(Doorways / Openings)

(Doorways / Openings)

Making Your Space Easier To Live

Challenges & Considerations

While universal design can significantly improve the accessibility and usability of doorways and openings, it’s essential to consider that existing structures may present challenges. Retrofitting older buildings to meet universal design standards can be more complex and costly, but the benefits are well worth the investment in terms of inclusivity and long-term usability.

Key Elements of Universal Design for Doorways & Openings

  1. WIDTH AND CLEARANCE: Universal design emphasizes the importance of wider doorways and openings to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. The recommended minimum clear width for a doorway is 36 inches (91.44 cm) to allow for easy passage.
  2. THRESHOLDS: Eliminating or minimizing thresholds is crucial for accessible doorways. A level, flush transition from one space to another ensures that individuals with mobility aids or those with limited mobility can pass through without hindrance.
  3. HARDWARE AND HANDLES: Universal design encourages the use of lever-style handles, which are easier to grasp and operate than traditional doorknobs. Lever handles require less manual dexterity, making them suitable for a wide range of users.
  4. VISUAL AND TACTILE CUES: To assist those with visual impairments, it’s important to incorporate visual and tactile cues near doorways, such as contrasting colors or textures to signal the presence of a door or opening.
  5. CLEAR PATHWAYS: Ensure that doorways have clear, unobstructed pathways on both sides. Furniture and clutter should be kept away from entrances to allow for safe and easy navigation.
  6. LIGHTING: Adequate and well-distributed lighting is essential to help individuals see and navigate through doorways and openings. This is particularly important for those with visual impairments.

Benefits of Universal Design in Doorways & Openings

  1. INCLUSIVITY: Universal design promotes an inclusive environment, making spaces accessible to individuals with diverse abilities, including those with disabilities, the elderly, and young children.
  2. INDEPENDENCE: Accessible doorways and openings enable people to maintain their independence, reducing the need for assistance from others.
  3. FUTURE-PROOFING: Implementing universal design principles in doorways and openings ensures that spaces remain usable as individuals’ needs change over time.
  4. INCREASED PROPERTY VALUE: Homes and businesses that incorporate universal design features can be more attractive to a broader range of potential buyers or tenants.