Skip to main content

Accessibility Features for Multifamily Units

By October 10, 2023No Comments

Are you in the process of designing a multifamily unit? As a responsible architect or builder, it’s important to consider the needs of all residents, including those with disabilities. By incorporating accessibility features into your design, you can ensure that everyone has equal access to the living spaces and amenities within the multifamily unit. In this article, we will explore some essential accessibility features that should be considered when designing multifamily units. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an aspiring architect, this information will guide you in creating inclusive living spaces that cater to all residents’ needs.

1. Entrance and Exits

An accessible entrance is the first step towards ensuring that your multifamily unit is disability-friendly. Consider installing ramps or elevators to provide wheelchair access to the building. Not only does this benefit residents with mobility issues, but it also provides convenience for anyone with heavy luggage or strollers.

Additionally, make sure that the doors leading to the unit and common areas are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Lever-style handles should be used instead of traditional doorknobs, as they are easier to grasp and operate for individuals with limited hand strength or dexterity.

2. Ample Maneuverability Space

Inside the multifamily unit, it’s crucial to provide enough space for wheelchair users to navigate comfortably. Ensure that doorways, hallways, and common areas have a minimum width of 32 inches. Consider incorporating open floor plans or adjustable furniture arrangements to allow for greater maneuverability.

In bathrooms, ensure that there is enough space near the toilet, sink, and shower for individuals using mobility devices. Installing grab bars in strategic locations can also provide additional support and stability.

3. Accessible Bathrooms

Bathrooms are one area where accessibility features are of utmost importance. Install roll-in showers with no curb, allowing easy access for wheelchair users. Installing a folding seat in the shower area can provide convenience for individuals who require a seated position while showering.

Place the sink at a lower height to accommodate wheelchair users, and ensure there is ample space beneath it to allow wheelchair users to approach closely. Adding non-slip flooring and grab bars near the toilet and shower will further enhance safety and accessibility within the bathroom.

4. Effective Lighting and Signage

Good lighting is essential for individuals with visual impairments. Ensure that all areas within the multifamily unit, including hallways, elevators, and common rooms, are well-lit with consistent lighting. Adding motion-sensor lights can be beneficial in areas such as staircases or entryways.

Clear signage with high contrast colors and large, easy-to-read fonts will aid individuals with visual impairments in navigating the building. Consider incorporating tactile indicators on staircases and handrails to assist individuals with limited vision.

5. Accessible Outdoor Spaces

Don’t forget to include accessibility features in the outdoor spaces of your multifamily unit. Install ramps or lifts to provide wheelchair access to outdoor recreational areas, swimming pools, or rooftop gardens. It’s essential to include seating areas, benches, and picnic tables that are designed to accommodate wheelchair users.

Creating accessible pathways throughout the outdoor spaces will enable individuals with mobility aids, such as canes or walkers, to navigate easily. Consider incorporating sensory elements, such as textured surfaces or fragrant plants, to create a more inclusive and enjoyable outdoor environment.

Incorporating these accessibility features into your multifamily unit design will ensure that all residents, including those with disabilities, can live comfortably and independently. Remember that accessibility is not just a legal requirement but also a moral responsibility. By designing homes that cater to the diverse needs of residents, we contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. So, let’s create multifamily units that are truly accessible to all!