Homes are traditionally designed and labelled for the people who will live in them. For instance, homes for families are different from those for seniors or for people living with disabilities. This limits design options, encourages stigma and results in homes that are not suited to all needs. But what if affordable, accessible housing could be designed that removed those labels and limitations?
The SAFERhome Universal Design Affordable Housing Demonstration will partner with Seyem’, Bonailie and NEXII to produce precision-manufactured homes using universal design and showcase them on the Kwantlen First Nation territory. This home will incorporate solutions for aging in place, reducing costs and improving function and safety for all residents.
Key Findings / Key Goals
Applying universal design principles and SAFERhomes standards certification to the design of safe and inclusive tiny homes.
Creating manufactured homes that are affordable, efficient and environmentally responsible.
Establishing an education centre that offers a hands-on experience with show homes and universal design principles.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Aging in place through universal design
Canadians increasingly want to stay in their homes as they age, but that isn’t always possible. Renovations that allow people to age in place are costly, and unrenovated homes contain trip hazards and other obstructions. This can force people out of their homes or place them at risk for falls or other accidents. Their quality of life can be affected, and the potential cost for the health-care system is significant.
The SAFERhome Affordable Housing Demonstration uses universal design to address that problem. Homes are designed from the very beginning to avoid the hazards that exist in conventional homes. This makes them suitable for seniors without costly renovations, allowing them to stay in their homes longer. It also makes the homes safer for children and people with mobility issues.
Affordable and cost-efficient
The SAFERhome Standards Society partners with Bonailie Homes, NEXII Building Solutions and Seyem’ to make these innovative homes affordable. The homes are fabricated offsite before being assembled once they reach their destination. This improves the precision of the construction and reduces waste.
The homes are designed to be affordable, durable and cost-efficient. They include new and emerging environmental technologies, including wastewater treatment with water reuse and conservation and energy efficiency. This makes the homes environmentally responsible and cost-effective to maintain. Their tiny footprint and use of precision-manufactured structurally insulated panels also makes them affordable to build.
A learning centre for universal design
The demonstration will begin by building the show home in Maple Ridge, B.C. This home will be demonstrated on Kwantlen First Nation’s territory, which is also a partner on the project. The homes will incorporate SAFERhome standards of universal design, and both will be certified as SAFERhomes.
The home will be a learning centre for universal design and manufactured home technology. Hosts will guide visitors through the elements of design in the homes, explaining important features. The centre also will use multimedia approaches that have been pioneered at home and renovation shows. The homes will be open to the public and virtual tours will be available.
The demonstration will be actively advertised in the media, and the public will be encouraged to visit the centre. Schools, seniors groups and other interested parties also will be contacted directly and tours will be organized. Visitors will be given exercises that explain key features of the homes, like a treasure hunt to identify elements of universal design. Other stakeholders will be encouraged to attend, including First Nations’ groups, city planners and inspectors, designers, architects and builders.
All online and in-person visitors will be asked to complete exit surveys. The survey data will be the basis of follow-up research, and feedback from visitors will be encouraged. The demonstration also will create a digital presentation showing how the design standards are a viable and logical building solution.
Since First Nations and many others do utilize manufactured homes in more remote areas, this home aims to demonstrate how easy it is to resolve the issues around affordability, elders aging in place, and child and senior’s safety in the home. The homes will have all levels of access so that anyone can visit or move in without needing to renovate to make it work for a specific individual's needs. The foundation of sustainability in any community has to begin with the homes within the community being sustainable for the people who live in them. SAFERhome Standard aims to deliver invisible and tangible inclusive sustainability for everyone in the community.
Project Team: SAFERhome Standards Society
Location: Maple Ridge, B.C.
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Bonailie Homes
- NEXII Building Solutions
- Seyem’ and Kwantlen First Nation
Get More Information:
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this demonstration.
See how you can apply for a Demonstrations Initiative grant.