Published November 21, 2013
In Vancouver, the doorknob may soon become extinct.
According to a new amendment to Vancouver’s building code, the Canadian city has banned the inclusion of doorknobs in all future housing constructions, the Vancouver Sun reported. Instead, doorknobs and knobbed faucets will be replaced with lever handles in an attempt to make buildings more accessible to seniors and people with disabilities.
According to pervious research, distinctions between types of door handle are important to the elderly population, and the lever handle design is much easier for seniors to operate. Unlike doorknobs, door handles do not require a tight grasp.
The new legislation is not retroactive, meaning all existing doorknobs can remain in place. However, the move is part of Vancouver’s overall plan to move towards a concept known as “universal design.”
“Basically, the idea is that you try to make environments that are as universally usable by any part of the population,” Tim Stainton, a professor and director of the School of Social Work at the University of B.C., told the Vancouver Sun. “The old model was adaptation, or adapted design. You took a space and you adapted for use of the person with a disability. What universal design says is, ‘Let’s turn it around and let’s just build everything so it is as usable by the largest segments of the population as possible.’”