It seems the city of Vancouver, British Columbia is demonstrating that quite literally. "Bancouver," as it will now be affectionately referenced, has decided to ban door knobs. No, seriously, they have.
The Vancouver Sun reports:
In September, Vancouver council adopted new amendments to its building code, effective next March, that, among other things, will require lever handles on all doors and lever faucets in all new housing construction.
Vancouver has already signaled how serious it was about this change. Last year, before the amendments were proposed, city maintenance workers quietly removed most of the Art Deco doorknobs from the public doors in the heritage-listed City Hall, which was built in 1936. Where once the public, politicians and bureaucrats alike grasped ornate brass knobs with a stylized face embossed with "VCH" — for Vancouver City Hall — they now find utilitarian gold-coloured levers.
The new law is not retroactive, which means that regular doorknobs will be around for quite some time. However, as The Sun reports:
The bylaw is not retroactive, so if residents won't have to get rid of doorknobs they already have in their homes.
Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs said residents who want doorknobs in their new homes cannot install them.
"No, I don't think so. They would be asked to put in an accessible doorknob," Meggs said. "If they were really adamant I suppose they could go back later and retrofit them.
"I mean, the rules are there for a good reason. They've been looked at by contractors. They've been looked at by people with disabilities."
Anyone want to guess that companies have also been involved in pushing the door handle over the door knob?
Vancouver is the only city in Canada with its own building code. You can't find a regular toilet in Vancouver, nor can you find a regular incandescent light bulb!
According to previous research, distinctions between types of door handles are important to the elderly population and it appears easier for seniors to use. Unlike door knobs, door handles don't require a tight grasp.
Tim Stainton, a professor and director of the School of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, said "Basically, the idea is that you try to make environments that are as universally usable by any part of the population."
"The old model was adaptation, or adapted design," he continued. "You took a space and you adapted for use of the person with a disability. What universal design says is let's turn it around and let's just build everything so it is as usable by the largest segments of the population as possible."
Well, that is all fine and good. I understand the use of door handles in municipal buildings, but making it mandatory in homes seems a bit ridiculous. Shouldn't people have the right to choose whether they want a door knob or a door handle in their own home? If it's easier on senior citizens, shouldn't they have the right to determine if they want one or the other in their home? Silly me, I was just thinking it's your home, why can't you decide that?
"Technology changes," said Will Johnston, the former Vancouver chief building inspector who drafted the changes. "Things change – we live with that. When I look at what we are proposing, it is simply good design. It allows for homes to be built that can be used more easily for everybody."
One thing noticeably missing from the reports is the fact that generally door handles are more expensive. In most cases, several dollars more expensive, but of course, bringing that up wouldn't be helpful to the cause.
Additionally all new homes and condos will be required to provide special plug-ins for electric cars, whether the homeowner owns one or not, and yes that is part of that entire "green" movement, something that "Bancouver"" is adamant about pushing; desiring to be the most environmentally friendly city in the world by 2020. I might also add that they will also be making a good run for the most socialist city by that time too.
Personally, I like door handles, but have knobs in my house. Door knobs and handles, in my opinion, are merely cosmetic issues and should not be forced on new home builders. I can understand a certain leaning towards that on public property, but to force it into homes seems a bit much.