Accessibility in ADU Design

4 Replies

I am working with a an architect to design a 600 square-foot accessory dwelling unit to add to the back of an existing rental property in So CA. My initial anecdotal research indicates that there is a need for accessible units that include wheelchair accessible restrooms, kitchen and ingress/egress. Any ADA design recommendations or resources would be appreciated. Do the additional design and construction costs have a good ROÍ in serving this market?

Doorways, hallways, counterspaces, bath and kitchen- think 36 inches to turn a wheelchair around. Height of counter, height of everything matters, push bar rather than doorknob, have great smoke and carbon monoxide detector systems that flash lights and signal cell phone for a variety of disabilities. ADU's are generally small - design matters. I suggest it be one story or you will be adding an elevator and the cost will be high. Slopes and thresholds are another concern.

A fabulous opportunity to have grandma live in safety AND have her own pad or for anyone with a disability to live on their own with others nearby. Fabcab in Seattle has some nice pre-made ones.

Please have it be pretty as well as functional 600 feet is a bedroom, bath and kitchen - lots of light and open to a patio will make it feel large

Thank you, Caroline Gerardo, for your feedback!  You have added some details that I did not have on my radar, but that should be called out on the plans in order to get GC bids that include these details.  The rough design includes vaulted ceilings in the kitchen and living room with 9 foot ceiling in the rest of the unit.  Maybe I should consider skylights/tubes to add natural light.  I'll check out Fabcab for additional design ideas.  Best to you!

@John McCombs You should verify with your architect, but you are most likely not required to provide ADA accessibility to your ADU. It's not something you need for rental properties at 4 units or less.

The design sounds nice, vaulted ceilings are an easy add for significant aesthetic value.

Skylights please! Would be nice if they can vent air and be closed in rain. Velux sells ready made ones just seal them double what they recommend for heat/cooling.