How Builders Hardware Can Enable Wheelchair Access
When building a custom new home for yourself and your family, it can be a true thrill to examine the blueprints as you imagine the completed product. Delve further, and your builders will also have a list of all the individual items that will be required to deliver that final product, and this list is going to be rather extensive. Many of the items will be obvious, even to a layperson, and yet some of them might be largely unknown items given an industry specific term. Builders hardware can perhaps be filed under this category. A logical assumption would be that this covers the necessary tools and equipment needed for construction, but it's not that kind of hardware.
Broadly speaking, builders hardware covers hardware (generally fixtures) that serves a purpose which can be decorative, protective or even something that enables accessibility. Decorative facades at key points in your new home fall into this category, as do your door locks and handles, as well as any moving part in your new home, such as the components required to make inbuilt cabinets and drawers operational. While the end result (a useable home) is the same, when you or someone in your home uses a wheelchair, the selection and implementation of builders hardware in your home needs to reflect your specific needs. What does this cover?
Specific Design Features
Some features that allow wheelchair accessibility will already have been incorporated into your new home, such as adequate door width, entry ramps, the lowering of kitchen counters and workspaces and perhaps opting for a single-level design. While these can make a significant difference in terms of accessibility, the best choice with builders hardware can make your home all the more easy to use.
Your front and back door require specific hardware to enable full accessibility. This can be achieved by selecting a lower height for the deadbolt and handle. A smart lock (operated via smartphone) can be beneficial, but this could conceivably be added at a later stage. The door should have an extended handle to promote ease of grasp. The door should also be self-closing. The door can use offset hinges, which allow the door to swing entirely out of its frame, creating a small, but potentially very helpful amount of additional access width.
Cabinets and Storage
Of course, cabinets, drawers and any type of inbuilt storage will need to be installed at an appropriate height, but this height could be adjusted. It's certainly not the cheapest option and its suitability will depend on the configuration and size of your new kitchen, but electric adjustable cabinets allow the desired storage unit to be raised and lowered on metal tracks as needed. Any storage cabinets should have an easy-grasp handle (as opposed to a circular knob) and any pullout components should have metal castors and tracks to minimise the effort required to access them.
The correct selection and implementation of builders hardware can make a significant difference when building a wheelchair-accessible home.