Society

Vancouver Bans Doorknobs Because Not Everyone Can Operate Them

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Vancouver is ridding itself of something people tend to overlook or not give a second thought to: the doorknob.

In an attempt to provide the city with a “universal design,” Vancouver has already replaced knobs with levers in public buildings, and will now require all new housing to be built with door levers beginning in March.

The “universal design” concept aims to make buildings usable for all people. Levers are easier for elderly or people with disabilities to operate, reports the Vancouver Sun. Water faucets will also have to have levers instead of knobs.

Vancouver is the first city to initiate such a ban but it may not be the last. Changes made in the city often spread to building codes across the country, reports Newser.

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“A really simple version is to cut curbs on every corner,” Tim Stainton, a University of British Columbia professor said in regards to the concept of “universal design.” “That helps elderly people, people with visual impairments, moms with strollers. It makes a sidewalk that could otherwise be difficult for parts of the population universally accessible.”

But the president of the Antique Door Knob Collectors of America, Allen Joslyn, thinks the city shouldn’t require private homes to be built with levels instead of doorknobs.

“I can understand if you have a public building where everybody wants to have free access and that is a problem,” he said. “But to say that when I build my private home and nobody is disabled that I have to put levers on, strikes me as an overreach.”

Will Johnston, former Vancouver chief building inspector, told the Vancouver Sun homeowners will still be able to purchase doorknobs if they choose.

Sources: Newswer, Vancouver Sun