Posts Tagged ‘UD shower’
Lifetime Home Survey
I was on a mission and took six months developing the Lifetime Home Survey (LTHS), which was born of a single negative comment following a post class, feedback form. Without ever knowing his name, I still picture the disgruntled attendee with arms crossed, an engineering type who frowned the entire presentation.
His comment? “Didn’t give specific measurements!” I purposely avoided getting technical to reduce the likelihood of audience slumber; but, after reading Mr. Unhappy Engineer’s feedback, I vowed, “Metrics you want, measurements thou shall get!”
Call me obsessive compulsive but, with Mr. Unhappy Engineer’s scowl burned into my mind, what began as a simple checklist grew (out of control?) into a whole house assessment. I referenced 17 documents and architect teammate Charles Hendricks proofread the final product, what we believe to be THE most comprehensive Universal Design home assessment resource currently available on the web.
Spray Any Way
Maintain control and boost safety in the shower area, by including, not only seating (preferably built-in), but also point-of-use and multi-functional fixtures and grab bars. Avoid reaching, stooping or any strained movement which could cause loss of balance.
The shower head deserves careful consideration despite seeming like a natural place to save money. Don’t go cheap on this, flawless top performance is worth the extra expense, so too is low hassle cleaning (by spraying down the shower area). Ideally, get a fixed shower head that includes on a vertical slider bar an easy grasp, detachable handheld with a 6-foot flexible hose. (Look for wands with an on/off switch.) The single lever, water control should be mounted near the shower entry and 40 to 45 inches from the finished floor (43 inches preferred).
Roll into the Wettest Room
Account for all life circumstances and achieve maximum accessibility by planning a roll-in shower. Design a universal shower usable by anyone including the space for a potential care giver or parent assisting young children. The absolute minimum shower space, whether insert or tile, is 36 inches by 36 inches and no more than a 1/2 inch curb, beveled to provide a tiny “ramp” rather than potential tripping obstacle. Ideally, you want curb-less (flush) entry.
However for a true roll-in shower, allow no less than 36 inches by 60 inches and ideally 42 inches by 60 inches, or better still, 48 inches by 60 inches. Also plan a seat or built-in bench inside the stall. Splurge on space to make your shower the most convenient and safe for lifetime use regardless of how life happens.
I accomplish some of my best thinking in the shower. It’s my island of solitude within a family circus. I shudder at the thought of one day losing or having diminished one iota my ability to shower BY MY SELF.
So while I hold dear my shower space and time, I also cherish my ability to shower whatsoever and realize many take this daily routine for granted. The shower is particularly a prime example of how the traditional design of our nation’s standard code, “Peter Pan” housing just assumes nobody ages or changes. But anyone who has ever been injured or hindered by a mobility challenge knows taking a shower can become exhausting, even dangerous.
The next three posts I’ll describe how you can maintain your shower enjoyment through any circumstance. I’ve divided the posts into the shower area (walls and floor) , safety grab bars and the fixtures/features.