This is a follow up to my previous words regarding architectural design for exterior residential approach ramps for those with impaired mobility. The scope of thought for exterior access must be widened. One must add exterior door design considerations and other related factors.
There are typically two design impediments associated with impaired mobility at exterior access and egress doors. These are:
- raised thresholds and
- one or two stair elevation change installations.
The purpose of these installations is generally understood to prevent or defer ground water penetration to the interior. However, these stair designs create more than difficult mobility techniques and require more upper body strength for wheel chair access. I do concede that air infiltration requires thresholds be kept in place. However, the need for stairs (patios or decks in some cases) and other similar impediments can be voided by the sloping of adjoining outside surfaces away from building structures. This can be easily accomplished if combined and coordinated with previously described entry drive or sidewalk considerations.
Extended roof or canopy coverage over these entry areas can likewise be easily incorporated. This provides both an attractive added architectural feature and prevents rainfall penetration. The combination of these impaired design recommendations adds value to both the home owner as well as the community at large and our society in general. Gone is the negativity of the “red flag” solution.
In these cases . . . the first step is the wrong step.