Are you a property manager that is planning the updates and renovations of your properties? It is important to keep codes in mind and to ensure that you are following all safety protocols and handicap requirements. There are both governmental and state regulations when it comes to ensuring that those with handicapped needs are able to live in and maneuver around a property. These are some of the most important handicap features to consider.
Why handicap accessibility is so important
Approximately 53 million Americans live with a disability, and according to a recent study, the most common disability is associated with limited mobility. Avoiding handicap accessibility in your properties is not only illegal but also reduces the ease of access for your customers. You could be losing out on a large area of the market that either wants to visit your properties or wants to rent one of them. Making simple changes to a property can make it handicap accessible and easier for those with mobility disabilities.
Large enough entrances and exits
Having sufficient entrances and exits is also a part of safety protocol. In the event of a property fire, there need to be enough exit points in the property. To make these same entrances and exits handicap accessible, they need to be of a certain width. Many people with mobility issues rely on wheelchairs or walkers that can be difficult to move through narrow doorways. In addition to widening the entrance and exit doors, you will also want to make sure the room doors in the interior of the property are easily accessible. ADA door requirements can be found by contacting your state department. You can also work with renovation companies that specialize in making handicap accessibility upgrades.
Entrance and exit ramps
Another problem that is commonly found in properties is an inability to use stairs on the exterior of the house. When there is a deck or step to reach the front or back door, it can be difficult for someone in a wheelchair or with a walker, to climb these stairs. If you are commercial property, depending on the state of your business, you might be required to have handicap ramps. If you are going to rent out a residential property to someone, a handicap ramp might be requested. Building wheelchair ramps is a fairly simple project and can be completed in a couple of days.
Safety bars throughout the house
Safety bars prevent those with handicap disabilities from falling and injuring themselves. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Many handicap bathroom requirements require that there are safety bars in the shower and nearby the toilet. However, even if this is not a regulation requirement, this is a cost efficient safety addition. If a safety bar can prevent a fall or an injury, it can save you a lot in terms of liability.
Interior stairs can also be difficult for those who are wheelchair bound. A liftchair recliner or fitted stairlift is not usually an ADA requirement but can be helpful for residents that are mobility challenged. If you want to offer your properties to residents with mobility issues, a fitted stairlift can be extremely advantageous. Fitted stairlifts are installed into the wall and they allow a person to safely climb flights of stairs, sometimes even curved staircases.
According to AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 90% of people over the age of 65 want to live in their home as long as they can. If you make these necessary handicap accessibility changes, you are likely to be left with a resident that is appreciative and will remain in the property for a long time.