Top 10 Assumptions you should NOT make

  1. As portrayed in many home renovations television programs, an objective of a project is for the client to be surprised at the completion when it is “revealed”.
    (Any surprise of the client only reveals bad design process and management.)
  2. Any one person with a disability will have a complete understanding of everything about accessibility for all situations.
    (The understanding of disability and accommodation does not happen by osmosis or membership in an advocacy association. Experience and education are critical just as in every other aspect in life.)
  3. Accessibility = higher cost.
    (Ironically even very high budget projects can have significant barriers to accommodation. There is no direct relationship.)
  4. Accessibility is all about ramps and wheelchairs.
    (Accessibility is accommodation of people with disabilities including numerous other functional aspects other than mobility with a wheelchair.)
  5. Universal Design = barrier-free or accessible design.
    (In fact Universal Design is much greater as it takes into account many other functional needs like age, gender, and cross-cultural issues.)
  6. Partially accessible; a common label for restaurants.
    (There is no such thing. A site either accommodates all or it is not accessible.)
  7. Building codes provide all the criteria that a project needs to accommodate all users .
    (Building codes prescribe a minimum standard of design and construction, but do not guarantee accommodation.)
  8. The design of a building is not directly impacted by human rights laws in Canada.
    (Human Rights laws typically override all building code and development legislation in Canada. The design of a building could be deemed to be discriminating against an identified segment of the population that is offered protection under the law.)
  9. “We don’t have to worry about accommodating people with disabilities because those kind of people do not come into our buildings.” as told by a property management company representative.
    (Human Rights are guaranteed in Canada and further reinforced with the Canadian ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Accommodation is a right that cannot be ignored.)
  10. Accessibility and/or Universal Design = boring, institutional, limits creativity.
    (In fact it calls for even more creativity space, details, and materials so that the design will accommodate an even wider range of users.)

About Brian

A Professional Interior Designer who has also completed graduate studies in industrial design and business management, and has specialized in the areas of functional design for products and buildings in respect of the issues of disabilities, aging and Universal Design for over 30 years.