Obviously a home with no steps or stairs is the best option since it requires no renovations to be accessible for all, but is difficult to find in newer homes.
40” wide straight-run stairs
If multiple levels are necessary 40” wide stairs which are run in a straight-line will provide the space necessary to install a chair lift should it be needed in the future. “Straight run” stairs have no turns or landings. More turns equals more complicated and expensive chair lift installations. Only a straight-run set of stairs will allow for the installation of a mechanical lift designed to carry a wheelchair from one floor to another as well.
5’ x 5’stacking closets that can be converted to an elevator shaft
Properly preparing a roughed in elevator shaft requires careful design, but essentially, a 5’ x 5’ stacked space is required. This option is becoming more popular in homes where space is at a premium.
A Note About Stairs
If you cannot include the accessible three piece bathroom, bedroom, or laundry area on the main floor, you can locate them on another floor, provided you follow these guidelines for stairs. To simplify the process for installing a future chair-lift:
- Stairs should be 40 inches wide and straight-run (no turns or landings).
- A five-foot by five-foot "landing space" at the top and bottom of the stairs is preferable so that the user can transfer into and out of the chair safely.
- Electrical outlets at the top and bottom of the stairs may be required.
- Reinforce the walls with plywood along the full length of the stairs.
- There should be plenty of lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs.
An alternative to these modifications is to construct 5-foot by 5-foot stacking closets that can be converted to an elevator shaft if required.
Technical specificationsView sample floor plan