Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, offers additional coursework and consulting beyond the “CAPS” designation and certification program for those who are interested in creating even more accessibility solutions.

By removing barriers to entrances or maneuverability in the home and through providing maximum safety, comfort, security, and convenience for their clients, regardless of the age or age of the home or structure, Steve focuses on solutions that establish universal design and visitability concepts for the client.

He brings his extensive knowledge of residential design, floor plans, spatial relationships, construction techniques, aging in place concepts, and accessibility product choices to the “Universal Design Essentials” (UDE) one-day class.

This is a companion, standalone, one-day course that complements the CAPS designation and material, but it is geared more toward universal design and visitable solutions rather than appealing to specific needs. Any 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, you will find this to be beneficial as concepts covered in the CAPS curriculum are not repeated or duplicated in the UDE course.

Anyone who has taken the CAPS program successfully will enjoy this course because (1) it provides 6 hours of CE credit – half of what is needed for a 3-year renewal cycle, (2) it really focuses on treatments, concepts, 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 one-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 or they do not work directly in this field.

Simply put, universal design is providing all functional and operational aspects of a home (entrances, controls, doorways, passageways, appliances, fixtures, closets, cabinets, windows, door and cabinet hardware, flooring, lighting, wayfinding, and more) where they can be used or experienced 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, a universal design approach delivers a living environment that is not dependent on someone’s height, size, physical ability, strength, or age. In essence, there should be no restrictions on movement or general utilization of the living space.

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 Essentials course, such as OTs, PTs, case managers, contractors, designers, real estate agents, non-profit organizations, government agencies, aging services, engineers, home inspectors, public adjusters, and architects, among others. The content expressed in the universal design class is intentionally kept separate from that offered in the CAPS class with a minimum of overlap or duplication of material.