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Carpenters are skilled in the construction, remodeling and repair of building structures and many other objects made of wood.  They work with tradesmen such as painters, electricians and carpenters in home construction.  Carpenters are particularly useful to people with disabilities when they are experienced with Universal Design. These techniques make homes  functional and appealing for people regardless of their disability status.Carpenters should be experienced in work for clients with disabilities, and should be aware of code and ADA requirements.


If something is made of wood inside or outside a home, a skilled carpenter will build it or repair it: framework, drywall, partitions, cabinets, closets, ramps, stairs, handrails, furniture, moldings, panels, decks, doors, floors, ceilings, rafters, porches, and fences…the list is almost endless.Carpenters work independently, or as part of a team that includes tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians.

Many carpenters complete formal apprenticeships, but some learn their skills as helpers to experienced carpenters. In selecting a carpenter, documented references are particularly important since carpenters do not complete a formal certification or licensing process. When you hire a carpenter, discuss your specific requirements, and make certain that the carpenter is experienced. Tradespeople should be familiar with both practical and decorative resources. 

A home owner should be attentive to the credentials, including licenses, of the tradespeople with whom their carpenter works.  Chose carpenters and other tradespeople who are familiar with code, ADA requirements, and experienced in working with people who have disabilities. Inquiries about insurance policies are appropriate.

Carpenters contribute to the creation of a comfortable home that can be managed by a person with disability. Principles of Universal Design frequently guide carpenters and other tradespeople in the design of attractive and functional homes. The term “Universal Design” was introduced by American architect Ronald L. Mace. The concepts became internationally recognized when the first edition of Selwyn Goldsmith’s Designing for the Disabled was published in England in 1963. Universal designers create environments and products that can be used and enjoyed by all people, regardless of their disability status.

For people with physical disabilities, Universal Design has many exterior and interior applications when building or re-modeling a home. For example, a carpenter can build a covered entrance to a home. In bad weather, people with physical disabilities don’t sprint toward the door! Needless to say, a person with physical disability prefers an entrance with no steps. Once you arrive inside your home, a carpenter can facilitate the use of wheelchairs and alternative assistive devices by ensuring that the floors are level and covered with non-slip material such as cork, vinyl or mosaic tiles with a matte finish. Ideally, a home should be located on a single level.  If not, a carpenter can help to remodel the ground floor so that it has at least one accessible bathroom, bedroom, and an area for entertainment.

Look for the Disability Know-It-All’s Newsletter #1 if you want to read about ways in which carpenters are useful to people with physical disabilities as they construct or re-model their homes.

*Service Providers who are certified by the Disability Know-It-All LLC have successfully met the requirements of our assessment process and successfully participate in our company's education program.
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