHousing” in the search field.

16 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

The Principles of Universal Design


Universal design is defined as:
“The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible,
without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”
The concept is an evolving design philosophy.

Principle 1: Equitable use


This principle focuses on providing equitable access for everyone in an integrated and dignified manner.
It implies that the design is appealing to everyone and provides an equal level of safety for all users.

Principle 2: Flexibility in use


This principle implies that the design of the house or product has been developed considering
a wide range of individual preferences and abilities throughout the life cycle of the occupants.

Principle 3: Simple and intuitive


The layout and design of the home and devices should be easy to understand, regardless of the user’s
experience or cognitive ability. This principle requires that design elements be simple and work intuitively.

Principle 4: Perceptible information


The provision of information using a combination of different modes, whether using visual, audible
or tactile methods, will ensure that everyone is able to use the elements of the home safely and
effectively. Principle 4 encourages the provision of information through all of our senses—sight,
hearing and touch—when interacting with our home environment.

Principle 5: Tolerance for error


This principle incorporates a tolerance for error, minimizing the potential for unintended results.
This implies design considerations that include fail-safe features and gives thought to how all users
may use the space or product safely.

Principle 6: Low physical effort


This principle deals with limiting the strength, stamina and dexterity required to access spaces
or use controls and products.

Principle 7: Size and space for approach and use


This principle focuses on the amount of room needed to access space, equipment and controls.
This includes designing for the appropriate size and space so that all family members and visitors
can safely reach, see and operate all elements of the home.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 17


About Your House
Accessible Housing by Design—House Designs and Floor Plans

To find more About Your House fact sheets plus a wide variety of information products,
visit our website at www.cmhc.ca. You can also reach us by telephone at 1-800-668-2642
or by fax at 1-800-245-9274.

Priced Publications
FlexHousingTM: Homes that Adapt to Life’s Changes Order No. 60945
FlexHousingTM: The Professional’s Guide Order No. 61844
Healthy HousingTM Renovation Planner Order No. 60957

Free Publications
Design Options for Barrier-Free and Adaptable Housing Order No. 63909
Maintaining Seniors’ Independence Through Home Adaptations: A Self-Assessment Guide Order No. 61087
About Your House fact sheets
“Accessible Housing by Design” series
Appliances Order No. 65080
Bathrooms Order No. 65686
Fire Safety for You and Your Home Order No. 66091
Home Automation Order No. 65889
Kitchens Order No. 65588
Lifts and Residential Elevators Order No. 65542
Living Spaces Order No. 66095
Ramps Order No. 65023
Residential Hoists and Ceiling Lifts Order No. 65544
Garden Suites Order No. 65009
Hiring a Contractor Order No. 62277
Preventing Falls on Stairs Order No. 63637
Secondary Suites Order No. 66497
Research Highlight fact sheets
Evaluation of Optimal Bath Grab Bar Placement for Seniors Order No. 63245
Measuring the Effort Needed to Climb Access Ramps in a Manual Wheelchair Order No. 63916

©2010, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


Printed in Canada
Produced by CMHC 14-10-10

Although this information product reflects housing experts’ current knowledge, it is provided for general information purposes only. Any
reliance or action taken based on the information, materials and techniques described are the responsibility of the user. Readers are advised
to consult appropriate professional resources to determine what is safe and suitable in their particular case. Canada Mortgage and Housing
66093

Corporation assumes no responsibility for any consequence arising from use of the information, materials and techniques described.