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I have been in a wheelchair since 2008. My wife, who is an Occupational Therapist, and I have managed to adapt our present home to accommodate my wheelchair. Even then I only have access to about 40 of our home. I believe we are in a unique position to design a very liveable, accessible home.  The one obstacle I have at the moment is my inexperience with the Chief Architect software. I've played around with it but never attempted a real-life projected like the one I am about to undertake. I understand the "space requirements" of wheelchairs related to turning around, hallway and door widths, etc... I've done enough research to know I want to build the house using SIP panels and we have a good idea on the siding, roof, etc...


I would like to find someone more experienced the software who has used it to design and build an accessible home that I can use as a guide.  I have my design sketched out, I just am struggling with laying out the foundations, figuring out how to configure the software to reflect SIP panels, etc...  If anyone can help give me some guidance I would truly appreciate it. Thank you


Bob Fleege

Council Bluffs, IA

Home Designer Pro 2020


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Oldmanwheeler, I a new to Chief Architect and also have accessibility concerns  so a ADA accessible download to Chief's library was one of the first things I looked for they do have a free download for the library unfortunately it is very limited and appears to be greatly lacking. they only have extremely general items like signs, door handle, toilet NOTHING I saw for parking area, walkway widths, ramp grade, mobility stair or pool lifts just to name a few. 


You probably know as well as I do that other people that don't have a disability often just forget about us. I did use the Contact US to email CA about this but haven;t received a response.  The best and only option I have come up with is contacting ADA to get a hard copy of the federal ADA guide lines of accessibility, and then manual create and save each single item for your Chief Architect library. I am not a professional so I only plan on doing items that meet my specific disability requirements so they can be designed into my home.


good luck hope that helps






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Hi Bob,

Not sure if I can be of any help but have done a number of home mods to aid accessibility.  My wife is a paraplegic (has been for 42 years - darn horses) and we have adapted three personal residences.  We (my wife and I) both understand what the problems are for a para but not sure the extent of your disability.


Currently designing a new retirement home for us.  In addition, I have done several commercial buildings which met ADA standards.


My knowledge of SIPs is limited having done only two churches that used them on the roof and that was under the direction of a very knowledgeable Amish craftsman. But, as Eric said, SIPs are merely a type of wall.


Unfortunately, my software is Chief Architect X11 and I see you are using HomeDesigner Pro 2020 which is not totally compatible with Chief Architect X11.  I can read your plans and can send back a revision in Chief but you will not have all tools needed to modify it fully.  You CAN DO some editing but not all.


I can look over what you have done so far which will perhaps point us in the right direction for continuing.  At the moment, I am not clear what you need.


Let me know if I can help.



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6 hours ago, goldhunter_2 said:

You probably know as well as I do that other people that don't have a disability often just forget about us

Hi Goldhunter_2


You are absolutely correct. I don't care how much education a person has or how long they have been in the industry; ONLY individuals who are wheelchair-bound truly understand the day to day challenges we have to deal with. At one time my wife and I considered doing consulting but quickly realized that change is not welcome in the design and construction industry as long as they meet the minimum requirements under the law.  The phrase "we met the minimum ADA requirements" only shows that person and/or companies ignorance! It's not about meeting minimum requirements, it's about meeting the basic needs of a human being.  My wife has been an Occupational Therapist for 35 years and she is considered one of the more knowledgeable OTR's on this subject, yet she will admit that as knowledgeable as she was, she had no idea what life was really like. Today she is a much better Occupational Therapist and tries her very best not to take anything for granted.


Perhaps our conversation will lead to others with similar needs sharing their experiences, solutions, and ideas.  And even more important I hope such a conversation will open the eyes of Cheif Archtech and vendors to create a library with realistic solutions and downloads.


For any individuals who don't feel this is important, I challenge you to have someone take duct tape and wrap your legs together from the ankle up to the knees. Make sure it is nice and snuggle and since most of also deal with bad shoulders wrap some of that duct tape around your elbow to limit movement.  Now go on with your daily life, not for just a few hours but for no less than 36 hours.  Do this and you will have just a sprinkling of what we have to deal with every day and how small things turn into big things. I commend anyone who is willing to try this challenge and I promise you, you will never look at anything the same way again.


Sorry for the Rant, but this is the reality for many Individuals.



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