Lytton to become the first Universally Designed Community in North America

By - Colin
2022-10-27 14:36

The Village of Lytton has integrated the SAFERhome Universal Design Standards in its building by-law and ensures anyone regardless of their age, size, ability or mobility can fully enjoy their new home.

The Village of Lytton (Lytton Village) today announced it has passed Building Amendment Bylaw No. 711 2022 which includes Part 24, where the construction of new Part 3 and Part 9 buildings shall comply with SAFERhome Standards to ensure all new homes are built to the universal standard of design and build homes that easily support a much broader range of people with different abilities to fully use and fully enjoy their homes.

SAFERhome Standards provides the only building standard and certification program in Canada that anticipates the needs of British Columbians, from young children to grandparents, through the application of universal design where anyone can age-in-place and live healthier lives in an ergonomically safer and electronically pre-prepared home. SAFERhome’s 15-point building standard ensures homes include simple and practical design features like:

  • wider doorframes with little to no thresholds that improve ease of use and lessen tripping hazards,
  • wider hallways and stairs, with wall reinforcement improve flow and ease of use, and the addition of stairlifts in future if needed,
  • bath and shower controls that are easier to reach and use,
  • electrical outlets and light switch heights that are easier to reach and use, benefitting people with back, shoulder or neck issues as well,
  • sinks that can easily be lowered in future to allow use from a seated position, and
  • technology-ready to connect automation and control systems such as automated door openers.   

The adoption of the SAFERhome Standards as compared to current housing units presents significant potential cost savings to the Village of Lytton and its residents in the following areas:

  • lower future cost of renovations for any mobility enhancements if needed,
  • less cost or need for direct home support services,
  • less unexpected costs due to injury in the home,
  • reduction the number of healthcare worker accidents in the home,
  • less personal occupant costs and opportunities associated with negative social labelling,
  • reduction in the number of ambulance call-outs related to falls and other mobility-related in-home accidents,
  • healthcare cost savings related to shortening patient hospital stays as SAFERhomes are ready to accept walkers, scooters and other mobility devices and easily adapt to your changing needs such as adding safety bars, safety gates or stair lifts,
  • cost reduction for developers to provide units for social-based housing within their main market developments as issues around accessibility are automatically eliminated as a by-product of good design; and,
  • negative social labelling is also eliminated as a by-product of good design

This initiative is sponsored by the not-for-profit SAFERhome Standards Society, which since 2004 has spearheaded the adoption of Universal Design principles to the forefront of the housing sector in Canada and permanently transforming the built environment so anyone regardless of their age, size, ability or mobility can enjoy their home. With over 1,800 homes built to the SAFERhome Standards, our partners like BC Housing are building more universally designed housing than any other housing developer in the world, influencing the residential construction industry and future-proofing all BC Housing-funded projects by including the SAFERhome Standards in their 2019 Design Guidelines and Construction Standards.

SAFERhome Standards has also received support and funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s National Housing Strategy Demonstrations Initiative, where two low-carbon and high-performance homes are being donated to both the Village of Lytton and the Lytton First Nation that features SAFERhome’s Universal Design Standards and the latest green building technology by Nexii Building Solutions.

Jan Polderman, Mayor of Lytton, says: “Our Council has envisioned being a leader when building back Lytton. We have supported a vision to rebuild with care and thoughtfulness in welcoming everyone regardless of their age, size, ability or mobility to enjoy their home by introducing a new building bylaw to address this and to become the first universally designed community in North America.”

Larry Clay, Chairperson of SAFERhome Standards Society, says:

“A community’s health and wellness begins in our homes, and today the Village of Lytton is truly an exemplar of the type of innovation, inclusivity and forethought that is so needed in today’s changing housing needs. We have much work to accomplish and look forward to working with the Village of Lytton to ensure their leadership in universal design is a resounding success and example for all other municipalities in BC and across Canada.”


About the Village of Lytton

The Village of Lytton is located at the junction of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers in southern British Columbia and is one of the longest continuously inhabited areas in North America. Lytton is currently rebuilding after the June 30, 2021, Lytton Creek Fire which destroyed over 90 percent of the Village.

For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook (Village of Lytton).

About the SAFERhome Standards Society

SAFERhome has advanced the adoption of universal design principles to the residential housing sector in Canada, so anyone regardless of their age, size, ability or mobility can enjoy their home. We now have over 1,800 homes built to the SAFERhome Standards that each and every day demonstrate cost savings, invisible aging-in-place solutions, improved safety in the home, and the fundamental benefits of better flow and ease of use through good design.

For more information,, or connect on Twitter (@SAFERhomeCA) or on LinkedIn (SAFERhome Standards).

Contact Information

Colin Doylend, Executive Director

SAFERhome Standards Society