Disability home inspection

hey guys i just got asked to do a disability inspection on a home. i don’t see anything for that but i’m guessing it is just 36" doorways to the bathroom/house, ramps/rails, easy access etc? has anyone done anything like this?

Who is your client Mark? Not name specific, but the reason for the request.

Check with the ADA, they may have guidelines.


Also check with the HUD guidelines. Not sure to what extent it applies to a single family, detached resident.



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ADA is a defacto standard. It applies to places where public has access, such as my office located in my home. The office area needs to be ADA - the private area does not. Yes, ramps, doorways, access is to be considered but many other things are involved. What good is a ramp if there is a step to actually enter the home? Can that be done with a wheelchair. Heights of counters and cabinets. Can that electrical switch be reached? How about the outlet? At what height may a fire extinguisher be mounted? How about different size extinguishers? Yes - the other replies you see from other inspectors are good references also. There is much to inspecting a home for the physically challenged.
Use correct terminology when writing report and speaking with folks who are physically and/or mentally challenged. I know a former student who specializes in inspecting dwellings for what we call “handicapped” folk. His child is and he is very aware. Does inspections for private individuals as well as organizations that help these individuals find places where they can live independently.
Where are you located? I have a NY State approved CE Class called “The Listing Said Handicap Accessible - Is It?”. I presented it in Atlantic City a few years back for InterNACHI. Present was a Doctor who works with “handicap” and he said it was a good presentation. Just mentioned that as a reference that I am not blowing wind up anyones kilt.

thank you very much i have a commercial inspection course which touches on challenges very good. thanks for the extra effort as that is what i usually do is actually talk to the person that is involved.

Here is the link to the ADA standards: ADA Accessibility Standards (enhanced single file version)

I am having difficulty finding a residential standard. So in this case, I would generate a scope of work off of the ADA checklist. I would modify the scope of work to exclude non-applicable commercial components. Then define the reporting method (such as just submitting the checklist with areas that were not applicable marked out in accordance with the agreed upon scope of work).

Bottom line, you are going to need a standard to work off of that both parties agree to.

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You probably want the HUD guidelines, which are more oriented to residential issues.

There are universal design guidelines (or, in the case of the ADA, toothy laws disguised as guidelines). But they don’t apply to private homes in the same way.

  • Do you know the individual disability of the person buying the home?
  • Or are they really looking for “age in place” friendly housing?
  • Or put another way, what’s the goal of the inspection?
  • What jurisdiction?

For HUD see:

If this is about liability, the ADA is enforced largely via private action. In California the 1950’s era Unruh Act works much like the Texas Heartbeat Act, in enabling fiscal recovery from private action.

HUD/FHA has a standard.

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