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Design Tip: Courtesy Flush Buttons

Automatic flush control located on the side facing the wall, where it is hard to reach. PROBLEM: Most automatic flush valves for water closets are now manufactured with a courtesy flush button for manual operation, however not all manufacturers place the courtesy flush button in the same location.


Aha! Moment: Refrigerator Clearance.

close up of refrigerator door opening. In the Fair Housing Act, it is required that kitchens, including galley-types, have a 40-inch minimum clear width between all counters, base cabinets, walls, and appliances. Be particularly mindful of the refrigerator especially if the original kitchen design assumed a shallow-depth refrigerator only to be replaced later by a standard depth one. Also, some refrigerators have ice makers that may have an external in-line filter. This means the refrigerator may require extra clearance at the rear thereby pushing the unit out from the wall and possibly encroaching the 40-inch wide minimum clearance.

Visitability Tax Credits

On July 1, 2014, Montgomery County, Maryland implemented new legislation that provides tax credits to builders and homeowners for including features in new and existing residential housing that improve accessibility for persons of all ages, including seniors and those with disabilities. The financial incentives provided by the new law enhance the County’s voluntary Design for Life Montgomery (DFLM) program that has been in existence for the last six years. For more information about the Design for Life Montgomery program, visit:

Design Tip: Accessible Restaurant Tables

A table joiner creates a bridge between two tables and leaves knee clearance belowPROBLEM: Restaurants with moveable, pedestal-base tables (that do not provide required wheelchair knee and toe clearance) typically move smaller tables together to accommodate larger groups. How can they provide patrons who use wheelchairs with a choice of accessible seating options that is comparable to that provided to other patrons?


Homes for people with dementia and sight loss: a guide to designing safe and accessible environments

The Ronal National Institute of Blind People has recently published this well organized and well written compendium of ideas to make homes easier and safer for people with low vision and/or dementia to live. It gives great insights into what works well for all aging people in multi-unit and individual homes. Training courses and copies of the publication in English or Welsh are available by contacting: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..