Hillview Blog

5 Accessibility Tips for New Home Construction

5 Ways to Build Accessibility Into New Home Construction

Want more? Check out this article on Brad Bartko, founder of Disability: Accessibility by Design and learn about when accessibility should be considered in new home construction.

Are you thinking about building a new home? Are you thinking about living there for a long time? Read on to learn about important considerations your future-self will thank you for.


When building a custom home, “this is your chance to build something great”. The mentality of having a “forever home” can be achieved when it is built with accessibility in mind. As you age, you may not want to move out, if you still love your house. Planning for aging in place is prudent and will enhance the ROI of your custom home, especially if you can extend the number of years you get to enjoy living there.

Building an Accessible Home is Easier Than You Think

Building an accessible home, building or structure is easier than renovating later. Even the smallest considerations will be appreciated at some point. Not having to take things down to a structural level for modifications at a later date saves time, money and hassle.

Go above and beyond ‘the code’.

Why not design flush door thresholds, slightly wider hallways and pocket doors for smoother wheeling around and total clearance through doorways? An extra bedroom with en suite on the main floor, should in-home care be preferred in later years is always a welcome bonus.

Sensory Considerations

Many facing sensory issues and sensitivities may benefit from some square footage dedicated to sensory deprivation whether it be a tank or a dedicated room with extra soundproofing. Consider the placement of the home’s design on the lot and which rooms will have abundant light and at what point during the day; remember to consider what time of day rooms are used

Door Handles, Levers and Outlets

Adding lever style door handles instead of door knobs when choosing finishes means a door can be opened with a push down versus twisting motion. Having electrical outlets raised means easier access, for everyone.


Walk-in showers add a distinct touch of modern design while offering significant accessibility. As there are no transitions or enclosing walls or doors, entry and exit are made much safer and easier. Multiple and handheld shower heads make it easier for those who need to shower while seated. (Perhaps consider the “human car wash”, or Humanwash developed by Finnish engineer Matti Paaso.) A lower bathroom sink will be able to accommodate undercounter leg room for sitting and strategically placed grab bars can offer stability for getting on and off the toilet.


Bonus Tips:

Think about how technology can ease accessibility with voice-activated features for those who are unable to reach certain switches or equipment. Something as simple as a hydraulic dining room table can mean accommodating all guests with the greatest of ease. 


Ready to build your dream home? Get in touch and let’s get started today!

Hillview Blog

Timing Accessibility in New Home Construction

When Should Accessibility Be Considered in New Home Construction?

Based on an interview with Brad Bartko, Accessibility Champion, Founder of Disability: Accessibility By Design 

If you come away with one thing, let it be Accessibility Should Always Be Considered many may ask, why? The reason is because disability is closer than you think and can impact anyone at any point in their lives, in many different ways.

Accessible home design is an affordable consideration whether you or a loved one have a disability, mobility issues or are planning for aging-in-place.

Brad Bartko was born prematurely to his 16 year old mother who thought she was going in for an appendix. He was so small he could fit in the palm of a hand. He spent his first 76 days fighting for his life in an incubator, with only one fully-developed lung and a cyst on his brain that was irremovable. Brad was then diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2. His muscles and bones grew at different rates and although he ranks on the less severe side of the cp scale, he still uses a wheelchair full-time and has some difficulty moving around.

“We’re all human beings and we all have 3 things in common: death, taxes and a disability. We will all have a disability of some sort at some point in our lives; mental, physical, age-related, invisible. We need to think proactively and for the future, for the generations to come.”

Living on the brink, with “an inactive volcano that could erupt at any moment” led Brad to the importance of making an impact every day, never knowing if it will be his last. His parents played a big role in developing Brad’s world view. “They did a great job raising me, regardless of circumstances. You can be whatever, the world is yours!” His wheelchair never impeded Brad from making new friends and talking to people. He went to regular public school and hung around ‘normal’ kids that didn’t treat him any differently for “four wheels strapped to my ass”. Brad has had 20 surgeries in as many years, including a massive surgery at 18 that involved having both his legs broken to help him move better, reducing the 45 degree angle his knees were bent at, over the course of a year which completed in only 8 intense months of rehabilitation. Brad had his non-negotiable goal: he would walk across the stage and accept his high school diploma. After tremendous effort, both physical and mental, Brad managed to achieve his goal, despite having just had this huge surgery. Two thousand people, friends, schoolmates, parents, and Brad’s grandfather all clapped for him as he took those symbolic steps representing hope, tenacity, motivation, resilience and strength. It was a golden memory for Brad, forged forever in his heart when his grandfather passed shortly after that day.

Brad went on to apply himself to a career in finance at the age of 21 and for 8 years dedicated himself to helping others through financial literacy. His next defining moment unexpectedly occurred in an Edmonton bar. Brad needed to use the washroom and as the establishment was underwhelmingly unprepared for any disabled patrons, the experience for his accommodation was degrading, humiliating and a wake up call for Brad. Disability needed a voice. 

“There are a billion disabled people in the world…and the number continues to climb. It’s the largest minority outside of race. We deserve a seat at the table. Why aren’t people talking about us? It doesn’t affect them? Or they don’t care? Or they don’t know any better. Awareness and Education are key.


And so Brad founded Disability: Accessible by Design and thus far, has teamed up with close to 30 restaurants to improve accessibility in restaurants, bars and lounges. He didn’t do it alone though and attributes any success to his beloved wife and team exclaiming, “ Our company wouldn’t be what it is without them!”


Brad is spreading H.O.P.E. – the Help One Person Everyday campaign will be launching soon and Hillview Master Builder is part to be partnered with the initiative that will see one disabled person helped every day for 365 days, with the campaign crescendo being a Hillview Home that is fully accessible, will be given away on December 31st, 2023 to someone who is disabled.  All proceeds will be donated to a local Edmonton charity to further help those with disabilities.