Barrier-free design with OknoPlus

People with disabilities make up several percent of the human population. There are a few million in Poland, most of whom use wheelchairs. The International Day of Disabled Persons, celebrated on December 3rd, is a good opportunity to reflect on their problems. One of them is finishing and furnishing a house or flat – without barriers. OknoPlus offers solutions which make this possible, solutions which make it easier for people with impaired mobility to function on a daily basis.

Low threshold balcony doors, light, sliding window, remote controlled roller blinds, a practical fingerprint reader instead of traditional locks – these are just a few examples of OknoPlus’ products, which are worth considering when designing and furnishing a barrier-free home. But, one step at a time…

The larger the space, the better and more comfortable

When designing the floor plan of a house or flat for a wheelchair user, remember that it’s worth keeping the number of separate spaces to a minimum. The more space, the fewer thresholds and doors, the better, and the more comfortable. Instead, a separate kitchen, opt for a combined living room and kitchen layout. Don’t separate your bathroom and WC – it’s more sensible to arrange them in once space. Also consider that you need a clear circle of about 1.5m in diameter for an adult wheelchair to turn around and manoeuvre with relative ease. And don’t forget about anti-slip floors in the house.

Wide doors, sliding windows, low thresholds

These may be obvious, but they’re worth discussing. The minimum width of a door in a wheelchair user’s home is 90 cm, but it’s obvious that 100 cm or 110 cm doors will significantly increase their comfort and mobility. For the sake of convenience, it’s also worth opting for sliding doors and either eliminating thresholds or choosing low threshold solutions. The same applies to balcony and terrace doors.

For flats with a balcony, OknoPlus offers balcony doors with a low, 2 cm threshold, which can easily be crossed in a wheelchair.

For houses with a terrace, experts recommend Morlite Vision, a line of sliding glass doors that – despite their fashionably large dimensions – can be opened and closed with an extremely light touch, thanks to an innovative mechanism. Morlite Vision doors are extremely easy to use, even for the disabled or mobility impaired.

“The mechanism works by shifting the door panel off the frame by a few millimetres, allowing it to move freely (on special carriages), then shifting it securely back into place when the panel is closed,” explains Tomasz Grabka, a Customer Advisor at OknoPlus.

When ordering windows and/or doors for barrier-free houses, don’t forget to mention that the handles should be at a comfortable height for a wheelchair user. That is, approximately 100 cm above the floor.

Remote-controlled exterior window blinds

As well as windows that open and close easily, wide doors, and low thresholds that facilitate movement around the house, convenient security features are also important. Burglar-proof exterior roller shutters are a good example of this. The shutters offered by OknoPlus come equipped with an electronic control system, so those with limited mobility can open and close them with no effort at all. Using the remote control, the shutters can be set in any desired position or, for example, programmed to open or close at a specific time. There are no cranks, levers, or cords. Nothing is done manually.

Easy opening front door

Making everyday life easier for people with disabilities is about the ‘little thing’ that people without disabilities may not even notice. One of those things is a front door that’s easy to open. You may have several different locks, so each time you come home you have to waste time finding the right key, or you can have a high-quality, burglar-proof door with one central key for the whole house, or even a keyless door that you open with your fingerprint.  With its modern, energy efficient Alu STAR doors, OknoPlus offers just that. The traditional security system (with a key) can be replaced or used alongside with a fingerprint reader (for example by different members of the household, according to their preferences and needs). This is especially important with those with impaired fine motor skills, for whom touching a fingerprint reader is much easier than using a lock and key.