Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, offers additional coursework and consulting beyond the “CAPS” designation and certification program for those who are interested in creating or providing the greatest amount of access and visitability for their clients – essentially removing any barriers to entrance or maneuverability in the home and providing maximum safety, comfort, security, and convenience for their clients, regardless of the age of the home or type of structure. He brings his extensive knowledge of residential design, floor plans, spatial relationships, construction techniques, and product choices to the “Universal Design/Build” two-day class.

This is a companion, standalone, two-day course that complements the CAPS designation and material, but it is geared more toward universal design rather than solutions for specific needs. Overlap between the two programs is kept to a minimum, and it is not dependent upon you having taken the CAPS coursework prior to enrolling in this course!

However, anyone who has taken the CAPS program successfully will enjoy this course because (1) it provides 12 hours of CE credit – all that is needed for a 3-year renewal cycle, (2) it really focuses on treatments, features, products, and building components that have the broadest possible appeal, and (3) it is a great complement and companion to the CAPS courses.

This is not a designation program but a two-day independent class. There are no service hours or other requirements or pre-requisites. Anyone who desires the knowledge should take it, even if they have not completed any or all of the CAPS courses!

Simply put, universal design is providing all functional and operational aspects of a home (controls, doorways, passageways, appliances, fixtures, closets, cabinets, windows, door and cabinet hardware, and more) where they can be used by essentially anyone in the home, whether they live there full-time or are just visiting. While some people have special requirements that severely restrict their mobility, often they can still function well in a universal design setting. Generally speaking, universal design delivers a living environment that is not dependent on someone’s height, size, physical ability, strength, or age.

Steve has written several texts on universal design, and he provides many examples from his aging in place books during the classes. The coursework takes an outside-in approach to looking at the living space in a home and breaks it up into many parts such as entries, passageways, the living environment, windows, doors, flooring, lighting, kitchens (with many appliance, cabinets, and functional components), bathrooms (with fixtures, mirrors, cabinetry, and other features), and other rooms and living areas around the home and yard.

The same people who have taken the CAPS courses, or are considering taking them in the future, are the ones who should be taking the Universal Design/Build course, such as contractors, designers, real estate agents, non-profit organizations, government agencies, health care professionals, aging services, and architects.