Since 1980 and founded by the International Code Council, Building Safety Month has been an annual public safety awareness campaign to help individuals, families, and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. The theme for week one of Building Safety Month 2016, May 2-8, is “Building Solutions for All Ages.”
More than 76 million Baby Boomers, or nearly one-quarter of the estimated U.S. population of 320 million, are nearing or entering retirement and are deciding where they will be spending their golden years. Is the built environment prepared?
“People of all ages have the expectation that the buildings they use throughout their lives will be safe,” explained Code Council Board of Directors President Alex Olszowy, III, with the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government in Lexington, KY. “Updated building codes have been the framework for the generations of those structures. Through the work of the ICC, they will continue to be for generations to come.”
According to a survey conducted by AARP, 89 percent of the 50-and-older population like their current homes and intend to remain in them for as long as possible. But aging in place is not just about the home. The aging of the population will affect every interior environment—private, commercial, and public. For example:
- Hospitality: Restaurants, hotels, and motels will need to be accessible.
- Workplaces: Offices, retail stores, and other work spaces will need to provide adequate lighting, seating, technology, task areas, and quiet places for older workers.
- Healthcare facilities: There will be an increased need for outpatient and in-home care, as well as accommodations for caretakers and caregivers.
- Retail: Stores will need to be accessible and accommodate individuals using assistive devices.
- Multi-housing/multiuse: There is a growing demand for livable communities and urban complexes with easy access to health care, entertainment, shopping, etc.
Architects, custom home builders, and remodelers are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of aging-in-place clients, provided they fully understand the design solutions and products that make structures livable and usable. Sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, the “Building Solutions for All Ages” page provides an array of resources and information on how to build for the Baby Boomer generation.