Accessibility & Universal Design

What is Universal Design? Center for Universal Design

Universal Design is a voluntary program encouraged by the Irvine City Council in which participating homebuilders may offer universal design features where permitted by architecture and elevations. Universal Design concepts simplify life by making homes and associated living environments more useable by more people including children, aging populations and persons with disabilities. These design features accommodate the aging of family members by incorporating universal design principles and elements in the materials, technology and products in the construction of a new home.

See your builder to obtain "Universal Design: Homes for the Future Today." This brochure was developed by the Accessible Housing Task Force for prospective homebuyers.

If you would like additional information on Title 24 Chapter 11A-Accessibility Standards, please call (949) 724-6371.

Interested in Home Modifications?

Click here to visit the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification.

Click here to view the Universal Design Resource Guide for Residential Modifications.

Click here to view Accessibility Guidelines for Retail Establishments.

Click here to view the 2007 New Home Universal Design Option Checklist (AB 1400).

Each home builder will determine which options to offer based on the following Universal Design features:


  • Accessible path of travel to dwelling
  • Maximum 1/2" vertical change in level at thresholds
  • 32" wide interior doors
  • Strike edge clearance at doors: 18" interior; 24" exterior doors
  • Lever door hardware
  • Entry door sidelight or high/low peep hole viewer
  • Doorbell at 48" maximum height in accessible location (36")
  • Visual fire alarms and visual doorbells
  • Switches, outlets and thermostats at 15" to 48" above the floor
  • Rocker light switches
  • Closet rods and shelves adjustable from 3' to 5'6" high
  • Residential elevator or lift


  • Grab bar backing in walls
  • Grab bars
  • 5' diameter turning circle
  • 36" x 36" or 30" x 48 clear space *
  • Lavatory with lever faucet controls
  • Open-front lavatory with knee space and protection panel
  • Contrasting color edge border at countertops
  • Anti-scald devices on all plumbing fixtures
  • 17" to 19" high water closet seat
  • Roll-in shower in lieu of standard tub or shower
  • Shower stall with 4" lip in lieu of standard tub
  • Hand-held adjustable shower head


  • 30" x 48" clear space at appliances or 60" diameter clear space for U-shaped kitchen
  • Removable base cabinets at sink
  • Countertop height repositioning to 28" high
  • Lever controls at kitchen sink faucet
  • Base cabinets with pull-out shelves
  • Base cabinets with Lazy Susans
  • Contrasting color edge border at countertops
  • Microwave oven at countertop height
  • Under cabinet task lighting