We build accessible spaces for independent living
When working with you to design your space, we work hand in hand with your therapists, to develop a plan that works for everyone in the house; accessible doesn’t have to mean ugly or institutional. We use many of the same products and techniques that other contractors use, we just apply them differently. We like to say that we’re in the business of 1/8” because that can make the difference between futile and functional!
Bathrooms are our specialty as 4 out of 5 of the ADL’s (activities of daily living) happen in that room. Toileting, bathing, and grooming. Some of our services include grab bars and grab bar installations, shower chairs, toilet safety rails, disabled handrails, walk-in tubs, and more. Most able bodied people complain about the size of their bathrooms. We excel at looking at the whole space and making recommendations that work. We are a fully licensed general contractor that can tackle both small and large jobs. Please contact us today. We’d love to show you our portfolio of projects and have you talk to some of our smiling clients.
Custom Home Adaptations
The backbone to our business is our custom home remodeling and home renovation services, creatively converting space into accessible space for independent living. We believe in the principles of Universal Design where products and spaces are created to be used equally by all people, not just able ones. A shower stall without a threshold is one example. Everyone, regardless of their height, weight, gender, or ability, can access that shower. This is not the case where one has a threshold.
“Accessable were very easy to work with on the design and project. They came in on budget. The quality of the work was excellent and the people were friendly and also accommodating. All work was done with required permits and inspections. I would use them again.”
Accessible Products and Services
- Bathtub Inserts
- Walk-In Tubs
- Tub and Shower Seats
- Grab Bars
- Door Widening / Offset Hinges
- Ramps / Thresholds
- Stair and Platform Lifts
- Wall and Stair Rails
One of our core specialties is to remove a bathtub and replace it with a walk-in / wheelchair accessible shower that can be installed in a few days. They are easy to maintain and enhance the use and appearance of your bathroom. Kits are available or custom pans can be ordered or created. Wall surrounds most often are done in either custom tile, cultured marble, or acrylic. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Let Accessable review the options with you that best meet your needs.
A critical decision is how high the threshold of the shower can be. Someone who is struggling with or can’t walk is going to need a very low or ‘zero’ threshold entry point. More able bodied seniors might just be happy enough with a higher threshold that is still much, much lower than the bath tub wall. All of these considerations are taken into account when you meet with your Accessable Assessor and pick the right options for your new shower.
While replacing the bathtub with a shower is a more comprehensive solution, a typical issue for seniors is the challenge of just safely getting over the front bathtub wall to shower. Many newer tubs are as much as 20” tall! A bathtub insert is the quickest, easiest and most economical way to create a step-in shower to your home without taking your bathtub out. With the optional cap or door, you can still use the tub as a bathtub.
Accessable represents several manufacturers of bathtub inserts to address the unique needs of each user. Accessable can convert your bathtub in in just a few hours. With the addition of a couple of grab bars, most seniors can enter and exit the tub safely and confidently.
Bathtub Conversion Process
These tubs have become the talk of the community and our clients ask about them all the time. For the right client, they can be a great joy and therapeutic. But they are not for everyone. As a company most concerned with safety and comfort, we take a lot of time to help clients decide on the tub that is right for them, of if it is right at all. There are as many makes and models out there as there are cars, and we know how difficult it can be to choose one of those.
Some of the considerations include inswing versus outswing door, air and water jets, heated seat, accelerated drain pumps, as well as tub width and length. Ask us which tub we think is right.
Bathroom safety and fall prevention are essential while bathing, yet the lack of proper assistive devices or their poor placement can lead to such events. Many providers will steer clients towards inexpensive bath chairs and transfer benches. However, space limitations and the need to use the tub by others can make that equipment a real pain. We offer folding seats and benches that fold up out of the way when not in use. They are available in knaugahide or phenolic plastic. Chairs and benches without legs can be installed in walls with adequate reinforcement while models with legs can be installed without additional support in the walls.
Transfer benches that cross the tub width can have shower curtain slits in them to eliminate water flowing outside the bathtub. Partnered with a tub insert and grab bars, this combination provides for extremely safe and enjoyable bathing.
A grab bar is one of the simplest and easiest ways to help keep bathing safe. Yet there is still an enormous stigma about having them. Every one of our clients wishes that they have gotten them sooner when the finally do. There are no excuses not to have grab bars. Each and every bathing area should have them to keep bathers from falls.
Accessable keeps a wide range of lengths and styles in stock.We offer a wide range of bars to meet the price point and tastes of every client. There are straight bars, angled bars, curved bars, thick bars, stainless steel, chrome, white, knurled, peened, smooth, and the list goes on. We offer the bars AND installation service to ensure that the bars are securely mounted and in the correct location. Whether its fashion or function, a grab bar will help keep you safer.
There are essentially 2 ways to widen a doorway. The first and less expensive way uses Offset hinges to help to move the door out of the way. The ‘L’ shaped hinge moves the door out of the way as much as would be gained by removing the door. The gain is about 1.5” in width which can make a huge difference to a wheelchair or walker user getting through.
To gain more width than an offset hinge would provide, the door and frame can be made wider in most instances. Sometimes, electrical switches have to be moved and a solution needs to be found for the missing flooring that usually results from the frame being moved back. Accessable has a number of unique solutions to consider from economical and quick to more time consuming and costly. The choice is the client’s!
A ramp simply bridges the height between two different planes. There are as many ramp variations as there are shoes. They all do the same thing but rarely are two the same. First consider placing your ramp at the rear of your home or inside your garage. The general rule for slope is 1:12 meaning 1” of rise to each 12” of run. Also, ramps should not practically exceed 36” high. So if you have more than 5 stairs, you should be looking at an Elevating Device. We can break down ramps into 3 major categories:
Threshold Ramps – To bridge that nasty bump through your doorway or over a very short distance, typically 3” or less. We offer the Ramp ‘n Roll product which is like Lego for ramp building. We particularly like this solution for patio doors where we can cut the material so that the only gap is where the door passes through. See our gallery of pictures to see what we mean. Other prefabricated solutions are available.
Metal Ramps – We have access to a couple of the major brand name metal ramp manufacturers. These ramps work well in areas that are easy to access. They are typically steel with a baked on finish or aluminum. The upside is that they have very low maintenance in our climate but they can be very costly and never quite fit into the landscape.
Custom Wood and Composite Ramps – More and more, we are using composite materials for outdoor decks and platforms. Most of our clients are looking for products that don’t require maintenance and Composite meets that need. When it comes to custom wood, our ramps range from pressure treated lumber with expanded metal lathe, to painted or stained versions with decorative handrails. Ramps are custom built on site. Using the right materials, they can enhance the appearance of your home.
Railings can be added to any ramp. In most jurisdictions, a railing is required for any elevation difference of 24” or more. For less than 24”, a 3” high curb is required to avoid someone stepping off the side or a wheel going over the edge.
By definition, this category transports clients from one elevation plane to another. Typically, lifting devices take over from where ramps leave off or where space does not allow for a ramp. They are an excellent way to move between floors and generally fall into 4 categories:
Chairlifts – A device that is affixed to the treads of your stairs. A chair is provided to sit on while a battery driven motor travels along the rail from one floor to another. They have all the safety features you could ask for. There are indoor and outdoor models. They are economical for straight staircases and costs rise dramatically for curved ones. Different models can carry varying weight loads which can affect suitability, performance and product life! Call today for a complimentary assessment.
Incline Platforms (IPL) – Like a chairlift, this device transports users from floor to floor but has a platform for a wheelchair user. These are more often used indoors. They are considerably more expensive than a straight chairlift and require much more space but have significantly more to them. Again, call for an assessment and based on our understanding of your needs, we will make a recommendation.
Vertical Platform Lift (VPL) – Like an IPL, a VPL has a platform. But unlike it, a VPL goes straight up and down like an elevator. The most popular applications are for outdoors to elevate a client form a main floor to a porch or sundeck. That requires the least modifications. Otherwise, concrete pads may need to be poured or an access point created into the house. VPL’s have a tower on one side which is the electronics and gears. Considering other options, a VPL can be a very cost effective solution.
Elevators – The cost of residential elevators has come down relatively speaking. A great many people building custom homes are now incorporating one into their plans or at least the shaft for future addition. Retrofitting an existing home for one can be very costly due to the structural changes that need to take place. We’ve had a number of very successful clients who are pleased with their choices. Invite us over for an assessment to see if we can fit one into your plans!
Outdoor – Almost always, we defer to the well-known aluminum hand and wall rail products that are custom fabricated. With baked on finishes that last for many years, these rails are cost effective, simple, and effective. Our supplier fabricates great products, and they are helpful and knowledgeable on how to achieve the results we want. Be safe, get a railing installed!
Indoor – Historically, we have made our own railings and painted them for along hallways and staircases. There are several wooden profiles to choose from. They can be finished with paint or stained and clear coated. See our gallery for some of the beautiful matching jobs we’ve done. We are also now sourcing prefabricated metal railings with decorative finishes. They are surprisingly affordable when compared to wooden railings when the cost of finishing wood ones is taken into account. Contact us today for an estimate.
“We have used Accessable for the installation of grab bars and a bathtub to shower conversion to make it wheelchair accessible. Owen and Uriel were reliable, knowledgeable, professional and honest throughout the whole process. The shower conversion works well and looks great! I would highly recommend Owen and Accessable if you are struggling to figure out the type of equipment or conversion you need.”
Book Your Complimentary Home Assessment
Stay Active with AssiStep Stair Walker
Use the stairs safely, with the aid of the AssiStep system. Support your ascent and descent on the stairs with a light, compact support bar that is 100% mechanical and slides easily along the rail and locks in place for your security. You can walk the stairs at your own pace, avoiding imbalances or falls.
The AssiStep can be installed on both straight and curved staircases, and the bar can be put away when not in use. We are an authorized installer for the AssiStep system.
As a Co-Op or Condominium
The Board of your association may have met and identified an area that is not accessible or are wondering if areas are and don’t have the expertise to know. Accessable can be that resource to make those assessments. Accessable’s reports have been used by associations and Boards to assess their properties. Several have actually applied for grants through a national organization to conduct such studies to be used for future projects. Lack of proper and safe access can be a large burden and a potential for litigation so getting ahead of the curve can provide your team with the necessary resources.
As a Homeowner
Whether you are considering a downsizing move or trying to anticipate whether your existing home will be able to be easily modified as your mobility declines in future years, we can help. While we usually don’t charge for assessments that result in being able to quote on work, consulting allows us to provide you with our deep and broad experience in adapting homes without any obligation to proceed with the work proposed. We can assess for a single item or the whole house. Usually, we take into consideration entering and exiting the home, then assessing modifications that need to be made throughout in order for you to reasonably, safely, and happily live there. For some, it’s the addition of an elevator to maintain access to the whole house. For others, it’s a basement or main floor modification to use just a part of the home.
“Oh wow Owen that looks fabulous!! Thank you so much for your patience and support for TJ. I’ll call him today and I can’t wait to hear the happiness and relief in his voice! Looking forward to our next project together. Many thanks.”
– Rishma D. (Occupational Therapist)
As a Therapist
Like homeowners, therapists often need the same type of information, but it could be used in different ways. Your client could be someone who has experienced a sudden change in their mobility through an accident or a medical issue. You could be retained by them directly, through their legal representation, or you may be acting on behalf of a insurance company such as Worksafe, ICBC, Blue Cross or other. You need a professional, certified Aging-In-Place consultant to assess the areas in question taking into account the client’s present and future needs. Then recommendations and budget estimates need to be applied to those modifications. Accessable can be your resource for exactly those needs.
Regardless of who is requesting the consulting, you’ll get expert advice to help plan and protect. For simple projects or to determine the feasibility of a larger study, a verbal report may be acceptable. For larger or more detailed studies that could involve funding from an insurance or other organization, the report may need to be more formally written. Enquire with us today to determine how exactly we can support your needs.
“We were in need of a high quality grab-bar installation for all bathrooms in our residence and Owen and his team did not disappoint! Not only did Owen provide us with a top quality product and installation, he was a wealth of information in other ways we can make our residences a safer and more accessible place for our residents. We’ll definitely be working with Owen again in the future and would highly recommend Accessable Home & Property Services for anyone in need of home modifications.”
– Lifemark Residences
Accessibility Construction Management
You’ve designed your renovation or your new home. You’ve hired a builder or contractor to do the work. The designer has incorporated accessible design elements that are vital to your project but you are unsure if the team will execute properly on these elements as construction gets under way. Trust us when we tell you that accessible modifications can become compromised when trades unknowingly do them in the usual way. Imagine how difficult it would be if you specified your light switches to be at 40” and you realized after drywalling that they were placed at 48”. Or if you planned on a level entry to your home only to find that the foundation was poured 6” too high. Fixing these problems can be a nightmare if not impossible regardless of who is to blame.
Accessable Homes can manage these customizations on site as construction is under way. We can also help to identify things that weren’t considered during the design phase. Is there a window placed too high for a view from a wheelchair? While some designers and home builders are getting really good at doing this, more are new to the subject and their trades know little if anything about how to make homes accessible. Our participation in your project is going to allow them to do what they do well and ensure that the end result is what you need. The primary role of a Construction Manager is:
- Specifying project objectives and plans including scope, budgeting, scheduling, setting performance requirements, and selecting project participants
- Maximizing the resource efficiency
- Implementing operations through proper coordination and control of planning, design, estimating, contracting, and construction in the entire process
- Developing communications and mechanisms for decision making and resolving conflicts.
What Our Clients Say
“If you can find a contractor who cares as much about the quality of his work as he does about how his work will enhance your quality of life, you have found Owen Barclay. Besides sticking to his schedule, he listened carefully to my needs and then magically created what I had only dreamt of. Thank you, Owen, your work made my life so much easier by making my bathroom perfect for my accessibility needs.”
– Kay J. from New Westminster, BC
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I be sure that you are the right company to do the work for me?
First of all, ask me for references. Make sure that you ask our references specific questions about your specific concerns. We will try to give you references of similar work done. Satisfy yourself completely. Make sure that you ask us for our document package that shows you our business license, WorkSafeBC compliance, and insurance coverage. For larger projects, we insist on a contract to protect both our interests. You can also visit our Testimonials page.
How do we get started?
You’ve made the first step by visiting our website. The next step is to go to our Contact Us page and reach out to us. We will set up a meeting with you and whoever you want to be part of the process. We have a comprehensive checklist we will review with you. Our relationship will unfold as it should.
I do not have mobility issues. I just want to make sure that my home will work for me as I age. Can I hire you?
Yes! Anyone undertaking a renovation should consider how long they are going to live in that home and plan for the future should something happen. Even a temporary injury such as a broken leg can be so much easier to manage if the home is designed accordingly. Do not forget too that people who come to visit you may not be as agile as you are. Toddlers, moms with babies, furniture movers, and others will find your home much more accessible with the right design.
Do I need to have an Occupational Therapist to hire you?
No. Having an Occupational or Community Therapist part of project is not required but certainly advisable. Having a Therapist on the project provides the best assurance that we will meet your current and future functional requirements.
How does billing work with your company?
Our business requires operating capital to buy materials, pay employees, hire subcontractors, and pay our expenses. Your unique situation and our contract will determine exactly how billing and payments will be managed. Every project is different and yours will be too. To date, we have managed to work with every client successfully.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, cheque, and electronic funds transfer. We do not accept credit cards at this time.
Universal Design (UD)
What is Universal Design (UD)?
The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
Is Universal Design more expensive?
Today’s housing stock was built using considerations that did not specifically take UD into account. Some things work. Some do not. It is ALWAYS less expensive to design and build for UD than converting it later. Most UD designs cost the same or a fraction more to incorporate during the renovation. An example is installing a 36” wide door rather than a 30” door. The extra cost of the framing, door and trim is negligible. Not so when you want to change it later.
Does being a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist guarantee me a successful project?
No. It is not a standard or guarantee. It is an important sign that the person cares about the industry and people in it. There is more to successfully completing a project than just the certification.
Has Owen worked in construction all of his career?
No. Before founding the company, Owen worked in the electronics industry for over 20 years, selling and establishing distribution networks throughout North America. As a boy, he loved work working and built furniture for his family and friends. He tinkered in his Dad’s shop and it wasn’t long before he became proficient at fixing things. As a homeowner, Owen has undertaken many renovation projects himself and has helped family and friends with theirs.
Do you do all of the work yourself?
Owen has enjoyed being ‘on the tools’. He is very detail oriented and has many building and renovation experiences, although is not a journeyman in any trade. With the growth of the business requiring more labour, Owen takes more of a supervisory role on the jobs and pitches in where necessary. Owen hires the right trade professional for the job.