L-R: Jake Cohen, Daniels’ Vice President of Project Implementation and Luke Anderson, founder of the StopGap Foundation. Photos: Kerrisa Wilson

With over 15 per cent of Ontario’s population having a disability, The Daniels Corporation has unveiled a new program providing condo suites specifically designed for residents using mobility devices. Called the Accessibility Designed Program (ADP), the initiative offers enhanced units that exceed the Ontario Building Code’s (OBC) requirements. The new suites will include roll-out/low-threshold balconies and a large roll-in shower, at no extra cost.

“We thought that there was a shortfall in the industry currently for accessible homes,” Jake Cohen, Daniels’ Vice President of Project Implementation, tells BuzzBuzzNews.

This fall, the ADP is being launched at two of Daniels’ projects: DuEast Condominiums within the Regent Park revitalization and Wesley Tower at Daniels City Centre in Mississauga. Going forward, the ADP will be available in all Daniels condo communities.

Available in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, many of the suites will be located on the ground floor for direct exterior access. Suites will boast rough-in for power-operated entry door, wider doors throughout and minimum 1,100 mm clearance between kitchen cabinets and island. All suites are equipped with at least one standard bathroom which has a roll-in shower with a handheld faucet, grab bars and seat and under-sink knee clearance.

According to the OBC, 15 per cent of units in a building have to be designed as barrier-free. Daniels’ innovative ADP goes beyond this requirement by building new inclusive suites instead of retrofitting old spaces. All ADP suites are also designed to align with the key principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act: independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity.

“The key is building in these features, the accessible features, the universal accessible designs before any concrete is poured,” says Cohen.

When creating the ADP, Daniels collaborated with Luke Anderson, a renowned universal design advocate and founder of the StopGap Foundation, a non-profit organization that designs and distributes ramps to stepped storefronts. Anderson helped identify deficiencies in Daniels’ current condo amenity spaces and how they could be enhanced to be more accessible.

“What Daniels is doing is so forward moving and progressive and important to increase the amount of visitable and fully accessible spaces that people can really thrive in,” Anderson tells BuzzBuzzNews.

To Anderson, the best feature in the suites are the balconies with a swing door and low-threshold access. By having the balconies leveled with the floor, residents can easily travel in and out of their suites without having to worry about any barriers — an obstacle typically found in many units.

“It’s kind of standard across the board that there’s at least a four to six inch curb that would prevent someone using a mobility aid to get out onto the balcony,” says Anderson.

Throughout the suite, homeowners can choose to customize a variety of features, such as electrical outlet placement, accessible hardware and closets with accessible reach. To assist homeowners with additional needs, Daniels has created an alternate kitchen as an optional upgrade. Different from the ADP’s standard kitchen layout, this kitchen consists of a side-opening oven, pull-out counter below the stove, double-door fridge, cook-top with knee clearance and a dishwasher drawer.

Going forward, Daniels high-rise buildings will also have enhanced accessibility features available in the common areas as well. These additions include power door operators throughout, lowered concierge desks, waste chutes with automatic door openers and increased clearances.

For more information about Daniels’ ADP visit danielshomes.ca.

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