Reflecting Our Experience
Many choices outlined in Accessible U are reflective of the field experience of Accessible Housing and the varied experiences of those who helped develop the website.
Solutions are User Specific
Many design choices featured on the site reflect the most practical options available for the type of user most frequently served through Accessible Housing’s programming. You should evaluate your specific needs and options individually to find the best solutions for you. In several cases, measurements are listed as ranges, because actual measurements will be user-specific.
As you go through the information on the website, ask yourself what assistive devices you regularly use and in which parts of your home. Get assistance measuring the devices you use, while you are using them, to get the most accurate understanding of how much clearance you need. For example, the total width, depth and height of a wheelchair with a user in it will give the best indication of the necessary dimensions of spaces in your home. Likewise, measure your own reachability – high and low from the side and from the front of your chair.
Throughout your use of Accessible U, remember that you are the expert in your own mobility and accessibility. Ultimately, you know how you use your own space, what you need access to the most frequently, and how you move through your home. Ultimately, any assessment – and all solutions – should reflect your unique needs.
Optimal and Feasible
While some resources, such as the Barrier Free Design Guide, point to optimal solutions, Accessible U showcases a mix of both optimal solutions and more moderate, feasible modifications. We recognize that you may not have the resources to create spaces large enough to accommodate the optimal recommendations. So, some descriptions and measurements reflect ways to modify existing spaces in the best low-cost way possible.
Throughout Accessible U, we have balanced the need for clear information with the inherent complexity of some concepts and measurements. In cases where additional measurements or specificity is required, documents listed in Other Resources will be helpful.
Measurements throughout the site are indicated in feet (‘) and inches (“) rather than in metric, to be reflective of how tradespeople and contractors work. If you prefer to use metric, there are a number of online conversion tools you can consult (typically, typing a measurement into a Google search bar will produce Google’s conversion tool as the first search result).
Several pages within Room by Room outline cost estimates in the introductory text. This is to give you a sense of some of the main renovations and their approximate costs. These figures are based on the experience of the RAD Renovations team. Actual costs of renovations vary a great deal by home, and estimates should be understood with this in mind.
Calgary and Area
Accessible U is targeted to users in Alberta and was developed in Calgary. Some of the content is reflective of Calgary and area resources (e.g. lists of professionals). Many other sections of the site can be used universally. In future, Accessible U intends to be more reflective of the needs of people throughout the entire province. If you operate outside of Calgary and would like to be featured, please contact us.
Several images featured on Accessible U were provided by Ron Wickman and Shelf Genie.