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Universal Design Essentials Course

CAPS Courses

Course Title: Universal Design Essentials


The NAHB Certified Aging-In-Place (CAPS) designation program has become the leader in Aging In Place home modification training. The NAHB Remodelers and the National Association of Home Builders recognized the need for further training in a related field. This course, Universal Design Essentials (UDE), has been developed and revised in response to that need. While CAPS focus is custom accessibility features, UDE addresses generic high-function features that me included in almost any home, not just a home with a person with an urgent need or a significant impairment. Universal Design Essentials (UDE), focuses on home designs and specifications that responds to the natural variance in people’s sizes and abilities as well as anticipate lifetime changes due to circumstance, health issues, and aging.

Currently, society is experiencing an unprecedented increase in longevity-along with a rise in age-related housing mismatch issues: our homes suddenly or over time just don’t work as well for us. While the need for Universal Design Essentials is additionally age-driven, it addresses highly beneficial design elements for all homes, new and existing, as well as needed professional skills in building, design, and remodeling.

Purpose Of This Course

This course parallels the CAPS course by shifting the focus from custom accessibility related modifications to successful integration of Universal Design (generic, broadly marketable utility) as part of far more single family residential construction projects (new construction as well as remodeling, affordable to luxury). In practice, the proliferation of Universal Design practitioners may eventually reduce the number, cost, and complexity of custom home accessibility remodeling in years to come.

The creative design concepts and practices presented in this course will enable industry professionals to produce marketable projects that support the changing needs of clients over their lifetime.


This course is intended for:

  • Design/build professionals including builders, remodelers, architects, interior designers, kitchen and bath designers, health industry professionals, developers, civil engineers, and the academic community.
  • Health care professionals including occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, discharge planners, case managers, nurses, and rehabilitation engineers
  • Public and private agency staff including housing finance agencies, community development agencies, CHODOs- community housing development organizations
  • Allied industry members including product manufacturers and suppliers, consultants, planners, real estate professional, appraisers, home inspectors, lenders, and electronic systems contractors

Course Objectives

By completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the significance of integrating Universal Design (UD) concept in residential construction.
  • Describe the broad beneficiary groups of homes with universal feautures.
  • Distinguish between accessibility solutions/products and UD solutions.
  • Describe ways that functional design can also be attractive.
  • Identify and implement solutions for simple and complex scenarios that addresses various household compositions, budget levels and changing needs of clients.
  • Use effective marketing and communication strategies throughout the process.
  • Locate resources, materials, and services.

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