Wednesday, 6 June 2018

More Evidence for Action: Another article where an author signifies no clear understanding of the concept of universal design...

Another frustrating article just came over the wire and I was hopeful at first but again disappointed  at more use of the term "universal design" in place of the word "accessible".

While universal design is always accessible, "accessible" is NOT ALWAYS universally designed.

Universal design is as pleasing to the eye as part of the overall aesthetic as much as it is functional.  It incorporates the access so it is part of the design and not an afterthought.   The  whole concept of universally designing revolves around doing it right the first time with no need to have retrofit clauses or age in place remodel contracts

Retrofit clauses and age in place remodel contracts are only setting the stage for more disruption to people's lives and more cash outlay for them down the road.  Who is to say a contractor will still be in business by the time a person may need the retrofits an age in place remodel contract might cover?  This is bogus and a lame way to do it.  Not to mention, it is perpetuating the staggering misconception that universal design is only for the aging.

Builders, Designers and Reporters of housing trends, PLEASE LEARN what universal design is before talking about it and stop abusing the term with articles like this one:

Yours Truly,

Amy Barnes

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Raising the Roof in the Building Industry in California? Come on People...How about Raising the Building Standards in the Entire US?

Here we go All, fresh off the presses...

I was just watching The Today Show and heard the news about how California is mandating solar panels on almost all new homes beginning in 2020 and this is under the leadership of their Governor, Jerry Brown.  Thank you, Jerry Brown! (kind of)

I am including a link to the article in Bloomberg but I want to add that while I think this is a great move toward setting the stage for more reasonable--and in my book, more important--standards that help people live their lives more efficiently, like inclusive design and build practices mandated NATIONWIDE, I definitely agree with Bloomberg's Colleen Regan who said it is "admirable but misguided".

My reasoning for it being misguided is different than hers but misguided or not, the mandated move by the Golden State is a sign of hope for the future of EVERY body in the US who will benefit from the day when inclusive design and build practices become the NATIONWIDE standard.

CA reports an average of 80,000 new homes built a year and I am really wondering how many of these are two stories and how many have elevators included as part of the design.  Elevators are not as expensive as people think, especially when broken into a 30 year mortgage.

It is one let down after another when calling home builders of the McMansions that are replacing some of the most meticulous sprawling ranches around the St Louis area and finding out they are not including elevators.   When I called the agent of one of these, she said that it did not have an elevator but it DID have a main floor master suite and my exact words were " NO, THANK YOU, that absolutely will not work at all!"  My reasoning?   What good is a main floor master suite if the entrance to a BRAND NEW beautifully built home has multiple steps leading to the front door and no dignified way to enjoy the other fully functioning floors of the living space a person or persons, are paying good money to live life in?

These EXCLUSIVE design practices do not work for me as a practicing Realtor® because I am not going to sell someone a home that they will be expected to pay 100% for but may only be able to use 30% of now or in time.  To me that is robbery and poor practice so shame on the thoughtless builders of America and the architects who are still designing this way.  Shame too, on the lenders who are lending the money for these projects.   Come on!!

One luxury home builder of a 2.3 million dollar, 2 story home with a full basement said his home currently does not have an elevator but depending on where we want it, it could be installed.   I am still waiting for his cost estimate on this "extra" which will be really interesting given the fact I know what it will cost already.  I will definitely let you know.

Wake up, People!!  A universal design movement is on the way...


Here is the article from Bloomberg: