Checklist for Building a Universal Design Modular Home

If you want to build a home that is usable by all of your family and friends, regardless of whether they’re young or old, tall or short, strong or weak, able-bodied or with a disability, consider including several Universal Design features in your modular home. Some people lower the electrical switches to make it easier for young children to turn the lights on and off. Others raise the electric outlets to help people with arthritis to plug and unplug fixtures. Many people install lever door handles to make it easier for everyone to open the doors, even when carrying a bag of groceries; lever handles do not need to be grasped; in fact, they can be opened with an elbow by someone carrying a bag of groceries. More and more people are adding grab bars in their bathrooms, since anyone can slip on a wet surface, and everyone appreciates the additional support when bending down, rising from a lowered position, or stretching to reach something.

Universal Design Modular Home Entrances, Exits, and Passageways

  • Smooth, ground level entrances without stairs or conspicuous ramps
  • Low exterior door thresholds
  • 36-inch-wide exterior doors
  • Lever-style handles for exterior doors
  • Wider hallways (46 inches)
  • 36-inch-wide interior doors
  • Lever-style handles for interior doors
  • An elevator to the basement and/or second floor
  • Wood, slip-resistant tile or laminate, or a dense-weave, low-pile carpet floors

Universal Design Modular Home Electrical and Controls

  • Raised electrical outlets
  • Top position ground plug at all outlets
  • Lower electrical switches
  • Rocker-style electrical switches
  • Buttons and other controls that can be distinguished by touch
  • Easy-to-reach thermostat locations
  • Thermostats with large numerals and an intuitive operation
  • Task lighting for specific activities, such as cooking, reading, and shaving
  • Bright lighting, particularly task lighting

Universal Design Modular Home Kitchen

  • Varying height kitchen counters
  • Knee space at a kitchen countertop for a chair
  • Pull-out shelf for oven food transfer
  • Full-extension drawers and roll-out shelves
  • D-shaped cabinet handles
  • Extra maneuvering space
  • Cooktop set into a counter with open knee space
  • Side-hinged microwave and oven doors at countertop height
  • Side-by-side refrigerator

Universal Design Modular Home Bathrooms

  • Knee space at the bathroom vanity for a chair
  • Offset tub/shower anti-scald controls
  • Curbless shower with a flexible water dam
  • Hand-held showerhead
  • Blocking for grab bars at toilets, tubs, and showers
  • Bathroom grab bars
  • D-shaped vanity handles
  • Extra maneuvering space
  • Large bathtubs with a ledge or seating area and numerous grab bars
  • Curbless roll-in showers with a removable flip-up bench and numerous grab bars
  • Hand-held shower fixtures
  • Toilet seat 17–19 inches high with grab bars
  • Night lighting

Universal Design Modular Home Utility Rooms and Closets

  • Front-loading washer and dryer
  • E-Z-Fold hinges for bifold closet doors
  • Adjustable hanging closet rods and shelves

If you are planning to build a Universal Design modular home in an area served by The Home Store, please visit our T-Ranch model home that was designed to display several Universal Design features.  If you are building Universal Design modular home outside of our area, you may find that your modular home dealer is unaware of the Universal Design concept and its benefits. Even so, they will almost certainly understand each of the specific features listed above, and they should be able to provide those you ask for.
For more information about checking modular home general contractor references, see Designing a Modular Home and Modular Home Specifications and Features in The Modular Home by Andy Gianino, President of The Home Store.