Builders and developers in the GTA are making great efforts to design and build accessible homes that meet the needs of the 15 per cent of Ontarians who live with disabilities.
All builders meet the high standards of accessibility set out in the Ontario Building Code, which requires that fifteen per cent of units in multi-unit residential buildings be designed with accessibility features. This means providing a barrier-free path of travel into a bedroom, a full bathroom, a kitchen and a living room. Common areas also have to be barrier-free, according to the Building Code, with power-operated doors, curb ramps, and wider doors and hallways to accommodate mobility devices.
Some builders don’t just meet the accessibility requirements set by the Building Code, they exceed them. That’s the case with BILD member Daniels Corporation. The company has created the innovative Accessibility Designed Program (ADP), which will be introduced in two of its upcoming projects, DuEast Condominiums and Wesley Tower. The intent of the program is to address the needs of people who find mobility challenging in traditional layouts, and to go beyond the Code in removing physical barriers, says Daniels’ Jake Cohen.
To create the program, Daniels worked with a number of experts, including Quadrangle Architects, a BILD member with expertise in universal accessible design, to evaluate the accessibility of their designs within their buildings and within suites.
As part of the Program, Daniels will offer specially designed one to three-bedroom suites with extra accessible features for people with mobility challenges, at no additional cost. The suites will exceed Building Code requirements with power-operated entry doors and low-threshold roll-out balconies with swing doors. Bathrooms will have extra features like roll-in showers, under-sink knee clearance and extra clearances beside the toilet and shower. For an additional cost, buyers can upgrade to an alternate kitchen that is designed to meet the needs of mobility device users with lower counters and an accessible oven, stove and dishwasher.
The program extends beyond the suites into common areas, with lowered concierge desks, accessible kitchens in the party rooms, and waste chutes with automatic door openers, all of which exceed Building Code requirements.
Daniels’ 29-storey DuEast Condominiums, part of the revitalization of Regent Park in Toronto, will offer ADP suites on the lower floors and on the ground floor, as many users of mobility devices prefer direct access to the outside. The 43-storey Wesley Tower, part of Daniels’ 23-acre master-planned community near Square One Mall in Mississauga, will have ADP suites available throughout the lower floors.
DuEast and Wesley Tower are just the beginning for the Accessibility Designed Program. Going forward, the program will be offered in all Daniels Corporation’s condo communities.
This is just one example of what builders and land developers in the GTA are doing to bring innovative design to barrier-free homes as the industry works to build complete communities for everyone.