Barrier-free vs. barrierearm

Barrier-free vs. barrierearm

When it comes to remodeling, barrier-free building always makes sense. This does not have to do with age or disability, because it is not about barrier-free.

Barrier-free and barrier-free

barrier freedom means designing the built environment, ie houses and flats that allow people with disabilities to use them without experiencing any additional disadvantage.

This also includes information, communication and other things that appear in everyday life. What this means in detail is precisely defined for residential construction in DIN 18040-2. The rules set a minimum standard for a wheelchair user or other disabled person to move about freely within the home.

Paragraph 4 of the Disability Equality Act also includes other facilities, means of transport and technical equipment and much more. The goal is that people with a disability in the usual way without any help in everyday life cope without having a particular complication. This includes the use of websites. The barrier compass helps to design these in accordance with the requirements of the law.

However, there is no exact definition of what constitutes barrier-free access. The term was introduced by a research group at the University of Applied Sciences Heidelberg in 2001 under the direction of Professor Susanne Edinger and Professor Helmut Lerch. This refers to a whole set of measures that reduce existing barriers.

The aim is to increase the serviceability of apartments and buildings. A desirable barrier-free expansion is hardly possible in practice and brings no benefit to people without restriction. The idea of ​​barrierarm is that all people benefit from it if they do not stumble in their own apartment and it is a benefit for the disabled, even if only a part of the existing barriers disappears.

Examples of barrier-free construction

The norm distinguishes between unlimited use of wheelchair-accessible apartments and barrier-free apartments. A house according to the standard "accessible" (base standard) takes into account the needs of people who walk with a walker or a walker. The standard "fully wheelchair accessible" (R standard) requires larger movement areas and wider doors to allow even wheelchair users to cope.

Accessibility must be ensured by a lift or a ramp. For the front door, a width of 90 centimeters is required. In the apartment it is sufficient if the doors have a width of 80 centimeters, the R standard of 90 centimeters. A normal door in apartments only has to have a width of 62.5 centimeters.

In all kitchens and bathrooms there are so-called movement areas, so that people with an assistant or the R-standard with the wheelchair can move around in it. The same applies to bathrooms. But the standard prescribes further details: For a washstand, there must be an area of ​​120 centimeters wide and 120 centimeters deep in front of the table (normal standard). The pelvis must end at a height of 85 centimeters. Also, the depth of the washbasin is set exactly at 55 centimeters. Normally, a movement area of ​​100 centimeters deep in front of the washbasin is sufficient.

An extension according to these guidelines usually requires a complete remodeling of the bath. Often, the available space is not enough, even walls can be moved.

Examples of barrier-free construction

Here, it's about breaking down barriers. This provides more comfort and makes it easier for people with disabilities to benefit from the apartment. The goal is to reduce as many obstacles as possible, if a complete conversion is not possible.

One measure, for example, is to avoid steps in front of entrances through slightly rising walkways to the house. If a door does not widen easily, it is often sufficient to provide a straight access to the door. For a person with a walking aid, it is difficult to change the direction of walking directly in front of or behind the door.

An exchange of sanitary facilities in the bathroom can provide more space. Choosing a narrower bathtub or a lower depth guard will allow more room to move in front of the sink. A walk-in shower not only makes showering easier, as there is no disruptive edge between the floor of the room and the shower. It also enlarges the movement areas.

A barrier-free construction brings benefits

The Disability Equality Act does not regulate private housing measures and does not require accessibility in this area. However, a low-barrier construction is basically a gain for all residents and should therefore always be implemented.

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