We recently moved in to our new home, built to SAFERhome Standards.
Some of the upgrades are subtle, but they already improve the livability of the house, for example we appreciate the flat threshold and wider doors, stairs and hallways. And they look good too. The electrical and plumbing features improve convenience of use every day.
Some of the other standards are invisible, but we appreciate the future-proofing they provide. We might not use some of the structural upgrades right away, but if we do need them someday, they are already in place. Should be good for resale too.
This program provides good value. All houses should be built this way and is highly recommended.
Neil and Heather M.
Renovating or Building a New Bathroom
Written by Patrick Simpson
Executive Director, SAFERhome Society
If you are looking at your existing bathroom and thinking about renovating the room, you will benefit from a little Universal design knowhow before you start. If this is your retirement home and you want to stay independent for as long as possible, a few inexpensive details will make a huge difference to fulfilling your own wishes.
To start— the shower and toilet areas should have the walls re-enforced for any future safety holds or multi-purpose towel racks. I use the word ‘safety’ because I would never put a ‘grab bar’ in my home.
Grab bars are a hospital or other public area concept which are over-kill for a home and provide a look which devalues your home, potentially labels you as disabled or handicapped, and looks institutional and lets face it, both ugly and institutional. There are some really nice products out there which are attractive while giving you the support you need without compromising your homes look and feel. Have a look at the product line from Moen for some options of towel racks masquerading as safety bars.
Once you begin the renovation and have the walls open it will only cost forty bucks. A very small investment to future proofing and future profit from your home by building a little extra strength into the wall to attach the safety bars or even a seat.
SAFERhome have done a number of cost studies and followed the Universal design research of this re-enforcing of the walls detail: the base starts with installing 2×12 solid lumber between the studs, with the centre of the board 36 inches above the finished floor. Every time we have costed it out, and this included, comparing the cost of using a new 2×12’s compared to the cost of pulling what lumber we needed off the site scrape pile. One way you pay for the product and small labor, the other way you pay for labor and help recycle. It still ends up about $40.
Other ideas to include will be covered when I write about each concept shortly. They include issues with an electrical outlet beside the toilet, offset plumbing controls, minimal threshold or tripping hazard into the shower,and door sizesand operation.
Giving Inclusion More Power To Society
I’ve decided to design and build a retirement concept home for myself. I’ve watched all those “how to build-them” shows on TV for years. I’m thinking of a one level, two bedroom, two bathroom, unfinished basement for my future music room/wine cellar/storage/ and if I ever need it, an income suite.
I have been around the building industry for forty years and have seen some very cool, innovative ideas. From better technology regarding air handling and treatment and light, to better materials for me and the environment impact, including all the current knowledge on ergonomic design, the human body interacting with our built environment. Just when I thought I had It all figured out… it turns out I was just close.
I looked down at the floor and into the loving eyes of my little purse-sized dog. He’s now 5 years old — will he be able to age in place in this home design? I’ve had so many friends who have had difficult experiences with their pets. The most common one I’ve heard is, having to carry their pet outside a few times a day for elimination purposes because there is a staircase, or steps, or something the pet cannot negotiate anymore.
Oh, Yeah, then you have to carry them back inside. Where is the pet’s dignity and sense of independence now? I checked the SPCA web site but there was nothing on home design. I looked at the provincial and national building codes and could find nothing relating to pet aging in place. I ranted at my Mom and friends, and that poor woman at the check-out register at my local grocery store still nothing. Nothing offered in those magazine racks at the check-out either.
So, I emailed SAFERhome. They got back to me and explained. All the design and technology are sitting right on the shelf and easy and inexpensive to incorporate either now or later. With the proper walkway and things such pet elevators options, anything can be fixed. That may seem extreme however our 120 pound Shepherd is getting to be too for me to manage.
Then they pointed out since I was preregistered with them to build my new home to the SAFERhome Standard. 99% of the aging in place pet issues were already resolved as a by-product of building to the SAFERhome Certification Standard. The program delivers what most people need in their homes which is not being addressed completely by various building codes.
Happy Pet Happy Home
SAFERhome & ASTTBC Home & Property Inspectors
In order to attain sustainable communities, homes must be designed to be both safe and adaptable. In partnership with the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, SAFERhome utilizes a ASTTBC certified home inspectors to ensure certification standards have been met.
SAFERhome provides the only certification program in Canada that addresses the issues of human sustainability in the application of universal design. … READ MORE
W16: Aging in Place – Universal and Inclusive Design Standards and Best Practices
[Legal, Regulatory & Risk Management, Project Planning, Management & Best Practices, Health & Wellness, Facility Management & Building Maintenance, Property Management]
[ AIBC 1.5 Core LUs • BOMI 1.5 CPDs • 1 Hour HSW IDCEC Approved • 1.5 CPD BC Housing Recognized ]
Wed. Feb. 15, 2017 – With the aging of the population and increasing life expectancy, the construction of sustainable homes that changes with occupants’ needs could have benefits for residents and communities.
Learn about universal and inclusive living design standards, which would allow occupants to live comfortably and independently in their homes as they age, and which could be adapted over time without the need for major upgrades or costly renovations.
Continue reading SAFERhome at BUILDEX Vancouver
May 16, 2016
Imagine if every home in Vernon was designed so that people could age in place. What if the design was simple and easy to implement? What if it increased the value of your new home?
SAFERhome guidelines will be the focus of an open house Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. at Turtle Mountain.
“You will be guided through a SAFERhome currently under construction and be shown the differences in design during the building stage,” said Jacob Kuiken, from Everton Ridge Homes.
For those involved in the construction sector, a more detailed presentation will take place at 5 p.m. at the Schubert Centre as part of the City of Vernon’s housing forum.
Patrick Simpson, with the SAFERhome Society, will provide an overview of the 19 requirements for SAFERhome certification.
“We want all families and seniors to have access to a building standard that will get them a safer more sustainable home,” said Simpson.
The Social Planning Council, the City of Vernon, and the Land Trust are part of the team promoting SAFERhome standards. read more
July 13, 2016
City of Vernon’s Mayor Akbal Mund supports SAFERhome Standards
The City of Vernon is an active supporter of SAFERhome Standards being incorporated in all residential construction. For example, the City has a rental housing grant program wherein eligible grant projects are to be constructed in accordance with SAFERhome standards. The 19-point standards of SAFERhome are exceedingly cost effective when included as part of new construction. View the letter from Mayor Mund.
Welcome to the City of Vernon and the City of Armstrong to the SAFERhome Society Membership
The City of Vernon organized a “get to know SAFERhome” meeting and brought in their inspectors and planners as well as other planners and inspectors from adjoining areas.
Vernon and Armstrong have joined in with Maple Ridge in being proactive with the community housing. These communities now have a real and tangible tool kit to future proof their housing.
Now you can get a hard copy of the SAFERhome manual or just some friendly SAFERhome facts at any of their planning departments. These communities are now helping to get their community members all the real information needed to design, build or renovate a home to be a better place to live.