- 60in/1.5m in diameter?
- Is found at least once in every room?
- Is imperative to an accessible home?
The wheelchair maneuvering circle
What is it used for?
It is a 60in/1.5m area of clear floor space that enables a wheelchair to turn around comfortably between objects. These maneuvering circles help turn an average house into an accessible home.
Why do you need one?
Even if at this moment you don’t use a wheelchair, none of us know what the future holds. If you want to have the option to stay in your home as you age, it should be designed with wheelchair accessibility in mind. Incorporating these circles throughout your home is one step in the right direction. They will also ensure that your home is accessible right now to friends and family who have limited mobility.
Where should they go?
You should have maneuvering circles in all rooms but pay particular attention to these key places:
- Bathrooms. Having one in the center of the room with the toilet, sink and shower on the edge of the circle is ideal.
- Kitchens. Place between the lower cabinets and an island (or table) so you can move around easily and safely within the work triangle, which is the route between the fridge, stove and sink.
- Bedrooms. You need at least one circle on one side of the bed for access and to park a wheelchair. Having one also in front of the closet and dresser would be fantastic.
- Front Entries. There is always a lot going on in an entry with people coming and going, and bags and shoes scattered about. This creates an obstacle course that the circle can help alleviate.
The 60in/1.5m maneuvering circle should be a clear open floor space, free of anything like furniture legs, toilet bases, or cabinets. However, wheelchair footrests can pass underneath wall-mounted pieces of furniture like a vanity or toilet, so keep your eyes open for those places where you can steal some precious extra inches.
When building new or renovating, plan out in advance (before you start building) where your furniture and permanent fixtures will go, and review the remaining floor space. If you don’t have the 60in. circle of clear floor space remaining you will need to rethink your furniture layout or your room dimensions. Doing this now will save you money and time. Planning for an accessible house will give you the luxury of choice in the future. The choice of whether you wish stay in your home for as long as possible vs having to move out due to a home that is inaccessible.
Read more about accessible kitchens.
Read more about accessible bathrooms.
Read more about accessible bedrooms.
Read more about an accessible front entry.