Universal Design Takes the Stage at IBS

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A session on Tuesday at the NAHB International Builders’ Show featured 19 essential points that builders need to consider as they begin to incorporate universal design principals in their projects.

Speakers Susanne Tauke, owner and president of New American Homes, a custom builder and developer in the Chicago area, and Beth Tauke, associate dean in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo-SUNY, pointed to four specific needs in bathrooms:

  • Space to move around; a 60-inch radius is important in the bathroom’s main area
  • Grab bars
  • A no-step shower with benches
  • Extra task lighting and a full-length mirror in bath

soap dishMeanwhile, on the show floor, representatives from Ottawa-based Invisia, manufacturers of universal design products for the bath, say it’s important to emphasize that grab bars and other assistive devices are useful for adults as well as the baby boomers that should comprise the bulk of their market. And  designs like a soap dish (right) that can support up to 500 pounds while looking sleek and fancy should help their products stand out among a demographic that doesn’t want to believe it’s aging, but may make purchases based on style.

Invisia has a booth in both the IBS and KBIS exhibit halls and will be a stop for both the aging-in-place and universal design product tours this week.

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