SAFERhome Standards – Structural & Design
Criteria 1 – Exterior Thresholds: All exterior thresholds are all flush.
“Thresholds” is a term that came from housing hundreds of years ago. In the old days homes used to have dirt floors, they would spread straw or thresh on them for insulation. This created a problem with the farm animals due to the animals always being under foot eating the straw or thresh as it leaked out from under the door. So they put a block of wood under the door to reduce tripping over the animals and to help stop some of the drafts and hold “the thresh” in place and called it a “threshold”.
This old building habit has been carried over into new housing with no benefits. This legacy of building that still prevails today is one of the more hazardous areas for tripping in the home.
Criteria 2 – Interior thresholds: All interior thresholds meet minimal code constraints.
This means the tripping hazard threshold to the shower should be removed or lowered.
SAFERhome believes that showers should meet the same standard as the bathroom sink and the bathtub. Both the tub and sink have overflow drains required in their design. The SAFERhome approved shower threshold with a trench drain brings an overflow drain into the shower enclosure design.
SAFERhome certification would require a less than 1-inch high speed bump or a trench drain at the threshold to the shower.
Criteria 3 – Doors (pinch points): All doors and pinch points are a minimum of 34″ but ideally 36″ wide.
The cost of a larger standards door is only about $10 per door in new construction. The cost of enlarging a door after the fact is about $1,500. With larger doors people and things work much better in the home.
Criteria 4 – Hallways: All hallways are a minimum of 40″ but ideally 42″ wide.
Hallways work in concert with the door sizes; with wider halls the home is able to accommodate many products and people. With the growing number of seniors using scooters and walkers this is becoming a more important issue. This also works well for baby carriages.
Criteria 5 – Wall Reinforcements: At the top of all stairs, walls are reinforced with 2″x12″ solid lumber at 36″ to centre.
This gives the home the ability to have a proper and solid gate installed at the top of a set of stairs in the future that will protect children and seniors from falling.
Criteria 6 – Washroom Wall Reinforcements: Reinforced with 2″ x 12” solid lumber in all washroom tub, shower, and toilet locations
Installation of 2″ x 12” solid lumber backing in the walls at 36” to centre, around the bath and shower areas. This allows for proper installation of grab/safety bars in the future. This backing location works for 95% of all people.
Criteria 7 – Multistory Connection Provisions: Either an allowance for an elevator shaft in stacked closets or staircase(s) with a minimum width of 42″.
This gives the home the ability to easily accommodate technology that will connect one floor to another and keep anyone independent in the home for longer. The same benefits as one-level living but with more home design choices. The cost of installing a future elevator shaft is only a few hundred dollars during new construction and about $80,000 on average if a retrofit or renovation is needed.
The cost of making your staircase wider is only $40 worth of materials and about four square feet of additional space to accommodate the design.
Criteria 8 – Sink Cabinets: Cabinets underneath each sink are easily removed.
We embraced the simple building philosophy that “if the sink cabinet was the last cabinet installed then it should be the first and only cabinet to uninstall if you want a lower sink”. If your sink cabinet ever needs to be removed then this area is simple to work with. Changing the counter top to meet your new needs and create an optional sitting place at the sink location is now simple and easily achieved.
It’s easy to tell if a sink cabinet was the last one installed by just looking at the screws inside the cabinet. If you cannot see the screws then it hasn’t been installed correctly. This directly controls all future changes and their costs.